Last March, we shared all the vague details we possibly could on the Sepia team’s next big project. Now, after checking back in with chef/partner Andrew Zimmerman and managing partner Emmanuel Nony, we still don’t have all the dirt, but we’ve put together more pieces of the puzzle.
NAME: Proxi, which comes from the Latin word “proximus.” According to Nony, “The whole idea is about closeness—in time and space. And [it will be] a neighbor to Sepia.”
ADDRESS: It’s a corner space at the intersection of Randolph and Jefferson, 565 West Randolph Street. “We want to stay not too far from Sepia. [That makes it] easier to manage,” he says.
ETA: Early June.
Zimmerman says that while the food at Sepia is “globally informed contemporary American food,” his focus at Proxi will be “more about smaller amounts of bigger flavors; less composed than in a fine-dining restaurant.” Also in contrast to Sepia, where he cooks on only conventional ovens, Proxi will allow him to showcase his skills on a wood charcoal oven and two woodburning grills.
Nony adds that both he and Zimmerman will meld their “food experiences,” and pull in global street-fare influences from the likes of Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, and India—“the foods that inspire me in general,” Zimmerman labels the genre. “I’m interested in what’s delicious.”
As for the menu, Zimmerman plans on snack-sized shareables, medium-sized shareables, and larger dishes—whole fish or a large steak—also intended to be divvied up. “[It will be] a lot more like eating at home [than Sepia is]. More convivial,” he promises.
The plan to create an atmosphere more lively and bold than the refined one at Sepia has taken shape: vaulted 16-foot ceilings; an open kitchen with a chef’s table; and seating for 150 between the dining room, bar, and lounge. Nony hopes it will be a “boisterous” experience.