CHICAGO, IL – July 29, 2015 – After garnering a three-star review from Chicago Tribune, Erik Anderson, Intro’s second chef-in-residence, will pass the torch to Chef Aaron Martinez, who begins overseeing the Intro kitchen on Thursday, July 30. Personally selected by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ founder Rich Melman, Martinez describes his cooking style as “spontaneous and market-driven, using minimal ingredients in very simple, clean presentations.” Martinez will cook at Intro through Saturday, October 17, collaborating with Rich Melman and the Intro team to create a concept reflective of his style, from menu development, music, vibe, server uniforms, decor and style of service.
The menu, which will evolve throughout Martinez’s residency, includes King Salmon- kohlrabi, dill, frozen mustard; Tomato and Summer Melon- cured ham, seaweed, flowering coriander; Striped Bass- summer cabbage, lemon verbena, shellfish butter; Rib of Beef- eggplant, cherries, onion; Chamomile Soda- lemon-thyme glacé; and Strawberries- elderflower, almond, white chocolate. A four-course menu is available Tuesday through Friday for $55 per person (wine pairing optional at $35) and a six-course menu is available Tuesday through Saturday for $85 per person (wine pairing optional at $50). A vegetable menu will always be offered, showcasing products from local farms and farmer’s markets. The cocktail program will be based on riffs of classic summer cocktails, including renditions of margaritas, mojitos, negronis and smashes. The popular Bittercube cocktails Six Corner Sling and Summer Punch will also be on the list. Wine pairings will be curated by Damien Casten of Chicago’s Candid Wines.
INTRODUCING THE CHEF
Chef Aaron Martinez is the third chef-in-residence at Intro, Lettuce Entertain You’s award-winning rotating chef restaurant. A California native from Orange County, Martinez, who previously worked as chef de cuisine at Quince and Commis, was on the team that took Quince from one to two Michelin stars. Martinez extensively staged abroad in Europe at restaurants like Restaurante Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, the two Michelin-starred restaurant Lasarte in Barcelona, and In de Wulf in West Flanders, Belgium, where he honed his style of classic French cooking, utilizing modern, lighter techniques.
SCHOOL FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Intro was conceptualized with four goals in mind: to introduce Chicago to new talent, to introduce new chefs to a balanced way of running a business, to introduce the Lettuce kitchen and service staff to up and coming chefs/entrepreneurs, and to introduce Lettuce to new culinary talent.
“We see Intro as a true partnership between Lettuce and the chef-in-residence,” said Melman. “They will work with us every step of the way, have a financial partnership stake in the concept they create, and if they go on to open a restaurant of their own, they will have Lettuce senior partners as consultants.”
INTRODUCING A NEW EXPERIENCE
Award-winning architect Dirk Denison has led the transformation of the former L2O restaurant, which he originally designed and won a Gold Key Award for Best Restaurant Design in 2008. 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. Intro is an energetic, adaptable and comfortable new space with a flexible ambiance that will change in parallel to the presence of each chef-in-residence, their menu, vibe and style of service. For Martinez’s tenure, a lush natural garden atmosphere has been developed, with hanging greenery complementing the room.
Intro is located at 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL. Intro is closed Sunday and Monday, open for dinner Tuesday – Thursday 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Reservations can be secured on www.IntroChicago.com. Intro utilizes Tock, a new ticketing system platform, as well as Opentable.com (beginning 30 days out) or by calling the restaurant. The price point for Martinez’s menu will stay approachable at $55 – $85 (excluding tax and gratuity). Wine pairings are available. For news, events, ticket availabilities and menu changes, guests can follow Intro’s social media (@IntroChicago). For additional questions or to make reservations, please call 773-868-0002.
About Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
Based in Chicago, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc. (LEYE) is one of the nation’s leading independent restaurant groups, owning, managing or licensing more than 100 establishments in Illinois, Arizona, Minnesota, Maryland, Nevada, California, Virginia, Washington D.C., Hawaii and Canada. The establishments range from the casual style and cuisine of the original restaurant, R.J. Grunts (opened in 1971), to the formal elegance of Michelin-starred Everest and Tru.