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Intro's C.J. Jacobson's Ema opens today

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson

Intro alums just can't get enough of Chicago (see Il Porcellino). This time it's Intro's first chef, C.J. Jacobson, with Mediterranean-Californian inspired Ema (74 W Illinois) opening today in River North. Ema will have a sit-down restaurant component that seats 140, a smaller patio opening this summer and a walk-up window called Rotisserie Ema.

Photograph: Anjali Pinto

"The concept is Mediterranean flavors, but seen through my eyes," Jacobson said. "We’ve got a lot of dippy things, like a mint and avocado dip, which could be kind of Mediterranean but is definitely California." A quick perusal through the menu points to just that—think hummus with crudité, rotisserie chicken and English peas with yogurt.

The restaurant will feel different from what you'd normally expect out of Lettuce Entertain You restaurants as well. Instead of dark colors, reclaimed wood and white dominate the space, with a marble bar and lots of windows.

Photograph: Anjali Pinto

As far as drinks are concerned, Lettuce's beverage director Julian Cox will be taking care of the cocktails, starring seasonal produce. Wine director Ryan Arnold has set up a list of Mediterranean wines and a handful of Californian wines.

Ema will open today for dinner from 4–10pm. Lunch and the walk-up window will start in July.

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