owner Bobby Dubin has jumped on two foodie trends with his new restaurant, Second Street Bistro: organic, locally produced food and BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze).
He's hoping both will make the bistro, which opens Friday, a big hit in Highland Park and along the North Shore.
"I want to keep the place packed," Dubin said Wednesday about his new place, located in the same building as Stashs at 1825 Second Street.
The food, described as "upscale American with a twist," includes dishes like shaved organic brussels sprouts, slow cooked beef short rib, herb marinated amish chicken and gluten-free quinoa spaghetti. The food is made with local and organic ingredients, whenever possible, according to the restaurant's website.
In short, it's pretty different from the burgers, hot dogs and fries you'll find in the adjacent grill.
"I wanted a farm to table restaurant, organic, sustainable," Dubin said, "and I decided to do a BYOB, which nobody has along the North Shore."
The inspiration for the BYOB part came when Dubin realized people might be more tempted to go out for a meal if they didn't have to spend money on beer, wine or liquor.
"People got hit hard since 2008," Dubin said, "They want to still go out but [the cost is] becoming prohibitive."
Dubin, a Grey Goose vodka fan, explained that he had found himself having a drink before he would go out for dinner so he wouldn't have to spend $10 to $13 on the same drink at the restaurant.
"I want people to be able to come out and eat from $25 to $30 and be able to drink," Dubin said, "I think if I can accomplish that we'll be a very valuable place."
There's no corkage fee at Second Street Bistro, and entrees range in price from $13 (roasted local acorn squash, cauliflower puree broccoli rabe, cherry tomatoes, smoked paprika oil) to $19 ("thick cut" skirt steak, smashed garlic yukons, shallot marmalade, chianti reduction).
"People truly want value," Dubin said.
Even the restaurant's chef is locally grown. Executive chef Michael Gottlieb is a Highland Park native who has worked in restaurants in Northbrook, Lake Forest and at the Townhouse in Deerfield.
"We will be the place to go to for skirt steak," Dubin said about the way the chef prepares the "thick cut" skirt steak.
Though planning for the bistro began almost a year ago, it has only begun to take shape in the past few months. Now, with Stashs' back room separated off and redecorated, Second Street Bistro is about to become a reality.
"I felt like I was in a different restaurant," Dubin said about walking through the new place.
Second Street Bistro is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.