The dream for Mortar and Pestle, a new Lakeview restaurant focusing on the brunch and lunch crowd, was conceived seven years ago when partners Stephen Ross and Stephen Paul met while helping opening Table 52. The pair plan to open on Nov. 2 inside the former Bombay Bliss space at 3108 N. Broadway St.
The two Stephens want an elevated-experience, accessible to all crowds. The most expensive item is $17, and it's a casual atmosphere: "You could come in your sweats pants and hoodie, for all I care," Paul said.
It's a globally-inspired menu with items include an Alaskan crab egg Benedict and an item called "The English," complete with housemade sausage, country pate and eggs. They'll open as a BYO, but Paul said they've applied for a liquor license to have a few craft cocktails available inside the 45-seat space with an industrial feel. There's a bloody Mary recipe Paul wants to try with 24 ingredients, including San Marzano tomato puree for a base: "Not canned tomato juice," Paul stressed.
Paul and Ross share long resumes, cooking at places such as Old Town Social Club, Farmhouse Tavern in Evanston and the Park Hyatt. Eventually Mortar and Pestle will be open for dinner, probably a prix fixe concept and reservation only. They'd also like to use the space for private events.