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Family Selling Lovell’s of Lake Forest

Plans to open a small, more casual Highwood restaurant are moving forward still.

Jay and Darice Lovell are selling their Lake Forest restaurant, along with the Waukegan Road mansion that houses it and the land it sits on, according to an article in the Lake Forester. 

The couple have owned it since they bought it from Jay's dad, astronaut Capt. James Lovell eight years ago. The family has owned the 17,000-square-foot building since 1999, the article states.

The Lovells are still moving ahead with plans to open a smaller, more casual eatery in Highwood this spring.

The Lovells will bring the hamburger, pulled pork and Reuben sandwiches to Highwood and incorporate a southern flair as well,according to a story in Forest & Bluff Magazine. Some of the homemade dishes will include comfort food like chicken meat loaf and smoked brisket.

Lovell's of Lake Forest is a more upscale restaurant, which has won Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence several times.

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Rich M February 08, 2014 at 11:15 AM
There is a place near HP that does use real wood, smokes their meat, and you don't even need sauce to enjoy. TK's Smoke Pit in Glenview on Pfingsten and Willow. Check it out. Not the most inviting space, kind of dark, but the meat is great. The smoke will hit you as soon as you enter! Real Urban BBQ is none of those things. It's certainly not real - they use a pellet smoker instead of wood, ever notice that without sauce all of their meat is smokeless, devoid of flavor and needs a ton of sauce? It's not urban - it's in HP and Vernon Hills. And it's not BBQ - it's an imitation of it. But there is a place near HP that does use real wood, smokes their meat, and you don't need sauce to enjoy. Buffo's thin crust is ok, props to them for their own recipe all these years. Barnaby's of Northbrook is the gold standard of the North Shore for most of us. Hackney's to most is greasy crap. But I still love it! Walker Bros is still the king of breakfast (anytime of day!).
AK February 08, 2014 at 12:14 PM
http://leec.reapplications.com/filecabinet/Trans/052186/Lovell's%20Brochure%20small.pdf Has been listed for 4 months now and not really the "new" news, nice sales brochure, price is subject to offer, RE taxes = 64K+ and will jump higher shortly. The strange Highwood location and the new name signal the owner is clearly talking to the space aliens. But you know, almost all of them do. Nice comments about North Shore's retarded taste buds and... may I add mostly retarded offerings, while buds could be fixed up easily. Conclusion: North Shore represents quite unique entry opportunity for the right food business to enter as competition is weak. I have a feeling, all of you are very smart and know how to do it. Please, come back and let me know if we can discuss it further "off patch".
Mosaic53 February 08, 2014 at 02:55 PM
Without getting into a verbal volleyball match, it is none of our business why Lovell's is selling their restaurant & property. It is a business decision & they are entitled to their privacy. We have dined there several times over the past 6 months. We like the cuisine, the staff & the atmosphere. We did notice that each time we were there (weeknight & weekend) the dining room was sparsely filled. It doesn't take a business analyst to surmise patronage is down. We like the dining experience & are willing to pay the price. However, take a family of 4 or more there regularly & that's a hefty dinner ticket. Is it still the kind of establishment that people patronize regularly or has it turned into a Special Occasion restaurant? The Lovells own the restaurant business, the building & property. I cannot imagine the revenue that must be generated in order to support all 3. The reality is the business has changed. In Chicago, Charlie Trotter's has closed , while Alinea thrives. The demand for upscale or fine dining, in the suburbs, has shrunken as witnessed by the retooling of both Carlos (now Nieto's) & Gabriel's (now Miramar). The restaurant business is grueling. The hours suck & the pay is low unless you're the owner. If you're the owner, you're never home with your family. I cannot imagine anyone would want that life unless they were passionate about it & Patch readers aren't in a position to critique unless they have been in the business themselves. If the new Lovell concept is good, people will come regardless of its location. I wish them much success & am anxious to give it a try.
Benny G. February 08, 2014 at 03:40 PM
The Lovells are obviously selling because they got sick and tired of all the profit they were bringing in...LOL
Me February 08, 2014 at 05:20 PM
@Benny - I think you may be the only one LOLing about your lame comment.
Benny G. February 08, 2014 at 05:45 PM
I thought it was creative. I don't think "lame" is the right word. The idiots wondering why they closed spurred it on. If your agenda is to support the Lovells I understand. No worries.
David Greenberg February 08, 2014 at 06:19 PM
