Best chef downshift, vegetable division

Art Jackson, Pleasant House Bakery

964 W. 31st

Art Jackson was the epitome of an under-the-radar chef, discreetly feeding attention-avoiding celebrities and other late-nighters at River North's Bijan's Bistro. The first time he and his pastry chef/journalist wife Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson got national press it wasn't in a food magazine but in Dwell. But all the things they thought about on their blog, Pleasant House, have come together in their little savory pie shop. It's in Bridgeport, reflecting their commitment to the south side where they live. Its menu is hearty yet not at all like the heavy savory pies Art would eat visiting his grandparents in Yorkshire. And though meat is hardly absent from the menu, vegetables are so important that they grow their own just down the street on an open lot, in a circle-of-life vision which somehow manages to get its arms around both homegrown root vegetables and the urban grit of Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar next door. —Michael Gebert