Sepia Finds Success in Slow Food

Chicago eatery recognized as one of the best in back-to-basics movement recently celebrated three years

By LeeAnn Trotter
|  Friday, Jul 30, 2010  |  Updated 7:45 PM CDT
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<a title=Chicago eatery, recognized as one of the best in back-to-basics movement, celebrates third anniversary." />

Chicago eatery, recognized as one of the best in back-to-basics movement, celebrates third anniversary.

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There's a back-to-basics, slow-cooking movement that's becoming a restaurant rage, and Chicago's Sepia is being recognized as one of the best.

The slow food movement was born in Italy at around the time McDonald's set up shop in Chicago.  Italians then were concerned that it was the beginning of old-style cooking.

The modern craze is about cooking like grandma used to -- whipping up everything from scratch -- and has taken off like wildfire.

There are several restaurants in Chicago like Sepia, which recently celebrated its third anniversary, that have embraced the technique.

Sepia resides in a building that housed an old print shop back in the late 1800s.  But today clients will find old world charm mixed with a modern twist.

"People perceive Sepia as being great quality, great value, even in these tough economic times," said the restaurant's owner, Emmanuel Nony.  "We've seen spending being very consistent over the last three years."

In fact, Sepia's ambiance and fare is so good that director Ron Howard decided to film several scenes for an upcoming movie at the North Jefferson Street location after eating there and falling in love with its vintage design and cuisine.

Sepia's recent anniversary dinner was co-sponsored by a group called Slow Food Chicago, which celebrates local farmers and sustainable producers

On the menu:  ratatouille tart and pan-roasted California white bass with three sisters sweet corn, among other dishes.

"It just sort of speaks to the same sort of sense of preparing foods from start to finish [and] not buying prepared, purchased things, and really actually taking some pride and working, cooking and producing good cheeses and cured meats and things along those lines," explained Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman.

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