After trying to find a space in Andersonville for more than a year, restaurant vet Amy Morton (Mirador, Blue Room) had better luck a little further north in Evanston. Morton, who first talked about this project back in February, aims to open Found in October and she's bringing now-former C-House chef Nicole Pederson along for the ride.
Pederson, who left C-House a month ago (chef Rah Shabazz has taken her place) and was introduced to Morton by Virtue Cider's Greg Hall late last year, said because she just started working there this week her menu is still in development. She plans on still sourcing locally and working with all the farmers she's utilized over the last few years, but may branch out a bit in her style.
"At the core my food will always come from my Midwestern past and growing up, but I'm a Francophile deep down inside," Pederson said. "Yes, I've done American and I love canning and pickling, but I don't want to pigeonhole us right now." Pederson said as she and Morton continue to work together over the next few months, the menu will come together further and that, "One thing about working on this with Amy is [we feel] a restaurant has to be more than just a restaurant. It's about building a community and creating a comfortable space with welcoming food."
Speaking of the space, Pederson said the main dining room and lounge toward the front will accommodate about 90 people and there will be a private dining space for about 50 to 60 people. There will also be a library area toward the back with books on shelves where people can hang out. Morton told Dish that the space will have a "Gertrude Stein salon of 1920s Paris meets Jack Kerouac in a beatnik bar" vibe with a chalkboard ceiling in the lounge, different found pieces of furniture, couches and other unconventional seating evoking the period between the 1920s and '50s. "It's like you're walking into Amy's home," Pederson said.
And was Pederson at all intimidated to work with Morton, whose father was famed steakhouse guru Arnie Morton and whose brother, David Morton, co-owns DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar and Ada Street with Michael Kornick?
"At first I was really intimated by it, but Amy is such a laid back, groovy chick and she's super smart and knows exactly what she wants," she said. "We're both blunt and straightforward and get along really well. It's now more exciting than intimidating."
· Found, a Long-Promised Restaurant from Former Mirador Owner Amy Morton, Planned for October in Evanston [Dish]
· Amy Morton Working on New Mediterranean Project [~EChi~]
[Photo: Nicole Pederson]