Back in early 2012, John Kim was working as co-owner of The Brothers K Coffeehouse in Evanston and Brian Huston was working as Chef de Cuisine of The Publican in Chicago. Brian was (and still is) a loyal customer of The Brothers K and one day at the shop, John asked Brian about the possibility of opening a restaurant in Evanston. John was just looking for advice from someone who knew the business and wanted to know if Brian thought the idea was crazy. Brian’s response surprised John. Not only did Brian not think the idea was crazy, he wanted to do it with John.
What started as a conversation over a cup of coffee between Brian and John quickly turned into weekly meetings that included fellow Evanstonians, Brady Huston, Brian’s brother and marketing professional, and Seth Kaplan, Brian’s longtime friend and attorney. After two years of planning and concepting, the foursome developed a plan and the mission was simple – to open a restaurant in Evanston that allows us to serve our family and friends (both old and new) with amazing food and warm hospitality. The combined skills of Brian and John make them the perfect team to deliver on this mission.
In his six years as Chef de Cuisine of The Publican, Brian Huston helped define Farm-to-Table cooking in the Midwest. His dedication and passion for locally sourced and market-driven ingredients is at the foundation of every dish on the menu. The result is a simple and ever-changing menu that delivers new and exciting flavors every day.
While Brian was busy honing his culinary skills and building relationships with local farmers, John Kim was developing a loyal following as co-owner of The Brothers K Coffeehouse. Over the last decade, John’s gregarious personality and authentic connection with his customers has made The Brothers K more than just a coffeehouse that serves great coffee. It is a warm and friendly atmosphere that makes customers feel at home. At Boltwood, John’s goal is to make our regulars feel like new customers and our new customer to feel like regulars.
Part of creating a friendly environment is building a menu that is simple and accessible. We want people to feel welcome at Boltwood for all occasions. A small bite and a beer is just as welcome as a formal dinner, and the menu is designed to deliver both.
When it came time to name our baby we wanted a name that was strong, unique and meaningful but more importantly, we wanted a name that exemplified the same attributes that we want in our restaurant. For years, Boltwood was the name of the freshman wing of Evanston Township High School and as such it represents the start of a new journey, a place that is uniquely diverse, a place that feels alive with energy and enthusiasm and a place where relationships are built. If our restaurant can accomplish these feelings and do so with great food as the driving force then our mission will be accomplished.