I'm intimately familiar with restaurant operations - very rough business, very long hours - if you're not making the money you want, you move into something else. Nothing to be ashamed of - it's "just business". As for elitism - I have to say "so what"? If someone has certain standards, they happen to be high, and aren't shared by everyone else - what's the big deal? One person likes their food a particular way, one person doesn't. Each is willing to pay for what they want, and patronize the restaurant that suits their needs. Some people can afford a restaurant, some can't - again, so what of it? Some people can afford a Maybach, some can't - but vehicles are available at multiple price points, just as are restaurants. In my view, someone calling someone else 'elitist' is either being obstinate and claiming that everyone should share their views, or is being jealous of the other person because they can't afford what the other person has, but that's not the other person's problem.
Walter White February 08, 2014 at 07:06 PM
Is there anything you aren't intimately familiar with? Multi-billion dollar businesses and now restaurant operations? Quite impressive.
Benny G. February 08, 2014 at 07:14 PM
Bernard is not intimate with Froggys----What a dive for so many years...
David Greenberg February 08, 2014 at 07:47 PM
Walter: Thank you, I've been fortunate to have a great number of experiences throughout my life.
Walter White February 08, 2014 at 07:48 PM
Some of them actually happened.
Cathy February 08, 2014 at 07:58 PM
Bummer! One of my favorites!! I love love this place and the mansion it's in. What will happen to all of the artwork and collectible moon items.
David Greenberg February 08, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Walter: All of them actually happened.
rb February 09, 2014 at 01:12 PM
I wonder why the restaurant is closing? I've heard the food is out of this world!
Bernard Johnson February 09, 2014 at 02:06 PM
As I shared in my earlier post {regarding the closure and sale of Lovell's}: "Unfortunate - for the North Shore, but, hopefully, it will assist the family in reaching their personal goals." That being reiterated, as for Urban BBQ, I appreciate the input of those who posted about their use of 'pellets' and/or 'liquid-smoke' and I'll check out both TK's and Hillery's. If you're ever in Aimes, Iowa, try the Hickory Park Restaurant Company's ribs [Google 'em]. Though this establishment is very busy [it is so for good reasons] and there can be significant waits - particularly on football weekends at Iowa State, it's well worth the wait. They use Baby Loin Back Pork Ribs and are truly BBQ'd. They use a light tomato-based wash duing the smoking and no rub. Their ribs are so... flavorful, moist and tender - with a beautiful, pink smoke-ring and bark, that you don't need [nor really want] to use any sauce [though they do provide one - all be it unnecessary and too sweet for my tastes though]. But, back to local dinning options. How Judy's ["pizza"] stays in business is anyone's guess [cardboard with some tasteless tomato-sauce]. Il Forno's does a nice thin-crust [their sausage - like that at Buffo's, has fennel and that makes a real difference]. Of course, neither are Pat's [formerly on Sheffield and then/now located on Lincoln Avenue at Shubert]. Neither Biaggi's or Rose Bud approach the offerings of Sabatino's on Irving Park Road in the city, nor for the value of Sabatino's for that matter either. Alas, the Como Inn closed their doors some years back. Charlie Trotter's was... remarkable; though I preferred the initial options of ordering your meal ala carte - as opposed to the later fixed menu offerings. He was a true pioneer and he - along with Jean Banchet earlier {at La Francais}, put Chicago and Chicago area of the American fine-dinning map. If you're ever able to dine at the French Laundry [in Yountville, CA] - do so; it's a distinct culinary experience and Thomas Keller is... a genious. In conclusion, if you want bona fide / true Chinese cuisine [of any of the major culinary provinces of Hunan or Sichuan, or Cantonese], you either have to go to Ping's or into the city. I was recently served a pork-shank {rather than veal} at Biaggio's in what they called 'Osso Bucco' on their menu. It's veal, or - perhaps/rarely, beef, but, I've never been presented with a pork-shank before. Sure, a pork shank's far cheaper than veal, but... you'd simply never be served a pork-shank in this dish Milan. As for Thai-food, those of us who remember Arun's when he opened in the basement on Irving Park Road in 1985 {in a basement - with six tables and BYOB}, his well earned success brought him to his current location on Kedzie Avenue. There can be no question that Arun's is the finest offering of Thai cuisine in the Midwest, if not in the country. Alas, the menu at Arun's also... morphed into a price-fix format [to the dismay of those of us who'd prefer ala carte]; however, you won't go wrong with anything this master-chef chooses to present. If you require non-grinoized Mexican offerings you're still better off heading into the city; La Pasada, Azteca De Oro, the Fontera Grill and Topolabompo readily come to mind [though Taco's El Norte in Highwood provide a more proximitally viable offering within reach]. And so forth and so on - seek and you shall find/be rewarded {at least some of the time}. Cafe Marbella - for Tapas, is a hidden gem [BYOB] - they'll even take your wine and make it into a Sangria for you. Cafe Laguardia for Cuban food [their black bean soup and pork offerings are delicious, as is their 'Cuban' coffee]. Bon appetite.
Walter White February 09, 2014 at 04:08 PM
