Mundano will be a neighborhood restaurant that promises a forward-thinking experience. The name “Mundano” originates from the Spanish word for “worldly” and Chef Ross Henke took this into account when building the menu. Henke intends to draw from his experience with Latin American cuisine but will lean heavily on a more New American style, blending a variety of influences and cooking techniques to create a spectrum of flavors both striking and memorable. The menu will rotate as the primary inspiration will rely on seasonality and sustainability of ingredients. To compliment, the beverage program will be built around agave spirits and natural wines and will also include an approachable list of classic cocktails. As for the vibe, Henke has playfully dubbed Mundano the “Logan Square Embassy,” with the intent on bringing more of the relaxed, innovative dining experience synonymous with Logan Square to Lincoln Park.
Executive Chef Ross Henke – Ambitious to further his career in the hospitality industry, Chef Ross Henke dove headfirst into Chicago’s thriving restaurant scene in 2011. Over the ensuing years, he honed his skills in the kitchens of some of the city’s premier establishments including LM Bistro at the downtown Hotel Felix and in the West Loop at Publican Quality Meats and The Publican, working under the guidance of James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan. As Executive Chef of Quiote in Logan Square, Henke garnered numerous accolades including a Michelin Bib Gourmand in both 2017 and 2018 as well as a top spot on Chicago Magazine's “Best New Restaurant” list. Henke’s penchant for taking risks in the kitchen and passion for creating “cravable” dishes in novel ways earned him a nomination for the Jean Banchet Award for Best Chef de Cuisine in 2017.
Front of House Manager Trista Baker – Alabama native Trista Baker has been diligently working her way up in the hospitality industry for the past decade, holding down nearly every front-of-house position from hosting to serving to managing. Witnessing the lack of resources for Chicago’s many restaurant industry employees, she decided to take action. In 2018, Baker founded the Restaurant Culture Association—a non-profit organization set to transform the industry through education and policy reform. Her continued work with RCA focuses on assisting restaurant and bar owners in not only preventing sexual harassment, but also providing a consistent set of standards and guidelines as those issues arise in the workplace. In addition to a focus on great food and welcoming, attentive service, Baker intends to build on her professionalism and passion for advocacy to prioritize a healthy, comfortable, and inclusive atmosphere for the Mundano team as well as for guests.
Owners – The Abu-Taleb brothers have a long history in Chicago’s dining scene. Together they founded LetUsCater.com, an online ordering catering service that connects consumers with over a hundred restaurants in the Chicagoland area. In 2016, they opened Mesa Urbana, a Mexican bistro in Glenview, with plans to open a second location. Diners at Mundano can expect the same thoughtful consideration and attention to detail as their other projects, but with the unique vision of Chef Ross Henke and Manager Trista Baker, they hope to provide the neighborhood with an affordable price point and a creative, explorative experience that will place this restaurant into a league of its own.
Mundano will be opening Winter 2020 and will be located at 1935 N Lincoln Park West. The restaurant will be open 7 days a week for dinner service. Extended hours for the lounge and brunch to follow in the coming months.