Tom&Eddie’s Bites Into Deerfield
Gourmet hamburger chain now serving its tasty fare.
“Can we get an order of fries?” restaurant owner Ed Rensi asked a server while sitting down to lunch with Patch the day before Tom&Eddie’s grand opening. He obviously wasn’t satisfied with my choice of a side salad to accompany the Angus burger I also ordered.
“Put your bun on top,” he instructed, before I took my first bite of “The Ampersand,” a specialty burger stacked with bacon, Gouda cheese, barbeque sauce, haystack onions and a fried egg, which came open face.
“Now, cut it in half,” he said in providing further instructions on the best way to eat the sandwich.
Rensi, a former McDonald's executive, knows food and is extremely excited to bring his cuisine to Deerfield. “It’s a great community, it’s a great village,” he said as I dipped into the plate of fries that I initially tried to avoid.
Located at 740 Waukegan Rd. in the Deerfield Square, Tom&Eddie’s officially opened its doors to customers this morning. It's the chain’s third location, with the others in Lombard and Geneva. A fourth shop is set for Vernon Hills.
After noticing I needed a refill, Rensi pushed a service button located on the table for assistance. While orders are placed at a counter toward the back of the restaurant, there’s staff on hand to serve customers and cleanup after them.
Once the manager arrived---since I was sitting with Rensi---he was eager to talk about the machine that would be pouring my drink. It’s called the Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser and cost the restaurant a pretty penny--rumored to be about $55,000. The machine offers 106 combinations of beverages, many of which aren’t available in stores. Too bad--all I wanted was another Diet Coke.
Quality service is important to Rensi who started his career on the grill at a McDonald's in Columbus, OH. From there he worked his way up to CEO of McDonald’s USA, which is how he met co-owner Tom Dentice, who was executive vice president in charge of operations and training at McDonald's.
“I was out of ideas and enthusiasm at the time,” Rensi said about why he left McDonald's, the top fast-food chain in the U.S., and teamed up with Dentice instead.
After retiring from the corporate world, the two decided to get back into the restaurant business, but on their own terms. “We’re both entrepreneurs; we both like working,” Rensi explained.
“Everybody is becoming a foodie these days,” he said in reference to the popularity of cooking shows on television. “They’re more willing to experiment.”
That is why the duo decided to build their brand around signature burgers.
The menu features items like "The Blue Chip” burger that comes with avocado, roasted garlic aioli, blue cheese and fresh made potato chips on a gourmet role. There is also “The Islander,” an ahi-tuna burger topped with fried wontons, wasabi peas, wasabi mayonnaise and avocado slices.
To say the least my plate was licked clean by the time our conversation ended. But that didn’t stop Rensi from suggesting I finish the meal off with a Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream shake with strawberries. While I politely declined, I spotted another customer walking out with the frozen treat and smiling from cheek to cheek.