Jerry's opens near Corner Cooks in Winnetka

March 14, 2008 10:31:24 AM PDT
For years, Corner Cooks has been a popular private party space and cooking school in downtown Winnetka. But just a few weeks ago, the owners took over an adjacent space on the North Shor, and created Jerry's, a new dining destination with a unique approach to meals named for the owner's father.Jerry's offers a little bit of everything, with aspirations well beyond the usual fare.

"The portions are smaller. Taste a couple of different things. The prices are medium. We call it 'casual fine dining,' you know. Come as you are. Eat what you like," said Jerry's Ed Huelke.

Salads are big with the ladies-who-lunch crowd at Jerry's. The roasted beets, for example, are garnished with shards of salty parmesan and crunchy walnuts.

"We have a daily Trio. It's small bites of three different things on our menu. Today, we had a mini burger, the warm Asian chicken salad, and also the chopped salad. So, we mix it up every day. Maybe there's a piece of quiche. Maybe there's a mini burger. Maybe there's a chopped salad or a different special linguini or pasta," Huelke said.

Dinner options tend to be a little heartier, but the portions are still within reason. Fore example, crispy pulled pork is paired with black beans and rice, which is a nod to Cuban flavor combinations.

"Do you wanna have a New York strip by yourself or a big pork chop? You're more than welcome to that. Or, we can do it Jerry's way, and that means that we bring out spinach with sage butter and bread crumbs along with a duck breast with a peppercorn sauce. Everybody has a plate, everybody has a fork, and you share off of those," said Huelke.

If you've got a few people dining together, a dessert sampler is the way to go: creme brulee "spoons," do-it-yourself fondue, or even homemade cheesecake with berries. The attitude seems to be upscale ingredients and presentation in a casual suburban setting.

"We like to say just like downtown, only closer," Huelke said. "The idea is to serve people what they want. We don't want satisfied customers. We'd like to have loyal customers."

Weekends are proving to be the busy time for Jerry's. So, reservations are recommended. Weekdays, however, are wide open.


505 Chestnut St.