Morton, who owned the erstwhile Mirador and Blue Room, plans to open Found (1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston, no phone yet) in October. Early reports surfaced a year and a half ago on the project, which she originally planned for Andersonville. In addition to her own experience, she comes from good restaurant stock—David Morton (DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar, Ada Street) is her brother, and Arnie Morton (Morton’s) was her father.
Dish: Why did you decide to call your new place Found?
Amy Morton: Anything else felt like we were making up a name to make up a name. Found grew out of a lot of purposefulness. We find everything. We find ourselves. We find our food, the things we sit on, our friends.
D: How does that translate to the restaurant?
AM: One of the core elements of the whole place is that all the pieces we find for it are repurposed. We got an old white phone like the great black one at the Pump Room. It will look great on the host stand.
D: What will the rest of the decor look like?
AM: Gertrude Stein salon of 1920s Paris meets Jack Kerouac in a beatnik bar. We want to tell a story like you are walking into [a] home. You are in the lounge, the salon, the parlor. All very unconventional-type restaurant seating. We found fabulous pieces that really bookend that period from the twenties through the fifties. We want each space to feel intimate and unique. The lounge area will have a chalkboard ceiling. The thoughts, the conversations they evoke, people will be having some of those great conversations here. We will board up the front for construction and encourage others to write their favorite quotes on the front of the restaurant, and hopefully use some of those that we discover on the ceiling.
D: Will the different spaces have different menus?
AM: You can eat whatever you want where you want. If you want your full meal sitting on a fabulous settee in the lounge, you can.
D: What will the food be like?
AM: Super-local. I’m still trying to figure out these pieces. The French thing will be more the vibe than the cuisine. I want people to walk in and feel they are in a super-groovy Bohemian place.
D: What else will distinguish Found?
AM: It’s a restaurant with a mission. My personal mission is to make a difference. We are working with Connections for the Homeless and with Inspirations Café, making a massive commitment to hiring entry-level positions from that marginal community. On first Mondays, we will open at cost or just above for not-for-profits to use as a space for fundraisers, meetings, et cetera. We are creating more than a restaurant—a culture and how that extends to the community.