Matt Eversman is knee-deep in design plans with Scott Prestangen of Evanston's Parallel Architecture for his forthcoming restaurant OON Chicago. They are close on starting construction on the 2,500 square foot West Loop spot that will soon join the booming Randolph Street restaurant surge and are targeting to open around late April or early May.
The design of the current warehouse-feeling space with 15-foot high ceilings will reflect Eversman's Southeast Asian-influenced American cooking. "The food I do is casual elegant. It is upscale and refined, but it's familiar and not over your head," Eversman said. "The space is going to reflect that."
The intimate 70 to 80 seat spot with two distinct dining areas will have a lot of open space with views throughout since there are no solid walls to obstruct sight lines, Prestangen said. The room will incorporate a lot of textures—wood, bamboo, metal, glass—and will have translucent screening elements to create division without blocking out any views. The design will take advantage of existing materials in the space like lower-scale masonry and steel that they feel will meld with the Asian concept. The facade will feature a dramatic shelf-like structure that will not only hold the OON signage, but will also serve as an overhang for a possible sidewalk patio.
"One of the things going along with the textures is that when I say I want to do an Asian restaurant, people think it'll look like a Chinese or Thai restaurant, but it's subtle elements of Asia like having natural elements," Eversman said. "There are design elements to the space that allude to an Asian feel that you'll experience without it being too forward and in your face."