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Abigail's Bistro - Highland Park

Abigail's Bistro - Highland Park
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  • Abigail's Bistro - Highland Park

    Post #1 - August 20th, 2008, 3:45 pm
    Post #1 - August 20th, 2008, 3:45 pm Post #1 - August 20th, 2008, 3:45 pm
    Any word on the opening of Abigail's Bistro in Highland Park? Doesn't look like much action is going on. Sorry if this has been asked previously.
  • Post #2 - August 20th, 2008, 7:37 pm
    Post #2 - August 20th, 2008, 7:37 pm Post #2 - August 20th, 2008, 7:37 pm
    There's definitely construction going on and the STOP WORK order has been removed.
  • Post #3 - September 30th, 2008, 11:47 am
    Post #3 - September 30th, 2008, 11:47 am Post #3 - September 30th, 2008, 11:47 am
    From today's "My Ravinia" newsletter:
    "Michael Paulsen, found sipping coffee at Java Love and pouring over blueprints, reports good news regarding his restaurant. Work has resumed and he hopes for an opening in November. The delay was due to installation of a sprinkler system, which was challenging, due to the age of the building. Unforeseen obstacles have not dampened Michael's optimism and he looks forward, as the neighborhood does, to ABIGAIL'S debut!"
  • Post #4 - October 1st, 2008, 2:29 pm
    Post #4 - October 1st, 2008, 2:29 pm Post #4 - October 1st, 2008, 2:29 pm
    New awning is also up for the last week or so
  • Post #5 - October 1st, 2008, 2:53 pm
    Post #5 - October 1st, 2008, 2:53 pm Post #5 - October 1st, 2008, 2:53 pm
    Front doors were open this morning around 7:45, but paper was still up on the windows.
  • Post #6 - October 10th, 2008, 4:05 pm
    Post #6 - October 10th, 2008, 4:05 pm Post #6 - October 10th, 2008, 4:05 pm
    I walked by Abigails and the studs for the drywall are up. The owner, Michael Paulsen, seems exicted by the opening sometime December? I am excited to see what he brings to Ravinia.
  • Post #7 - February 25th, 2009, 5:09 pm
    Post #7 - February 25th, 2009, 5:09 pm Post #7 - February 25th, 2009, 5:09 pm
    Chef Michael has been in the food industry for over 20yrs. So believe me when I tell you that the food here will be nothing short of extraordinary! It will be the best thing to happen to Ravinia. So Be patient. You'll not be disappointed, and I'm not just saying this because I'm his brother.
  • Post #8 - February 25th, 2009, 5:13 pm
    Post #8 - February 25th, 2009, 5:13 pm Post #8 - February 25th, 2009, 5:13 pm
    Hi,

    Thank you for disclosing your relationship.

    Several of us live nearby, so do keep us up to date on when it will open.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #9 - February 25th, 2009, 5:22 pm
    Post #9 - February 25th, 2009, 5:22 pm Post #9 - February 25th, 2009, 5:22 pm
    This is a quote from the owner of Abigail's published in the Ravinia neighborhood newsletter:

    "It is our wish to establish an American Bistro that can be defined by its food and cooking style in very understandable terms. We will use traditional French techniques of cooking and apply these classic methods to local and seasonal products. Keeping prices accessible will be a key focus with most plate prices in the $10-22 range.

    A sample menu would include dishes such as: duck confit salad with frisee, lolla rossa & sun dried cranberries, honey yogurt dressing; poached Maine lobster with hearts of palm & persimmon salad, blood orange vinaigrette; sheep’s milk ricotta tortellini with roasted tomatoes, butternut squash & baby spinach with sage cream sauce; fennel roasted Alaskan halibut with sweet pea risotto, smoked bacon, pea shoots & lemon; and roasted lamb loin with spiced acorn squash brussel sprouts, lardons & turnip purée. By using an assortment of smaller plates the menu will encourage sampling and sharing among guests.

    The restaurant’s focus on local and sustainable food will extend to the bar, which will feature seasonal fruit-based vodkas made in–house as well as an interesting array of local craft beers. The wine list will include more than 80 bottles of mostly domestic and new world wines, over 20 of which will be served by the glass.

