Brian Huston always wanted to come home. After growing up in Evanston and a trip to Ohio University for college, Brian returned home with a plan to get involved in advertising and filmmaking. Still in his early 20s, another thought started creeping in his mind. Food. He landed a job as a line cook deep in the bowels of Jimmy Bannos’ Heaven on Seven – the original – in the Loop. He worked his way up there, and then began honing his skills at Spiaggia Restaurant. A break came with Paul Kahan hired Brian to cook at Blackbird soon after it opened but before it became the symbol of modern American cuisine in Chicago, and the start of the West Loop dining scene. A stop at Avec precede trips to other places, Colorado, San Franciso, Europe – where Brian continued to keep the best of the old and fold in the best of the new, establishing his own creative style of cuisine the was a melting pot of ingredients, flavors and techniques. After 6 years away, Kahan brought him back to serve as Chef de Cuisine of The Publican, and Huston helped define Farm-to-Table cooking in the Midwest. But as important, it brought him back towards his long term goal – 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 creative fresh sourced food and warm hospitality.
His dedication and passion for locally sourced and market-driven ingredients is at the foundation of every dish on the menu. Relationships with local farmers drive each plate the leaves the kitchen.
The result is a simple and ever-changing menu that delivers new and exciting flavors every day.
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. After an initial partnership with coffee-maven John Kim, Huston brought in Chrissy Prieto, a 30 year veteran of the front of the house (and also his wife!) to become the new face of the front of the house. The result has been a family affair – like many of the world’s best restaurants – husband and wife bringing guests into the home each day to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Chrissy’s boundless energy and quest for perfection are a welcome addition to the Boltwood family.
You might ask, what exactly is Boltwood? 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. A place that people can always come back to and feel at home. If our restaurant can accomplish these feelings and do so with great food as the driving force then our mission will be accomplished.