Stepbrothers to open Calzone and Macaroni Co. in Vernon Hills
Calzone and Macaroni Co. Co-owner Geoff Levin celebrates getting promotional t-shirts for the restaurant with daughter Olivia. | Photo courtesy of Geoff Levin
Updated: May 13, 2013 2:11AM
VERNON HILLS — Macaroni and cheese lovers will soon have a Vernon Hills outlet for their cravings.
Nic Lindsey is the chef and general manager of Mundelein’s Park Street Restaurant, but he will be leaving to open a family-owned restaurant in Vernon Hills, which will specialize in calzones and macaroni dishes.
The aptly-named Calzone and Macaroni Co. will open in mid-April in the Hawthorn Commons shopping center, located along Townline Road near Lakeview Parkway.
The custom recipes and option for gluten free food is what Lindsey said will make the restaurant unique. A salad bar will also be available for healthy eating.
“Calzones are quickly becoming one of our most ordered items at Park Street Restaurant,” Lindsey said. “They’re becoming popular everywhere but our new restaurant will be the authority on them.”
Layouts have been reconfigured so the brick oven would be behind a counter and visible to customers. Lindsey said patrons enjoy watching their food cook.
The restaurant would seat 40-to-50 people inside and approximately 12 more on a patio. Lindsey said he plans to make his restaurant a “hang out” place for teenagers and shopping families.
“I grew up in Lake Bluff, live in Libertyville and work in Mundelein,” Lindsey said. “Throughout that time, I realized Vernon Hills is the epicenter where people go and spend their free time.”
Lindsey and co-owner Geoff Levin are working toward hosting high school functions at the restaurant once it opens.
Levin is the chief of medical psychiatry at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. He does not have hospitality background but wanted an investment to manage.
Originally, Levin had bought the building — formerly Tajine Casablanca — and wanted to start a pizza restaurant. The two men are stepbrothers and Levin called Lindsey for advice on converting the building. As they talked business, Lindsey revealed a long-lived idea for a calzone and macaroni restaurant.
Levin immediately decided against a pizza joint in favor of Lindsey’s plan.
“The first thing he had to do was cook for me,” Levin said. “I was blown away. I have to trust him because his food is what will make or break us, and I have no doubts in my mind. He has management experience that supports his cooking talent.”
Levin is already considering where a second restaurant might open.
“I can see this being a franchise,” Levin said. “Every step of the way, I’ve been able to picture my kids and Nic’s kids working here. I would be overjoyed if this became a family legacy.”