    The restaurant’s interior will be comfortable and sophisticated with an elegant rusticity carried out in aged stone, rich woods, polished concrete, soft lighting and hospitable furnishings. "
  • Post #10 - February 26th, 2009, 8:29 am
    Post #10 - February 26th, 2009, 8:29 am Post #10 - February 26th, 2009, 8:29 am
    This sounds promising. Let's hope it doesn't get lost in translation--i.e., dumbed down--when serving the HP demo. D'ltria down the street is a prime example of that.
  • Post #11 - March 12th, 2009, 10:12 am
    Post #11 - March 12th, 2009, 10:12 am Post #11 - March 12th, 2009, 10:12 am
    It is almost ready to open look to see life the first of the month! :roll:
  • Post #12 - March 12th, 2009, 10:41 am
    Post #12 - March 12th, 2009, 10:41 am Post #12 - March 12th, 2009, 10:41 am
    We've been waiting a long time for those "Coming soon" signs to be replaced by "Open." Please, please, give us good food.
  • Post #13 - March 13th, 2009, 7:16 am
    Post #13 - March 13th, 2009, 7:16 am Post #13 - March 13th, 2009, 7:16 am
    I ran into the Chef/Owner Michael Paulsen at Bob's Pantry. He states "We are past third base and headed for home plate!" He mentioned that final inspections with HP officials are soon and he plans to be in the kitchen cooking soon. If all goes well they will be able to take reservations in april. He was interviewing servers/bartenders/line cooks. He mentioned his plan for outdoor dining also. I am so excited for this! Ravinia is in need for some fresh new ideas!!!
  • Post #14 - March 13th, 2009, 10:08 am
    Post #14 - March 13th, 2009, 10:08 am Post #14 - March 13th, 2009, 10:08 am
    Marija wrote:From today's "My Ravinia" newsletter:
    "Michael Paulsen, found sipping coffee at Java Love and pouring over blueprints

    Get him and his coffee cup away from those blueprints!
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #15 - March 13th, 2009, 11:32 am
    Post #15 - March 13th, 2009, 11:32 am Post #15 - March 13th, 2009, 11:32 am
    Katie, the blueprint looking was in September!
  • Post #16 - March 13th, 2009, 1:08 pm
    Post #16 - March 13th, 2009, 1:08 pm Post #16 - March 13th, 2009, 1:08 pm
    Sigh ... wasted joke.

    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/poring-over-pore-and-pour/
    http://fernham.blogspot.com/2008/10/its-raining-im-poring.html

    Off to visit the Recreational Grammarians ...
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #17 - April 1st, 2009, 7:34 pm
    Post #17 - April 1st, 2009, 7:34 pm Post #17 - April 1st, 2009, 7:34 pm
    The "Opening Soon" signs are down from the windows. There's lots of activity (and furnishings) inside. Looks like Abigail's is finally going to open.
  • Post #18 - April 1st, 2009, 8:10 pm
    Post #18 - April 1st, 2009, 8:10 pm Post #18 - April 1st, 2009, 8:10 pm
    Today's Dish has Abigail's opening on Friday.
  • Post #19 - April 3rd, 2009, 2:05 pm
    Post #19 - April 3rd, 2009, 2:05 pm Post #19 - April 3rd, 2009, 2:05 pm
    Soft opening is April 3.

    I believe opening ate next week to the public.
  • Post #20 - April 6th, 2009, 12:01 pm
    Post #20 - April 6th, 2009, 12:01 pm Post #20 - April 6th, 2009, 12:01 pm
    Meet and greets and first Soft opening went on this Weekend, everything looking great. should be open to public very soon and well worth the wait! FYI my son is also one of the Chefs working under Chef Paulson.
  • Post #21 - April 13th, 2009, 8:14 am
    Post #21 - April 13th, 2009, 8:14 am Post #21 - April 13th, 2009, 8:14 am
    Looking forward to the opening, It is my sincere hope that the owners and management are able to provide the service that is necessary for the community. No matter how talented the chef is and I know he is talented. With out catering to HP demographic success will be short lived
  • Post #22 - April 13th, 2009, 3:09 pm
    Post #22 - April 13th, 2009, 3:09 pm Post #22 - April 13th, 2009, 3:09 pm
    They're now open to the public. Was there last night for drinks and appetizers early and it looks like they had a nice walk-in crowd.
  • Post #23 - April 13th, 2009, 4:05 pm
    Post #23 - April 13th, 2009, 4:05 pm Post #23 - April 13th, 2009, 4:05 pm
    cheffreytp312 wrote:to provide the service that is necessary for the community.


    Ideally, I'd like to think this would be, given the HP context, more of an Achatz-style approach: the restaurant tells the people what's good for them....

    cheffreytp312 wrote:With out catering to HP demographic success will be short lived


    ...but that never happens in HP. I intend to get to the restaurant in the first two weeks before the menu turns to the inevitable chicken/ribs/steaks to stay afloat.

    This, more than all other things, makes me cringe when thinking of my hometown. Highland Park is a town, not an idea--except for its food, which is generally a bad idea.
  • Post #24 - April 13th, 2009, 5:34 pm
    Post #24 - April 13th, 2009, 5:34 pm Post #24 - April 13th, 2009, 5:34 pm
    chez brad wrote:Highland Park is a town, not an idea--except for its food, which is generally a bad idea.


    I agree with this statement-somewhat. We obviously don't need another Ravinia BBQ, BBQ Pit, Players or Nortons in town. However, for a town of its size HP, and Highwood, have a surprising amount of upscale/fine dining destinations incl. Carlos, Miramar, Gabriel's and Sage Grill. Add that to Prairie Grass Cafe & Bank Lane Bistro in closely adjacent suburbs and I would argue that HP compares pretty favorably to almost any suburb in the Chicago area.

