Proxi, the second restaurant from the acclaimed team of Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant, Sepia, will open June 13. Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman and Managing Partner Emmanuel Nony are thrilled for this project to come to fruition after years of searching for the perfect location. Housed in a former print shop right beside Sepia, the restaurant is located at the beginning on Chicago’s renowned Restaurant Row. Proxi takes guests on a ride to the world’s most culinary rich corners. Using elemental cooking techniques and pristine ingredients, the menu celebrates the bold flavors of street foods.
The menu at Proxi takes inspiration from Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s lifelong fascination with the vibrant, emphatic flavors most commonly seen in street foods. Including snacks, small plates, raw selections, entreés, and large-format dishes for the table, the restaurant’s cuisine captures the vivacity of such foods in approachable, Modern American presentations using primary cooking techniques showcased on the restaurant’s wood-fired hearth. Meat, seafood, and vegetables remain balanced throughout the menu, with dishes focusing on bold tastes, including an array of exotic ingredients, wood fire, and worldly spices. Highlights on the dinner menu include Chef Zimmerman’s inventive take on Tempura Elotes, Coal Roasted Oysters with ssamjang butter, Raw Tuna with coconut milk, lemongrass & ginger sorbet, and Wagyu Sirloin over a Thai herb salad, and roasted rice powder. In addition, Pastry Chef Sarah Mispagel unleashes her award-winning talent on Proxi’s dessert selection to offer a range of whimsical and nostalgic sweet dishes balancing familiarity with experimentation. Desserts to look forward to include an Avocado Mousse with tapioca pearls, pandan leaf, grapefruit, coco nibs, and coconut, and the Miso Pot de Crème with caramelized white chocolate, butterscotch, and banana.
Josh Relkin leads the cocktail program at Proxi, crafting a menu with an emphasis on globally influenced libations to complement the kitchen. Relkin embraces the hearth, incorporating the live fire cooking into the cocktail list, with a goal of blending familiar ingredients in an unconventional way. Cocktail highlights include the Don’t Chouette It with aperol, bubbles, blood orange & Champagne ice cubes, and the El-OTAY!, bringing Josh to the hearth to make the fire roasted corn infused in tequila, with agave, and tajin salt. Proxi also offers a selection of beers from across the world, with hopes to bring guests unfamiliar brews that they ‘ve only sipped during their travels.
The Wine program, led by Beverage Director and acclaimed Advanced Sommelier Arthur Hon, boasts a succinct, dynamic wine list that converges on a central theme to unique wines from around the world. Hon, who travels often to taste new wines and experience unfamiliar flavors, was thrilled with the challenge of creating a wine list to stand up to the kitchen’s bold, vibrant, and global flavors. Hon’s wine list will have a rotating theme, that will be changed seasonally with the menu. To start, he’s transporting guests to the Loire Valley of France to experience the wines from that region.
Developed by James Beard Award Winning design firm Meyer Davis, Proxi’s elegant, welcoming aesthetic reveals a mid-century American brasserie. The space calls out to its worldly influences while preserving existing architectural elements from Werner Printing Company, which formerly occupied the expansive restaurant. Inset with brass-framed mirrors, lightly washed wood covers the walls and rustic wood planks form the floor, though custom designed cement tiles differentiate the bar and lounge space from the dining room. A long, central leather banquette stretches out to anchor the dining room, flanked by additional tables and more leather booths along the walls. The central bar, with its stone top, leather upholstered front, and cerused wood accents, sits opposite a chef’s table donning Noir St. Laurent marble and overlooking an exhibition kitchen. Overhead, eye-catching custom light fixtures hang from the original barrel-vaulted ceiling.