For years, Kan Zaman was synonymous with Lebanese meals in Chicago. After transferring from Andersonville to River North, the family-owned restaurant closed in 2015 as a consequence of lease points. The homeowners surfaced once more three years later in Lincoln Park with Cedar Palace.
Now the father-and-son group behind Cedar Palace plan are engaged on a brand new restaurant. Medi ought to open in late July at 2138 N. Halsted Avenue in Lincoln Park. Co-owners Elias Younan and Paul Alqas, longtime buddies and youngsters of Center Jap immigrants, together with associate George Rizzio, purpose to create a unique expertise. They’re joined by Elias Younan’s father. Chef Hermiz Younan will run the kitchen.
Elias Younan’s dad and mom, natives of Beirut, got here to the U.S. in 1979 and based Kan Zaman in Andersonville within the early 1990s. The restaurant featured pillow seating and stomach dancers on weekends. The menu, like many Center Jap eating places in America, served the massive plates of rice and kebobs which have lengthy been marketed to Western diners.
“We wished to vary it up, make it extra ‘genuine,’ you may say, by way of what we eat at house,” Elias Younan says. “It is a bit more conventional — should you come over to my dad and mom’ home or anyone from our household’s home, there’ll be an enormous unfold, a little bit little bit of that, a little bit little bit of this.”
Medi’s still-developing menu will largely function small and medium shared plates and relaxation on a basis of Lebanese dishes but in addition combine Armenian and Greek parts. Lebanon’s place alongside the Mediterranean Sea has heightened these influences on the nation’s delicacies as in comparison with different Center Jap nations, based on Younan, who says the restaurant’s choices can be extra conventional than these seen at Kan Zaman.
Elias Younan is especially excited to spotlight Lebanese choices equivalent to kibbeh nayeh, a tartar-esque combination of uncooked minced lamb or beef blended with high-quality bulgar and spices. Different choices will embody cold and hot mezze equivalent to baba ghannouj, tabbouleh, and soujouk — a spicy Armenian sausage served in crimson sauce. A wide range of kebobs can be obtainable at Medi, in addition to beef and hen shawarma, and lamb chops.
Possession introduced in bartender and guide James Urycki (Travelle on the Langham) to develop the seasonal cocktail menu. Medi will begin off with summer-friendly drinks like a cold-brew Previous Customary and the “Lasanta 12-Yr Cobbler” (Olosoro and Pedro Ximénez sherries, blood orange juice, pineapple juice). A rotating collection of Mediterranean beers can even be obtainable from international locations together with Greece, Lebanon, and Italy, plus glasses and bottles of wine from the area.
Medi’s meals errs on the aspect of custom, however the house will embrace up to date aesthetics and in style tradition. It’s a tangible illustration of his and Alqas’s experiences rising up with Center Jap dad and mom and tradition in the USA. “Every part on this place actually is part of me, my household, Pauly, and the way we grew up,” Elias Younan says. “It’s all a part of progress and remembering the place we got here from. Meaning loads to us on a enterprise stage, on a friendship stage, and on a non secular stage.”
The two,000-square-foot house has the capability to seat 100, however Chicago’s pandemic restrictions have pared that quantity right down to 25. Some design particulars stay beneath wraps, however the eating room will function the identical vintage Center Jap chandeliers that appeared in Kan Zaman and have have been treasured by the Younans for greater than 20 years. Prospects can anticipate an earthy palette with heat wooden, white brick partitions, and a white quartz-top bar that seats 15. Elias Younan additionally guarantees fashionable artwork and neons all through the house, juxtaposing up to date and classical aesthetics. In one other nod to the household’s hospitality legacy, diners may sit at a chef’s desk for six with conventional pillow seating, the place chef Younan will supply a personalized menu based mostly on patron preferences.
Elias Younan says he hopes to open Medi on or round July 22. Keep tuned for a gap alert.
Medi, 2138 N. Halsted Avenue, Scheduled to open on the finish of July.