Big Jones | Andersonville, Chicago

Last month, Tasting Table asked readers for their favorite neighborhood gems. Now we're introducing the winning picks.

"Before we can make pimento cheese, we have to make Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, pickled peppers and chow-chow."

Meet Paul Fehribach, the man who makes everything.

Well, almost: "I love Crystal hot sauce, so I use that, and I bring in the rye bread because I can't make that, either," the Big Jones chef concedes.

But almost everything else at his five-year-old Andersonville restaurant–from hominy and leaf lard to boudin and smoked ham–is made in-house, largely following historic Southern recipes.

Cornbread, honey butter and toasted pimento cheese at Big Jones
Fehribach is a de facto historian, an avid reader of out-of-print cookbooks who says things like "curry was a white-hot ingredient in the 1840s" when pointing out a new catfish dish on the menu. He ages and simmers corn cobs to produce rose-hued jam to pat on superlative cornbread and notes years of origin on the menu next to his well-researched historic bites. "A lot of these Southern dishes are forgotten. I become enchanted by the stories and love bringing them back."

A Carolina shrimp burger and a multicolored pickle plate
One throwback tradition you don't want to miss: his weekday-only family-style fried chicken feast. The bird is cooked in cast iron with butter and lard, Edna Lewis-style, and served with mashed potatoes, simmered greens, red beans and rice and banana pudding ($17 at lunch, $25 at dinner).

Return another day for that toasted pimento cheese sandwich ($9), evidence of the heights the humble concoction can reach.

Were this gem in our neighborhood, we'd be there weekly.

Our other favorite Andersonville-area Neighborhood Gems: Sunshine Café, Hopleaf, Bar Ombra, Ceres' Table