Our red-bearded protagonist left in late 2012 to plan Gunshow, named for a favorite weekend activity he used to share with his father. Gillespie sited the dangerously original restaurant in the Glenwood Park neighborhood, near the trucking terminal where Pa Clint reported for work. The chef chose a loose format that spawns invention and surprise: Around eight young cooks, led by Executive Chef Joey Ward, create the menu of small plates with seasonal products weekly. Ephemeral dishes such as chicken-fried lobster and pork belly larb, as well as staples like warm banana pudding under an epic dome of meringue, circulate the sparse dining room on a dim sum cart. Gillespie also shares the open kitchen with renowned guest chefs from around the country, dubbed “Hired Guns” (think Bryan Voltaggio, Vivian Howard), who showcase their own dishes during two-day events.
In 2015 Gillespie followed with Revival, a suburban, family-friendly eatery that values comfort over novelty. He modeled the wainscoted rooms after the farmhouse of his late maternal grandmother, Coylene Higgins. The restaurant’s decor includes her Depression-era candy dishes, hurricane lamps, and even the contents of her sewing box. Along with Executive Chef Andreas Müller, Gillespie developed a traditional Southern menu that emphasizes seasonal vegetables and other “trimmings” for guests to share, the way Granny Geneva always cooked for company. Signature dishes include fried chicken, hickory-smoked local greens, and a popover-style cornbread that’s a family secret -- his great aunt anointed him with the recipe when he was a child, naturally.