Eden, a New American concept from Paramount Events, will open its doors in early October at 1748 West Lake Street. This is the West Loop catering juggernaut’s first restaurant, but executive chef Devon Quinn, 36, is primed and ready.
Before coming onboard with Paramount Events, Quinn put in time at Del Toro, the Peninsula Hotel, and Bon Appétit—the catering arm of the Art Institute. As Bon Appétit’s chef de cuisine, he opened the charming summertime café that now occupies the AIC’s courtyard. The sum of these experiences, per Quinn, is a “refined, technique-driven” style that remains approachable and laid-back. While nominally an American restaurant, Quinn cites just about every country bordering the Mediterranean as a potential source of inspiration.
Paramount works closely with several local farms, but Quinn (a biology major) has a passion for plants: much of Eden’s food comes (perhaps unsurprisingly) straight from the garden. There are 18 planters on the property, each built on top of an easy-to-move industrial pallet. By the time winter rolls around, Quinn hopes to have completed construction on a 1,800-square-foot greenhouse—he can then trundle the pallets inside to extend the growing season. “Even when it’s snowing, we’ll have veggies that have never seen the inside of a refrigerator.”
Instead, they’ll go straight into salads, like a beet-centric number loaded with cajeta (a rich caramel sauce made from goat’s milk), fresh goat cheese, peppery greens, and seasonal fresh fruit. Fish will also feature heavily on the menu, with an emphasis on rarely-seen but tasty varieties. Quinn is especially fond of meagre, an oft-overlooked Mediterranean bass with firm flesh and subtle flavor that he compares to mahi mahi.
Also on the menu: high-concept light bites that Quinn compares to “snacky bar food.” In an attempt to reduce food waste, the fatty bits from Eden’s beef dishes will be reduced in stock and condensed into bars of gelatin; those bars then get rolled in dough and deep fried, before being tossed in a mix of sugar, green tea powders, and dehydrated mushrooms. The end result looks like a classic beignet, but injected with a powerful punch of umami.
Pastry chef Stefano Tulipano (a native of Genoa who’s been stateside with Paramount for the last year) populates the dessert menu with flashy treats—such as a sphere of chocolate mousse garnished with almond milk granita and caramelized figs.
“I’m always looking for a ‘wow’ factor,” says Quinn. “It could get a little weird, but the flavors will always be balanced.”
Prices will skew affordable, with entrées in the $20 to $30 range. Per Quinn: “It’s important to me that food like this be affordable. We want to be a place that’s accessible to as many people as possible.”