The restaurant group is teaming up with chef/partner CJ Jacobson for Ēma (pronounced: ee-ma), which translates to “mother” in Hebrew. The River North restaurant will focus on Mediterranean mezzes that weave together Jacobson’s West Coast roots and his time spent at Noma. In addition, there’ll be a fast casual concept launching next door called Rotisserie ĒMA selling rotisserie meats, chef-prepared salads, and their own frozen Greek yogurt for dessert.
When Top Chef Season 3 alum and Top Chef Duels winner C.J. Jacobson opens his new restaurant Ēma in Chicago this summer, he'll be putting a bunch of surprising dishes on his California-Mediterranean menu. For one thing, C.J. will be doing some exciting new things with vegetables, including the ubiquitous kale. Ēma's in-house rotisserie program will allow C.J. to develop innovative recipes like "rotisserie-style" kale, i.e. lacinato kale that's been blanched and continuously cooked on the spit—just like meat.
Ēma, his first restaurant with Chicago's Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, will have a mostly small-plates menu along with a grab-and-go counter. “I love the idea of eating small plates. I don’t want to commit to large plates because I get tired of the same thing," C.J. told The Feast. The restaurant's name means "mother" in Hebrew, and its roster of dishes will showcase inspirations from Jacobson’s travels to Italy, Israel and Egypt.