Until February, Lincoln Park’s fraternal-twin restaurants Gemini Bistro (2075 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park, 773-525-2522) and Rustic House (1967 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park, 312-929-3227) cruised on the cooking of Jason Paskewitz. When Paskewitz split with his business partner, Ryan O’Donnell, O’Donnell looked to a chef he knew from another of his projects: Jon Keeley, the chef de cuisine at Kabocha, which had just closed. Keeley consulted, did some sourcing, and earned himself the top job.
“I’m not really going to change too much of the focus of what they’ve created,” Keeley says. He does plan to step up the seasonality—for example, discontinuing Yia-Yia’s Salad and replacing it with a market salad, beginning as English pea purée, grilled asparagus, fava beans, roasted pattypan squash, and Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes with a honey-Dijon-sherry vinaigrette and a black pepper sherry gastrique. At Rustic House, he plans to turn the rotisserie more, adding fish, porchetta, leg of lamb, and maybe whole animals.
New to Gemini Bistro, brunch begins on Easter and Sunday night fried chicken (with honey butter!) has launched. From the brunch menu, Keeley highlights oatmeal-crusted French toast topped with bananas Foster. “A stick-to-your-ribs type of breakfast,” he says. Sounds hearty. Everyone knows a stick to your ribs is better than a stick to your eye.