Regardless of what food snobs and people who are "intimately familiar with restaurant operations" say, good food is the food that makes you happy. You like Italian Kitchen, I think it's about as bland as food can be. You hate RUB, I love it and don't care that it's not "authentic." So whatever you like, enjoy it regardless of what people "in the know" have to say.
AK February 09, 2014 at 05:10 PM
@ Bernard Johnson, you are really a fan of food writings, aren't you? To help you out with answering questions like why is this and why is that: Jay Lovell and Ben Brittsan: they both communicate with space aliens in a way we will never understand. Speaking of BBQ: most local customers don't really care whether it is pellet or wood, but from the business perspective BBQ in general is not really a growing food category, even less so in the North Shore area. RUB idea specifically was a combination of Chipotle and Boston Market model. So, they cook it in advance without really knowing how much they can sell, while trying to serve it via assembly line. The lead service time is extremely important for volume oriented stores, so do not try to compare apples and oranges. Judy's is surviving because it must have some school lunch contracts. Hope it helps.
Bernard Johnson February 09, 2014 at 08:42 PM
AK, 'hope they're not serving Judy's to school-kids; 'a [palette] is a terrible thing to waste.' Perhaps though it harkens back to the Reagan-administration that said - point blank, that ketchup is a vegetable; ketchup, Judy's 'pizza'-sauce: six of one..,; though I think I'd prefer the former to the latter.
Rich M February 09, 2014 at 09:02 PM
@Walter White. You "love it and don't care if it's not authentic." The only answer to that is you haven't had real BBQ. I used to think Real Urban aka RUB must be BBQ. Then I tried other places and RUB is pretty average by comparison. I bet you are one of those people who has to put sauce on everything too (even BEFORE they try the meat!!!). BBQ shouldn't need sauce because of the smoke ring and the flavor in the MEAT. RUB doesn't do that, you have to use their sauces. Admittedly their sauces are not bad especially the Texas Roadhouse (a copycat of Famous Dave's Texas Pit) and their Carolina Vinegar which most North Shore people are too scared of. I don't hate RUB, it's still ok in a pinch, but you better wake up and try some real BBQ sometime! Go to TK's in Glenview or Smoque on Pulaski near Irving Park. The brisket there has fat that is so rendered down, it's liquified.
Walter White February 09, 2014 at 09:44 PM
Wow thanks guess what I still like it.
Jon Hall February 09, 2014 at 11:21 PM
Salt Lick, Driftwood, Texas. Jack's Stack or Arthur Bryant's in KC. Go there, then talk to me about good BBQ and great sauces. Until then, you're all pounding sand and kidding yourselves. Smoking T's in Long Grove is about as good as to be found in these parts, but it has a long way to go. Nothing in Chicago compares to what I turn out from my $69 Brinkman electric smoker on my patio. Oak. No hickory. No mesquite.
Benny G. February 10, 2014 at 09:33 AM
Lovells is closing because they got sick and tired of raking in all those profits, obviously.
Jon Hall February 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM
And not surprising for Chicago, oak chunks (not chips) for smoking are all but impossible to find in any stores around here. Not surprising most of you don't know squat about smoking meats or fish (alder).
Gary February 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM
Why is it that connoisseurs with self-proclaimed refined taste, always find it necessary to put down those who know less than they do about their particular area of expertise?
Benny G. February 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM
Gary, it's a self esteem booster.
Me February 10, 2014 at 04:42 PM
Benny thought he was so funny that he needed to repeat his "joke". Sorry Benny, no funnier the second time around either.
Benny G. February 10, 2014 at 10:14 PM
Me, it was not a joke, dummy.
Me February 11, 2014 at 05:26 AM
[Gasp] Really?!?!?!?
AK February 11, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Me, tell me the truth... do you want to talk about barbecue with aliens?
Bernard Johnson February 13, 2014 at 08:46 PM
Arthur Bryant's in KC is fantastic and I enirely agree with Jon Hall about using alder wood for fish. BBQ'g salmon using alder is, well - simply outstanding / there's nothing else like it. You can find alder in some places on the North Shore [Mutual True Value on Route 22 has a very good BBQ supplies section]. BBQ'g is really pretty straight forward, you can do it on a Weber-kettle. Build up your heat source on one side of the kettle and place your meat {or fish} on the opposite side. Using one of the grill-surfaces that's hinged on both ends will allow you to add more charcoal and/or wood during the smoking process. The rule of thumb is 'low and slow', as in low heat and slowly. 225 / 235 degrees and for as long as he protein needs to be cooked to get its internal temperature right. Depending on the thickness of the cut [whether it be pork, beef, fowl or fish], the thicker the cut - the longer the process. Adding a foil disposable dish of water on the base of the kettle between the meat and the heat source can help keep the protein moist during smoking; of course, using a wash during the smoking process helps too - but, don't wash {or 'mop'} too often and do so without any sugar. If you add sugar or such like during the cooking process it's likely to burn and that's not one of the dominant flavors you want.

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