Fun food that dips into the rural Midwest for inspiration is what Tim and Rebekah Graham will serve at Twain, the couple’s new Logan Square restaurant that should soon open. Named for Mark Twain, one of America’s greatest authors, the restaurant was to open on Tuesday. But city inspectors postponed the opening. The Grahams are gunning to open this week (or as early as today) at 2445 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Perhaps the fence needed a little bit more whitewash.
Tim Graham is the former chef at Travelle, and while he’s got plenty of fine dining experience, Twain is a more casual spot. Jordan Mozer + Associates designed the space, and the main points of focus are a colorful mural on the eastern wall and a copper backdrop behind the bar. Both feature characters from Twain’s works. These are deep cuts, not just for fans of Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn.
Graham talked about approaching Mozer about the restaurant’s design. Mozer’s clients include Disney, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, and McDonald’s. He’s also worked with filmmaker George Lucas in California. Graham wasn’t sure Twain was a big-enough project for Mozer, but he was interested.
Twain took over a former auto mechanics shop built in the ‘20s or ‘30s. That seems to be a trend for restaurateurs looking for spaces in Chicago. The upcoming Lincoln Park location of Parson’s Chicken & Fish was once an auto parts shop. Shake-It, an upcoming burger spot in Ukrainian Village, was a repair shop. Graham said he wasn’t so keen on the space at first. His partner, Branko Palikuca, was the one who pushed for the space.
The building has 12-foot ceilings and custom tables and chairs. Mozer tried to make the room flow like the Mississippi River, a symbol of the Midwest. Tim Graham is from central Missouri and he talks fondly about large family gatherings. He playfully described Twain as “hick chic.”
Paddle through the space below. Twain should open this week.