Couple bringing city dining to Homewood’s Cottage on Dixie
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent February 6, 2013 9:28AM
Dudley and Glenna Elvery say their Cottage on Dixie restaurant in Homewood features “fresh gourmet” food. | Ginger Brashinger~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 7, 2013 6:07AM
Glenna and Dudley Elvery are self-confessed foodies, and that’s one of their “crazy” reasons for opening a restaurant in a difficult economy.
But the Elverys say the Cottage on Dixie also gives them an opportunity to indulge another of their passions: getting a little respect for the Southland.
“This is not just a restaurant. This is an experience,” Glenna Elvery said. “South Siders need this experience because, quite honestly, we’ve been taking second best from the North Side for a long time.”
Pressed to label their cuisine, the Elverys said it’s “fresh gourmet,” reflecting their intention to be local, seasonal and international.
“Fresh” can’t be denied.
An on-site greenhouse provides herbs and spices all year round, giving culinary creations a farm-to-table appeal. And a supply of fresh chicken, duck and quail eggs provided by Flossmoor resident Kevin Van Eekeren’s Fulcrum Farm in Manhattan is literally minutes away from the restaurant.
Van Eekeren said his “hobby farm” will only supply the Cottage.
Just down the road in Chicago Heights, Zarlengo Italian Ice and Gelato, a Southland staple, is creating special flavors to pair with pastry chef Molly Doren’s Cottage desserts.
Add the beverages, and things get a bit more international.
Sergio Valsecchi, a wine consultant with Winebow, promises to supply wines from small producers throughout the United States and the world who cater only to boutique and wine shops.
“We may not have the same wine twice,” Glenna Elvery said, but she added that the plan is to eventually offer about 50 varieties.
The full-service bar offers 16 craft beers as well.
The “gourmet” portion of the fine dining is orchestrated by Cory Rasco, executive chef, with the assistance of his sous chef, John Craig.
Rasco, a Matteson native, studied the art of fine food at several Chicago restaurants, including the Four Seasons Hotel and Homestead. Rasco said he, too, is ready to give Chicago restaurants a run for their money.
“We’re city food with free parking,” Rasco said.
Overseeing it all is Robert Burt, formerly with Fresh Starts in Flossmoor.
Burt said the Elverys’ “commitment to quality ... is huge.”
The Elverys kept it local in both design and construction, going “green” in the process.
Homewood natives Mike and Bill Mathys, of the Orland Park Linden Architectural Group, and South Side builder Dave DePaulo created an eco-friendly building, beginning with recycling a significant portion of the former Baker’s Square at 18849 Dixie Highway.
A water reclamation system, beeswax controlled ventilation, efficient lighting, food waste recycling program and a kitchen designed with the production and the health of the employees in mind made significant contributions to the eco-friendly environment.
“It’s not just energy-efficient,” Dudley Elvery said, “it’s customer-respectful.”
The Elverys did their part, too, incorporating the wood of two dead oak trees from their Olympia Fields yard into about 80 per cent of the restaurant’s woodwork and bar.
Attention to detail — from the huge exposed beams overhead — to the fireside lounge area adds to a comfort level enhanced by warm earth tones and natural materials.
“This is a place where you come and recharge ... and are treated like the special person you are. There’s nowhere else you’ll get treated like this,” Elvery said. “That’s why we’re different.”