Rick Bayless, Chef and Urban Gardener on the 606/Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago


Rick Bayless is an American celebrity chef based in Chicago, who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with modern interpretations. Bayless, and his wife Deann, opened the Frontera Grill, 445 North Clark Street in Chicago, Illinois, specializing in contemporary regional Mexican cuisine in 1987. They opened Topolobampo also at 445 North Clark — known as one of America’s first fine-dining Mexican restaurants. Bayless stars in his PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time.

Topolobampo — a port on the Gulf of California in northwestern Sinaloa, Mexico — was the site of a Radical “utopian” colony inspired by late 1800s writer, politician, political economist Henry George’s economic ideas. The Topolobampo experiment had an influence on the urban planning ideas of Ebenezer Howard.

Bayless appears to be Topolobamp-inspired — bringing forth urban-farming hybridization that starts with his own personal garden and rooftop garden. Bayless and his staff began the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support Chicago-area local farmers by offering capital improvement grants. As of 2007, more than $400,000 has been given to local family farms.


Rick Bayless is also proud of his urban garden that is visible from the new 3-mile long Bloomingdale Trail. The Bloomingdale Trail is the centerpiece of The 606 — an elevated, multi-use linear park currently under construction and partially open on the unused Bloomingdale railroad. The trail is almost 3 miles west-to-east through the northwest side of Chicago, just north of Humboldt Park. The first phase of The 606 opened on June 6, 2015, and is connected to ground-level parks, arts and educational programming and more.

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