In this week’s episode, Laura is joined by owner Chef Jennifer Kim and General Manager Tegan Brace of Passerotto, which opened its doors in May at 5420 N Clark. The Chicago Tribune called Passerotto “a culinary love letter to growing up Korean-American” and having grown-up eating spaghetti with kimchi with her brother, Chef Jennifer brings fun Korean fare to Andersonville.
“I just remember feeling there was something particular and very personal about Andersonville.”
– Chef Jennifer Kim
Listen to Episode 15 with Passerotto!
Here are some references from Episode 15 that you may want to check out:
- Owning restaurants and cooking is newer path for Chef Jennifer, as she was originally in Pharmacy school and was really intrigued with how things worked and why things happen. She then realized that cooking had a similar effect.
- Passerotto means “little sparrow” in Italian and is a nickname given to Jennifer by her father. Because her food has an emotional connection she wanted the name to reflect that as well. Learn more about the restaurant’s concept here.
- Being in the neighborhood, walking around, and seeing what it is physically about is what helped convince Chef Jennifer to take over the old Brixton space.
“We put the neighborhood first….we are creating a community and a home.”
– Tegan Brace
- Tegan is also an artist. View her work here.
- The restaurant is very personal to both Chef Jennifer and Tegan, and they wanted to be able to express that in every way, including the selected artwork. The design and painting in the exposed brick interior was done by Chef Jennifer and Tegan, and they selected artwork by local Chicago artists including two large works by John Paul Morabito. There are also Monmon Cat prints and Japanese prints on silk paper by tattoo artist Mike Dorsey.
- As a first generation Korean American, Korean food was Chef Jennifer’s anchor, yet there was a comforting quality that Chef Jennifer got from Italian food, particularly down on Taylor Street, Chicago’s Little Italy. Once she got into cooking professionally, she realized the similarities between Italian food and culture and Korean.
- Passerotto is 100% a Korean restaurant, although it does have influences from Italy. She hopes that the menu reflects the experiences that she, her staff, and her customers have experienced and she is excited to see how that changes in real time. The menu will continue to change, but you can view the current menu here.
- The neighborhood favorite on the menu thus far is the KALBI, which is the glazed short ribs.
- Tegan is in charge of the wine list for Passerotto. Normally, Korean food is paired with beer, but pairing wine and other selections with the menu items is something special that Tegan has cultivated. She tries to pull selections from similar regions as the food to create an unexpected combination. View the drink menu here.
- At first, Chef Jennifer’s parents were a little hesitant to her idea of opening a Korean restaurant, but now they are opening up to it upon realizing how popular Korean food is in Chicago. Chicago diners are very adventurous and open to new things, which makes it a great time and place to open up this kind of restaurant.
- Chef Jennifer loves David Bowie and even purchased art from Transistor (5224 N. Clark)! She’d also choose to change places with Bobby at Lost Larson (5318 N. Clark) for a day, and Tegan would change places with anyone at Simon’s Tavern (5210 N. Clark). They also love In Fine Spirits (5418 N. Clark ) and consider Jarran and his team phenomenal neighbors and collaborators.