Jean Joho's Everest turns 30

Jean Joho's Everest turns 30

Chicago Business |
Jan 10, 2017

Fine French restaurants have come and gone in Chicago (and fine-dining restaurants have mostly gone), but one has lasted 30 years. Everest celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. The Michelin-starred restaurant opened in partnership with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building in 1986.

To commemorate the anniversary, the restaurant will host special events including Alumni Nights (Jan. 17 and Jan. 24), where former chefs Paul Virant (Vie) and Thomas Lents (Sixteen) will return to the Everest kitchen. Starting today and continuing through the end of the month, the restaurant will also offer a 1986 tasting menu featuring longtime chef/proprietor Jean Joho’s classic Alsatian dishes, including presse of Maine lobster, black and white carnaroli squid risotto, roasted sea bass in potato and thyme, beef pot-au-feu and chocolate banana terrine ($145 per person).

Crain’s chatted with Joho, 65, who grew up in Barr, France, and who retains his charming heavy accent. Here’s an edited version of our conversation.

What have been some of the major changes you’ve noticed in the restaurant scene over the years?
Everybody makes a 20-course meal. I personally think when you have a seven-course meal, it’s plenty enough. But I give them a choice. You can have a regular a la carte menu or you can have a tasting menu.

Fine French restaurants have come and gone in Chicago (and fine-dining restaurants have mostly gone), but one has lasted 30 years. Everest celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. The Michelin-starred restaurant opened in partnership with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building in 1986.

To commemorate the anniversary, the restaurant will host special events including Alumni Nights (Jan. 17 and Jan. 24), where former chefs Paul Virant (Vie) and Thomas Lents (Sixteen) will return to the Everest kitchen. Starting today and continuing through the end of the month, the restaurant will also offer a 1986 tasting menu featuring longtime chef/proprietor Jean Joho’s classic Alsatian dishes, includingpresseof Maine lobster, black and whitecarnarolisquid risotto, roasted sea bass in potato and thyme, beef pot-au-feu and chocolate banana terrine ($145 per person).

Crain’s chatted with Joho, 65, who grew up in Barr, France, and who retains his charming heavy accent. Here’s an edited version of our conversation.

What have been some of the major changes you’ve noticed in the restaurant scene over the years?
Everybody makes a 20-course meal. I personally think when you have a seven-course meal, it’s plenty enough. But I give them a choice. You can have a regular a la carte menu or you can have a tasting menu.

To what do you attribute your restaurant’s longevity?
We make the customer feel comfortable. The time is coming back where people want to have a conversation at the table. In a lot of restaurants these days you can’t anymore. Where you can have a table of five or six and you can have a conversation. Many restaurants these days you can’t.

So you think that people prefer a quiet atmosphere?
Yeah, but I don’t think it’s quiet. I think you have energy in the room, but it’s a good energy. But the way the restaurant is built and the way we have the tables you can have a conversation at your table.

Who’s the most famous person who’s dined at Everest? 
You know that’s the reason I think we are so successful—we never call the media when somebody really famous is coming here. We have stars, we have politicians. If they’re in the main dining room or a private room, we never talk about that.

Give us just one name. Perhaps someone who’s no longer with us? 
Julia Child.

What item has been on the menu longest? 
Lobster roasted in Alsace Gewurztraminer butter and ginger.

What is one of the biggest disasters that’s happened at Everest? 
On the second day we were opened, we had the whole sprinkler system go off in the kitchen. On the next evening the same thing happened. For two nights in a row we had to put everything in the garbage and restart everything new for the evening again. It was really depressing. But things happen that you have to deal with.

What’s the last restaurant you ate at that’s not your own? 
I eat mostly at home, where I cook for my family. My last great meal out was Pierre Gagnaire in Paris in December.

Where do you go for a burger?
M Burger.

If you could collaborate with any other chef or concept, what would it be and why? 
Wow. Einstein maybe. I don’t know.

How long do you think you’ll keep doing this? 
I’m not done. There are lots of things I can still do and want to do.

Congratulations on your anniversary. 
Thank you very much. Let’s talk again in 30 years.

Media Contact

Emily Clark pr@leye.com 773-878-7340

You May Also Like...

In The Restaurants
A Gift Guide for the Food Lover in Your Life
Nov 18, 2018

Whether a birthday, graduation or any other of the countless holidays, we're here to make selecting…

read more >
In The Restaurants
It’s Apple Season: Where To Eat ‘Em
Oct 16, 2018

Yeah, yeah, pumpkin this and pumpkin that, but let us not forget about our other favorite fall…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce in Love: Weddings with Lettuce Parties
Feb 13, 2018

It's almost Valentine's Day and love is in the air. Believe it or not it's a tale as old as time (or…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to go on Valentine’s Day 2018
Feb 4, 2018

Have you made your Valentine's Day plans yet? It's right around the corner and there's lots of…

read more >
In The Restaurants
After 30 Years, Here Are 30 Things You Need to Know About Everest
Jan 4, 2017

  This month, Chef/ Proprietor J. Joho and the Everest team invite you to join us in…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Chicagoland
Nov 6, 2012

If you are looking to dine out this Christmas Eve, we have restaurants that are open on Monday,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Holiday Happenings Throughout December 2018
Apr 10, 2011

Kids are out on winter break, snow is falling, the smell of baking spices filling the air and…

read more >

Recent Posts

In The Restaurants
Case of the Mondays? How About Half Price Sushi and Wine at Di Pescara
Nov 19, 2018

Di Pescara, located in Northbrook Court, is now offering half price sushi and wine EVERY MONDAY…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Thanksgiving 2018
Nov 19, 2018

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and everyone in-between. To celebrate this special…

read more >
In The Restaurants
A Gift Guide for the Food Lover in Your Life
Nov 18, 2018

Whether a birthday, graduation or any other of the countless holidays, we're here to make selecting…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Thanksgiving Eve and Black Friday Specials 2018
Nov 18, 2018

Do you have friends and family in town for the Thanksgiving weekend? Beyond Turkey Day, our…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Wildfire’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Nov 17, 2018

Embrace all of the fall flavors in Wildfire's Sweet Potato Casserole. Ginger and cinnamon warm up…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Classic Turkey Stuffing from Wildfire
Nov 17, 2018

Stuffing, the most ideal starch for Thanksgiving dinner, is always a high point of the meal. Great…

read more >
How To
The Perfect Party Appetizers
Nov 15, 2018

A well-crafted appetizer is the perfect way to make sure your guests won't go hungry so you can…

read more >
How To
A Guide to Selecting the Perfect Thanksgiving Wines
Nov 15, 2018

Fact: wine stores are intimidating. More truth: we're here to help! We've tapped the minds of our…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Thanksgiving Recipe Guide
Nov 15, 2018

Thanksgiving is the time to gather 'round the table and gobble up some scrumptious food. If you love…

read more >
In The Restaurants
$12 Burgers and Brews Wednesdays at Tokio Pub
Nov 14, 2018

Wednesdays just got a whole lot tastier with Tokio Pub's new Burgers & Brews! For just $12,…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Wildfire’s Cornbread Stuffing
Nov 14, 2018

This Thanksgiving, give your stuffing some southern influence with Wildfire's Cornbread Stuffing. To…

read more >
Openings
The Newest Wow Bao Location at 46 E. Chicago
Nov 14, 2018

Getting tired of your same old carry-out order? You're in luck! Wow Bao's newest, fully-automated…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!