Erick William's Daisy's Po-Boy & Tavern brings the Big Easy to the Windy City

ByJordan Arseneau Localish logo
Monday, February 19, 2024
Daisy's Po-Boy & Tavern brings the Big Easy to the Windy City
Daisy's bustles with New Orleans flair and offers a variety of French Quarter favorites including po-boy sandwiches, muffaletta sandwiches, gumbo, and fried chicken.

CHICAGO -- When asked if he could use one adjective to describe Daisy's Po-Boy & Tavern, a bustling counter service restaurant in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, diner Wallace Good made one up.

"Is there such a word as New Orlean-ish?" joked Goode, who serves as the Executive Director of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce. "Even though you're in the middle of Chicago and the middle of Hyde Park, you feel like you're in the Big Easy."

Daisy's Po-Boy & Tavern is the brainchild of James Beard Award-winning chef Erick Williams. Williams, who launched the critically acclaimed Virtue in Hyde Park in 2018, said he opened Daisy's to honor his late Aunt Daisy and to serve the Louisiana cuisine he learned to cook at a young age.

"We chose to celebrate the flavors and style of New Orleans because my Uncle Stew, who was my late aunt's husband, was the first man to work with me at the stoves," he said. "And he's also the first person to teach me how to make gumbo."

Daisy's especially comes alive with the spirit of the French Quarter on the first Wednesday of every month, when a live band is invited to play the tunes and sounds of New Orleans jazz. While enjoying po'boy sandwiches, gumbo, fried chicken and other southern fare, diners swung to the beat of Chicago's Four Star Brass Band on the first Wednesday in February.

"People are dancing in their seats, bobbing their heads," said Williams. "I'd like to say that it feels like Mardi Gras every single day here."

Williams said the mission of his restaurant group, Virtue Hospitality, is to create a positive impact in the communities that they serve while also serving delicious fare and offering equitable opportunities for their team. Its non-profit foundation, Virtue Leadership Development, raises money to provide grants for young people in the culinary industry so they can learn how to transform their skills in the kitchen to skills that help them navigate business and make a living.

"The deepest feeling is knowing that you're doing the work that you both love and also the work that impacts so many other people around you on a day to day basis," said Williams. "It wasn't my aspiration to become a chef; I feel very fortunate to have become a part of such a giving and supporting community."

Decked out in the green, purple, and gold of Mardi Gras, Williams describes Daisy's as more relaxed and freestyle than his restaurant Virtue. While the plating may be on paper and trays, Williams says the food still stands out in Chicago.

"Our hot sausage po'boy, bar none, is one of the most amazing sandwiches in the city," said Williams. "Our muffulettas are to die for and the fried chicken is a no-brainer."

For more information on Daisy's Po-Boy & Tavern, visit