    At the mid-price point, you are, sadly, right on the money
  • Post #25 - April 13th, 2009, 8:21 pm
    Post #25 - April 13th, 2009, 8:21 pm Post #25 - April 13th, 2009, 8:21 pm
    I was perhaps overly harsh in my assessment, and would agree that there a couple of viable options--Mizrahi, Gabriel's--in the area; I need to hit Licconi-ed Miramar as well.

    That being said, a casual contemporary American restaurant with a market focus and good technique is severely needed in the area. As a native son who comes up to have dinner with the folks, I'd really love an alternative that wasn't of the Ravinia, Player's, or the BBQ ilk.

    If the owner sees this, I urge him to hold out as long as he can--at least longer than the D'lltria guy did.
  • Post #26 - April 13th, 2009, 9:16 pm
    Post #26 - April 13th, 2009, 9:16 pm Post #26 - April 13th, 2009, 9:16 pm
    chezbrad wrote:a casual contemporary American restaurant with a market focus and good technique is severely needed in the area.


    If you haven't yet, check out Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook.
  • Post #27 - April 17th, 2009, 1:14 pm
    Post #27 - April 17th, 2009, 1:14 pm Post #27 - April 17th, 2009, 1:14 pm
    I've seen some posts of relatives of the chef / owner of Abigail's. A message to pass along. It seems to me that to succeed they need to handle the basics of marketing and customer service. When you Google "Abigail's Highland Park, IL," the wrong telephone number comes up. I tried whitepages.com and found no listing. I then searched Chicago Mag's recent Dining column and found a number. Then I called and called and called and no one answered the phone, which is ok so long as there is a personal message to greet you. Instead, the number rolls over to an impersonal "factory-installed" greeting (the one that comes with the voicemail service), giving you no assurance that you've actually reached the right place. Messages left on that were not returned. I then tried opentable.com, but they don't participate in that.

    Finally, I drove to the restaurant to inquire about a reservation and felt I was treated rather coldly by someone I took to be an owner or manager. I simply said that I've been trying to reach them by phone to no avail (I figured they might find that helpful to know, I didn't feel I said it rudely) and instead of a "sorry," or a "really?," I got a defensive "We've only just arrived!" I then inquired about a reservation and was told abrubtly that none are taken for after 6 p.m. My issue isn't with the policy about reservations, but with how impersonal the interaction was. Didn't get up from his chair, didn't smile, didn't say "we look forward to seeing you." I'm not a high maintenance person, don't need others to gush, just a modicum of courtesy.

    I'll give the place a try - the interior looks beautiful and the menu seems promising. But seriously, how hard is it to get a good phone listing, provide a recorded voice message, and smile or otherwise indicate you welcome someone who comes to your door inquiring about dining at your restaurant?
  • Post #28 - April 17th, 2009, 1:54 pm
    Post #28 - April 17th, 2009, 1:54 pm Post #28 - April 17th, 2009, 1:54 pm
    Hi,

    On the south side there is a bakery named Brown Sugar situated accross the street from Lem's BBQ on 75th St. At least a year ago, all internet references to this Bakery was to their old location several blocks east with an old phone number. When I needed to contact them, I got a friend to look at a picture he took of the exterior. The only phone number seen was on a neighboring business awning. I called neighboring business who walked next door with their mobile phone to give it to Brown Sugar's owner.

    I know the correct address and phone number for Brown Sugar is on LTH though I cannot say whether the errant information has been settled. Once information is wrong and multiplied all over the place, it is not an easy fix.

    I look forward to your report from Abigail's Bistro since it is merely a mile from my home. BTW - is the phone number on this thread correct? Edit - I don't see any phone number, maybe you could provide the correct one?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #29 - April 17th, 2009, 2:16 pm
    Post #29 - April 17th, 2009, 2:16 pm Post #29 - April 17th, 2009, 2:16 pm
    I believe the right number is 847-849-1009. This is the one posted in Chicago magazine. The first one that comes up in a google search seems to connect to a fax machine.
  • Post #30 - April 18th, 2009, 12:29 am
    Post #30 - April 18th, 2009, 12:29 am Post #30 - April 18th, 2009, 12:29 am
    As it is necessary to be honest in these reviews, I shall disclose my identity. I am the owner of Abigail's American Bistro. I have been following this blog since its inception almost a year ago. I appreciate all the dialogue over the past several months and we only hope we can live to your expectations. We have put much effort into our food/service/decor that we hope any future experience you have at our restaurant is an enjoyable one.
    I wish to clarify the FAX vs. phone issue. Our restaurant phone 847-849-1009. Another member stated it correctly. Inadvertently, the fax was listed as the main number. This has now circulated all over the place and we are now trying to rectify the issue. It is a much bigger issue than you think, and I hope you all can be patient with our efforts to get this corrected. Our restaurant # phone is an internet line and we are now finding out it inherent problems (voicemail)
    Lastly, to comment on the one of the reviews. I apologize for any disservice/ inconvenience you felt. In trying to open this restaurant, it has been an over-whelming task to dot every "i" and cross every "t". It is not our intent to disrespect any future patron.
    Thank you for taking interest in out dreams. We look forward to being a part of your community.

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