Building on his previous success in Chicago restaurants, Chef Noah Sandoval introduced Oriole to the West Loop scene with the help of his partners, wife and General Manager Cara Sandoval. Oriole offers a comprehensive experience focused on the guest through informed service, carefully crafted dishes, and a modern industrial ambiance with homey comfort. Oriole was awarded two Michelin Stars in the restaurant’s first eligible year.
Since opening Oriole in March of 2016, Sandoval was recognized as a Food & Wine Best New Chef, received three semifinalist James Beard nominations, and was named Chef of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. Oriole also earned 4-star reviews from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago magazine.
Sandoval and his culinary team develop a large format tasting menu with seasonal foundations and a focus on ingredients and their origin. “My culinary philosophy can change year-to-year, but in approaching food, I always try to find the best ingredients and build dishes around that,” says Sandoval. Taking the concept even further, Sandoval considers each product’s origin in designing a dish, capturing other facets of the region for a deeply rooted collection of flavors. He also encourages collaboration and creativity among the team. “I like to get as much input from those I share the kitchen with as possible,” he says. “We inspire each other.”
With a father in the Navy, Sandoval relocated a lot during his youth, from Virginia to California to Scotland before settling back in Richmond, VA. Upon returning to his birthplace at the age of 16, Sandoval picked up a job washing dishes at local landmark restaurant Helen’s and was soon promoted to the salad station, working under Chef David Shannon. Sandoval then followed the chef to open Dogwood Grille & Spirits. Shannon served as Sandoval’s mentor, showing him a way into a world of creativity, freedom, and families formed in the kitchen; this influence inspired the aspiring chef to enroll in culinary school in New Orleans.
While in the Big Easy, Sandoval continued to develop his culinary chops at Marisol under Chef Pete Vazquez. He then moved back to Richmond for a stint as sous chef at Dogwood until he discovered an unexplored world of food through his travels and made the move to Chicago in 2007 to place himself among international culinary excellence.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s C-House gave Sandoval an opportunity to further explore seasonal cooking before heading to Spring to work under James Beard-awarded Chef Shawn McClain. In 2011, Sandoval took a position alongside another award-winning chef, Michael Carlson, as sous chef of Schwa, known for its seasonal New American menu. At Schwa, Sandoval focused on honing his technique in a demanding environment, often using unconventional ingredients and methods. Prior to founding Oriole, Sandoval spent a few years at Senza as executive chef, earning a Michelin star for the restaurant in each eligible year.