WHAT: Intro opens in the former L2O space today, February 4, and is a new innovative restaurant that introduces up-and-coming culinary talent to Chicago. Conceptualized by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ founder Rich Melman and Chef/Partner Matthew Kirkley, who helmed the kitchen at two-Michelin star L2O, Intro is a “school for entrepreneurs” that plays host to a new chef every two to three months. Each “chef-in-residence” will create a restaurant reflective of his or her own personal style, with full creative license to make Intro their own – from the menu concept to the music, vibe, and style of service – all with support from Rich Melman, Chef Kirkley, and other senior partners at Lettuce Entertain You. Award-winning architect Dirk Denison designed the energetic, adaptable and comfortable new space. The 98-seat restaurant offers a variety of dining and seating options including intimate lounges on either side of the entry and high-back lounge chairs.
WHO: Chef CJ Jacobson, former Top Chef alum and Executive Chef of Girasol restaurant in Studio City, CA is the first chef-in-residence at Intro. CJ has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens around the world, including Campanile in Los Angeles,and Noma in Copenhagen. His inaugural menu at Intro is reflective of his “rustic refined” West Coast style, combining local, foraged ingredients from Chicago and California with flavors that are true to the terroir of the Midwest.
The menu will continually evolve throughout each chef’s tenure. Highlights for CJ’s opening menu include inventive dishes such as: Potato, Seaweed, Chicken Skin, and Mugwort; Oxtail Tea, Rutabaga “Ramen,” and Aronia Berries; and Kombucha, Juniper Snow, Chocolate, and Sunflower.The menu will also change constantly throughout each chef’s tenure.
The beverage menu includes creative cocktails such as the Marteani, with Earl Grey-infused gin, egg whites, and lemon; the Fir Mule, with vodka, Douglas Fir Syrup, and ginger beer; and the Vampyro, with tequila, beets, apple, carrot, and mezcal mist. Wine pairings have been thoughtfully selected by RPM Steak’s Wine Director Richard Hanauer to complement the unique flavors of CJ’s menu, and will also be available by the glass and bottle. A completely new wine list will be crafted for each chef at Intro.
WHEN: Intro is open Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30 PM–10:00 PM, and Friday through Saturday, 5:00 PM–11:00 PM.
WHERE: Intro, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614
HOW TO RESERVE A TABLE: Intro is the first Lettuce Entertain You concept to utilize Tock, a new ticketing system platform, through which guests can purchase tickets and make reservations on Introchicago.com. Prices will vary depending upon each chef’s menu ($65-$95, excluding tax, gratuity, and optional pairings). Ticket news is announced via Intro’s social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.