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Grazing: First Look: Flip

Richard Blais has designed a menu that features wacky and mainly delicious takes on the classic American burger.

Pity Richard Blais. The brilliant runner-up in Bravo’s “Top Chef: Chicago” has a local history of jumping from one restaurant kitchen to the next.

Critics – by which I mean average foodies – grouse repeatedly about Blais’ peripatetic ways. They want him to stick to one kitchen for a few years, pushing out the same menu night after night, refining his skills, holding his nose to the grindstone, learning to be miserable, laboring under owners who wave market receipts in his face and scream, “Less liquid nitrogen! I beg you! It’s eating up our profits!”

My guess is that Blais would stick around a restaurant that (a) gave him enough freedom to experiment fully and (b) attracted the kind of business his work deserves. In the meantime, who can blame him for enjoying himself by following his bliss? Go, Richard.

His title at Flip (1587 Howell Mill Rd., 404-352-3547) is “creative director.” He has designed a menu for owner Barry Mills that features wacky and mainly delicious takes on the classic American burger. I’ve visited the restaurant twice and found Blais cooking both visits. While I’m all for this concept, I think it would be ridiculous for Blais to devote his talents exclusively to this undertaking, no matter how much foodies think he should chain himself to one stove.