Openings

Welcome to Ema

Welcome to Ema

Jun 30, 2016

Collage of food photos and headshot of Chef CJ at Ema

This Mediterranean restaurant showcases Chef CJ Jacobson’s lighter California-style of cooking is officially open at 74 W. Illinois in Chicago’s River North. Ēma (which translates to mother in Hebrew) dishes out a menu of spreads and mezze. If checking out cuisine from the Top Chef Duel’s winner and Intro’s first chef-in-residence isn’t enough to get you excited, here are six reasons why you should definitely come check out Ēma:

Interior dining room shot at Ema restaurant

Because Mediterranean cooking is so hot right now.
This style of cooking reflects the way we believe people like to eat today; simply prepared dishes with lots of veggies.

Want to add a little Mediterranean-style to your at-home cooking rotation? Chef CJ says, “The most important things to have are good olive oil, parsley, yogurt and lemons. The spices that I generally like to use are North African spices like cumin, fennel seed and coriander.”

Vegetable kebobs and sweet corn risotto from Ema

Because sharing is caring, folks.
What’s mezze? Thanks for asking! Mezze are Mediterranean small plates meant to be shared. Some mezze highlights: House-Made Stracciatella with tomatoes, basil, yarrow and California olive oil, Crispy Broccoli with black garlic dashi broth, Watermelon Gazpacho, Lamb Kefta Kebabs and Market Vegetable Kebabs, just to name a few favorites.

Gazpacho soup and fresh cheese with tomatoes from Ema

Because veggies are more than just a side dish here.
A large portion of the menu is vegetable focused, and we’re pumped about it. Some seasonal highlights: English Peas with house yogurt, jalapeño, mint and blackberry-sumac granita and the Double-Roasted Beets with pomegranate molasses and chopped herbs. The vegetable dishes will be ever-changing based on the seasonal produce that Chef CJ sources.

Frozen green yogurt with peas, blackberry and blueberry from Ema

“Throughout my travels, I fell in love with the simplistic beauty of terroir and ingredient-driven food. Much of this inspiration is seen throughout the menu with our careful sourcing and mindful presentation,” – says, CJ Jacobson.

Because of Ēma’s house-baked bread, dips and spreads.
The house-made bread is a cross between pita and naan and is baked fresh daily. It’s brushed with extra virgin olive oil and zaatar spice. Now take that crispy, yet chewy goodness and dip it in one of our house-made dips and spreads like the Spicy Hummus or the Avocado & Sweet Pea.

Hummus with vegetables from Ema

Because even the vino hails from the Mediterranean coastline.
The wine program at Ēma parallels the cuisine, in that it showcases wines from Mediterranean coastlines and islands, in addition to light Mediterranean-style wines from California. Developed by Lettuce Entertain You’s Wine Director, Ryan Arnold, guests can expect sips exclusive to Ēma, like Massayah from Lebanon, Fontanavigna Pallegrello from the coast of Campania, and other unique bottles from Morocco, Croatia, Greece, Italy and Corisca.

Because if you’re in a hurry, you can grab-and-go at Rotisserie Ēma.
Ēma shares its kitchen with Rotisserie Ēma (opening later this month), a quick, casual counter serving chef-prepared salads, rotisserie chicken and house-made frozen Greek yogurt. Guests can expect fresh options featuring ancient grains like wheat berries, freekeh and farro, and salads like Mixed Greens with turmeric-ginger vinaigrette and Rotisserie Kale with preserved lemon vinaigrette.

Dining room and bar at Ema

For more information or to make a reservation, visit us at emachicago.com or follow Ēma on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and for an inside-the-kitchen look at recipe testing with Chef CJ follow him on Instagram at @bigceej. Click here to make your reservation at Ema.


You May Also Like...

In The Restaurants
Celebrate Mother’s Day 2018
May 11, 2018

That special woman who would do absolutely anything for you deserves a day to be celebrated. Join us…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Season: Spring Peas
Apr 24, 2018

Spring has sprung and with the change in the season, our chefs have beautiful green veggies on their…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Apr 21, 2018

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! Here are all the happy hour deals at select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Apr 20, 2018

Warm weather is here, which means al fresco dining is too! We've rounded up the best patios at…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Apr 11, 2018

For that one hour escape from your office, you want to make sure to make most of your lunch hour.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Spring into the season with these dishes
Apr 2, 2018

The temperatures are rising and tulips are being planted, which could only mean one thing: spring is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Dishes and Drinks with the Color of the Year: Ultra Violet
Mar 30, 2018

Every year, Pantone, the creator of colors, announces their choice in what the Color of the Year is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Easter 2018
Mar 28, 2018

Celebrate the end of Lent and bring the whole family in for Easter. Whether you're looking for…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Kid-Friendly Dining Options and Activities
Mar 15, 2018

You've been to the zoo, the beach, the pool... the kids are starting to get stir crazy. We've got…

read more >
In The Restaurants
This One’s For Our Indecisive Diners
Feb 26, 2018

For all of you indecisive order-ers out there - the "I want to order one of everything on the menu"…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Presidents Day 2018
Feb 8, 2018

Enjoy your long weekend on Presidents Day (Monday, February 19) by staying up late, sleeping in and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to go on Valentine’s Day 2018
Feb 4, 2018

