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'Top Chef' Heading New Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant In River North

By David Matthews | April 7, 2016 12:51pm | Updated on July 1, 2016 10:52am
 C.J. Jacobson, a former
C.J. Jacobson, a former "Top Chef" contestant and chef at Intro in Lincoln Park, is leading Ēma in River North.
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RIVER NORTH — Lettuce Entertain You restaurants has tapped a "Top Chef" for Ēma, its newest restaurant coming to River North. 

The Mediterranean restaurant opens Thursday at a new Hyatt Place hotel, 74 W. Illinois St., the Chicago restaurant chain said. Leading the project is C.J. Jacobson, a former "Top Chef" contestant and the first chef at the helm of acclaimed Lincoln Park restaurant Intro

Ēma is a Hebrew word for "mother," the restaurant chain says.

Jacobson's "restaurant is an ode to our moms and the influence they have had on our relationships with food and cooking," Marc Jacobs, a Lettuce partner, said in a statement. "Both C.J. and I have spent time in Israel, Egypt and Italy and this menu is a culmination of what we loved to eat in the Mediterranean and C.J.'s experience cooking on the West Coast."

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, focusing on shareable Mediterranean plates. Ēma will also have a grab-and-go counter with rotisserie chicken, salads, salsas and house-made frozen Greek yogurt. 

Jacobson appeared on Bravo’s "Top Chef" and won "Top Chef Duels" in 2014. His dishes also appeared on the cover of the October 2015 issue of Food & Wine magazine. He has worked at acclaimed restaurants in Los Angeles and Copenhagen before landing in Chicago. 

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