Get Meaty at The Barn in Evanston
When Amy Morton and Nicole Pederson first joined forces for Found Kitchen & Social House, they dazzled diners and helped catapult Evanston into place as one of the hottest dining destinations in Chicagoland. Now the duo are at it again, this time with a meat-centric restaurant tucked down an alleyway called The Barn.
A departure from their original collaboration nearby, The Barn is decidedly more carnivorous. Drawing inspiration from her classical French training, along with brasseries and butcher shops, Pederson pays homage to farms with dishes like bison bolognese, pan-seared calves liver and a roster of heritage steaks presented table side and adorned with marrow butter and bearnaise. For Morton, the meaty focus is doubly special, as The Barn serves as an ode to her late father Arnie Morton of Morton’s Steakhouses fame. The restaurant also features nightly specials like chicken pot pie on Wednesdays, crispy sweetbreads on Thursdays and rack of lamb on Saturdays. Desserts skew wholesome and refreshingly simple, like a chocolate mousse with candied hazelnuts and affogato with vanilla gelato.
Curated by sommelier Michelle Sallemi, The Barn’s beverage program pays equal mind to wine and cocktails. For the former, guests can expect a mix of uncommon hidden gems along with classic varietals and wineries, sourced from across the country and the globe. Cocktails lean classic as well, with enough big and bold flavor to stand up nicely alongside Pederson’s meaty offerings.
Aptly, The Barn is housed in a 19th-century brick barn formerly used to house horses, with an entrance nestled down an alley. A large green barn door greets guests and whisks them away to another time and place entirely, as Morton worked to ensure the original sensation of the barn was retained. The result is a rustic dining space that feels like a pastoral haven of bygone Americana, with restored fixtures like brick walls and soaring 20-foot ceilings. A massive chandelier illuminates the dining room nicely and lavishly, shedding light on custom artwork and a color palate of blues and greens. The Barn also contains a hay loft transformed into an elevated dining area outfitted with leather booths and tables. Another nice finishing touch is a photograph of Morton’s father as a child on a pony, which sits next to the bar.
- Matt Kirouac