Have you made your Valentine's Day plans yet? It's right around the corner and there's lots of…

read more >
How To
How To Make the Perfect Game Day Dip
Jan 22, 2018

A staple for your Big Game Sunday spread is a delicious dip! In case you need some inspiration, we…

read more >
How To
Already Fell Off the Healthy New Year’s Resolution Wagon? Let’s Eat.
Jan 12, 2018

"New Year, Same Me" more your speed? Well, we're right there with you. Celebrate one of our favorite…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat: Martin Luther King Day 2018
Jan 6, 2018

A long weekend calls for long brunches filled with sweet and savory treats. And don't forget about…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Our Chef’s Predictions and Resolutions for 2018
Jan 2, 2018

Our chefs aren't psychic but they do have a finger on the pulse of what's on the horizon for the New…

read more >
In The Restaurants
These Ingredients are Unexpected Perfect Pairs
Jan 1, 2018

With the New Year comes new menus, and just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that there is a…

read more >
How To
A Guide to Selecting the Perfect Thanksgiving Wines
Nov 7, 2017

Fact: wine stores are intimidating. More truth: we're here to help! We've tapped the minds of our…

read more >
How To
How to Host Friendsgiving
Nov 1, 2017

Friendsgiving (n): the turkey-centric festive feast held by your chosen family - your friends - to…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Fall Harvest’s Best Dishes
Oct 30, 2017

The bounty of fall harvest comes at a time in the year when we are craving the comfort of cool…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Ema’s Pumpkin Hummus
Oct 30, 2017

Enjoy your favorite fall ingredient the Mediterranean way and make Ema's Pumpkin Hummus by Chef CJ…

read more >
In The Restaurants
All Pumpkin, Everything
Oct 22, 2017

'Tis the season for everyone's favorite fall ingredient, pumpkin. Whether you're preparing pumpkin…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Brunch this Weekend
Oct 18, 2017

If you're anything like us, you plan your weekend around brunch. Here is your guide to all of our…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Where to Eat & Drink in October
Oct 2, 2017

Throughout the month of October, Lettuce Entertain You restaurants are donating a portion of…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Brunch at Ēma
Jun 21, 2017

Your weekend plans have been decided for you thanks to Chef CJ Jacobson. Ēma in River North is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Bloom: Strawberries
May 21, 2017

Summer is on the horizon, which means strawberries season is back to brighten our palates! From…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Mezze Madness
Mar 14, 2017

March is all about epic matchups; be it on the NCAA basketball court or tableside at Ema. In the…

read more >
In The Restaurants
‘Tis the Season: Cozy Cocktails
Dec 16, 2016

Like it or not, winter is upon us. It’s getting quite chilly, the darkness approaches sooner than…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Halloween Candy-inspired Desserts
Oct 1, 2016

Pumpkins are being carved, costumes are being purchased, parties are being planned, and the best…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce Date Night
Aug 15, 2016

 

read more >
Openings
Welcome to Ema
Jun 30, 2016

This Mediterranean restaurant showcases Chef CJ Jacobson’s lighter California-style of cooking is…

read more >

Recent Posts

How To
Here’s How to Make Pesto
May 21, 2018

Summer, we’ll be sad to see you go. But when life hands you colder weather and summer produce…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Only on Thursdays: Alaskan King Crab & Burgers at Oyster Bah
May 17, 2018

Why wait for the weekend to have all the fun because every Thursday night at Oyster Bah, in the Low…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Farm(ers Market) Right to Your Table: Brunch at Stella Barra
May 17, 2018

Chef / Partner Jeff Mahin (Summer House Santa Monica, Stella Barra Pizzeria, M Street Kitchen and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Happy Hour at Antico Posto
May 17, 2018

Here’s something to get “happy” about. You can now enjoy Antico Posto for lunch, dinner and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Brunching in the Chicago Burbs?
May 16, 2018

When planning your weekend, brunch should always be a priority and trust us, there’s lox to love…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Windy City Smokeout Presents the Country Music Stars of Tomorrow
May 13, 2018

Windy City Smokeout is returning to Chicago on July 13-15! Known for showcasing country music's…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Rise & Shine: The Best Way to Breakfast During the Week
May 13, 2018

Early risers rejoice! We've rounded up all of our weekday breakfast specialties that will keep you…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Celebrate Mother’s Day 2018
May 11, 2018

That special woman who would do absolutely anything for you deserves a day to be celebrated. Join us…

read more >
How To
How To: Make a Restaurant-Quality Dinner at Home
May 11, 2018

Our friends at Peapod are making it easier for you to enjoy your favorite dishes from Wildfire and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Gift Guide
May 10, 2018

Whether it's a birthday, the holiday season or any of the countless holidays throughout the year,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
You Can Now Order a Whole Alaskan King Crab at Shaw’s Chicago
May 8, 2018

After a trip out to Akutan, Alaska last fall, the team from Shaw's Crab House in Chicago was in awe…

read more >
In The Restaurants
21 Dishes for Celiac Awareness Month
May 7, 2018

May is Celiac Awareness Month, so we've rounded up our favorite gluten-free dishes that you have to…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!