With a lease set to expire this fall, the owners of Eden decided it was time to leave their West Loop location in front of “L” tracks along Lake Street near the United Center. Closed since July 2020 due to the pandemic, Eden has found a new location along the Chicago River near the corner of Roscoe and California between Roscoe Village and Avondale.
Chef Devon Quinn hopes to open by year’s end. Eden is owned by Quinn and wife and event planner Jodi Fyfe. The two also run Paramount Events, a widely-known company that caters wedding and other celebrations. That catering business has been busy of late with Quinn working four to five events per week. Weddings and other functions that were postponed due to the pandemic are coming back online. Private events helped the business survive; the profit margins are about 20 percent greater than the profits restaurant business generates, Quinn says. Without those celebrations, Paramount struggled.
But brighter days are here and as its lease was to expire, Paramount is vacating its West Loop and space moving its headquarters. Quinn compares the 18,000-square-foot project to creating a campus — like the original, they’ll have a greenhouse, but it will be larger. Eden’s cuisine melds California and Mediterranean sensibilities, and Quinn believes growing veggies and fruits on campus will give Eden an edge.
“The garden allows us to grow unique things, a lot of things you don’t see on many plates in Chicago,” Quinn says, mentioning herbs and ingredients like Angelica that will add to the experience.
The project also calls for a small morning cafe for coffee and pastries. The new Eden will have an expanded pastry program and Quinn’s excited about testing out his new baking equipment.
The pandemic moved a restaurant’s outdoor dining capabilities from luxury to necessity. Quinn’s really proud of the outdoor options the new location will be able to offer and feels the space provides an escape from the rest of the city. The new campus provides the next step in Eden’s evolution toward simpler food, Quinn says, allowing ingredients to shine without too much manipulation in the kitchen. He’s brought on former Longman & Eagle chef de cuisine David Koehn to the same position at Eden. Koehn was on Eden’s opening team.
Many of the best restaurants pride themselves on creativity, but it was challenging to keep high spirits while times were grim during the pandemic, Quinn says. Maintaining the greenhouse outside the restaurant along Lake Street helped: “It was my little zen area in the city, my little piece of California in Chicago.”
The main intersection near the upcoming restaurant was once the center of Chicago’s culinary universe as the northwest corner housed the second location of encased meat superstore Hot Doug’s — it’s now a Cafe Tola. Eden is moving in across the street that another famous tenant called home. While WMS Industries is focused on casino slot machines, its video game division, Midway Games, is known for classics such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam.
Eden, on the 3400 block of North California Avenue, planned for a late fall opening.