Just as the Nobel Prize marks excellence in achievement, the owners of the Nobel House hope their restaurant represents excellence in food and service.
Geneva residents Jason Levin and Dave Cilio on May 1 opened Nobel House restaurant at 305 W. State St. in downtown Geneva in the space formerly occupied by another restaurant, Tavolino.
The name of the restaurant also pays homage to Geneva’s Swedish roots. Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize, was a Swedish chemist and engineer. The bistro-style restaurant offers chef-inspired American comfort food.
“You can have great food without white tablecloths,” said Nobel House executive chef Marshall McCarty, who has worked in the restaurant business for 12 years.
Levin and Cilio have extensive restaurant experience. They also operate four other restaurants in Chicago, including Merkle’s Bar and Grill in Wrigleyville in Chicago. McCarty started working for Levin and Cilio while he was going through culinary school.
They extensively renovated the building’s interior to achieve the look they wanted. For example, they tore out the building’s ceiling to expose the wooden timbers underneath.
“We saw these beefy, old wooden timbers that we liked,” Cilio said. “It gives it an old, rustic look.”
Nobel House prides itself on its freshness.
“We cook everything from scratch,” McCarty said. “We are proud to say we don’t bring in frozen products.”
Nobel House also smokes its own meats.
“It takes it from something that was tough into something that is tender,” McCarty said.
One of the restaurant’s popular items is a turkey pastrami that is smoked for hours and piled high on marble rye, McCarty said. Nobel House also serves other sandwiches and burgers, along with wild salmon, salads and soup.
In addition, Nobel House offers vegetarian options, such as its cauliflower steak, which features a roasted cauliflower with olive tapenade, sun-dried tomato and citrus vinaigrette.
“A lot of people are looking for something like that,” McCarty said.
For those beer connoisseurs, Nobel House also offers a wide beer selection. The restaurant has 30 craft beers on tap, and another 70 craft beers by the bottle, McCarty said.
McCarty knows how popular craft beer is these days.
“People want to have a large variety,” he said. “Barbecue and craft beer go great together.”
Nobel House also serves beer mussels made with Penrose Brewing Proto Gradus, just one of the beers made at the newly opened Penrose Brewery in Geneva.
Besides the items on its menu, Nobel House also features an ever-changing array of items on the “Market Chalkboard” displayed at the end of the restaurant’s bar, including oysters, cheese and charcuterie, flatbreads and soups of the day.
“We want to keep it fresh,” McCarty said. “Our flatbreads change almost daily.”
Even though it has been open for less than a month, Nobel House already has built a following.
“The local people have been very welcoming,” Cilio said. “We have a regular base of clientele coming in.”
Nobel House is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Sundays. More information is available by visiting www.nobelhousegeneva.com or calling 630-402-0452.