On September 8th2011 Wilde & Greene Restaurant + Natural Market’s grand opening took place at Westfield Old Orchard with much fanfare. Attendees included media, dignitaries from the Village of Skokie, Westfield Old Orchard and Wilde and Greene. Music, provided by several groups added to the enjoyment of nibbling appetizers and sipping drinks on the rooftop, the first at Westfield Old Orchard. The center takes on a look that is “other worldly” from the rooftop, relaxing and lovely.
As we wandered through the large open space on the main level our experience was enhance viewing the assortment of young ladies in various “green” dresses. These were models wearing dresses that were specifically created for this event by fashion design students from The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. All of the original designs incorporated the Wilde and Greene logo and were inspired by the restaurant’s approach to dining and food shopping. The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago fashion design instructors Sharon Shoji and Pam Vanderlinde oversaw the project selecting seven outstanding students to complete the designs.
Guests who visited the restaurant and market for the first time were struck by the new look. It has the feel of a marketplace, bustling and exciting. The Chicagoland area was chosen as the first place in the country for this first-of-its-kind restaurant concept because it is “one of the world's greatest cities and is known for world-renowned cuisine.” Wilde and Greene prides itself on a menu that is as culturally diverse as the city itself with an approach that caters to a multicultural audience that appreciates good food. Guests at the grand opening seemed to enjoy the food offered to them as it was visually appealing, tasted great and was very healthy, too.
Since it opened in July, I have had several opportunities to enjoy meals with friends at Wilde and Greene Restaurant and to shop at the Natural Market. There was complete agreement that was wonderful but I was especially pleased to know that nutrition is a priority at Wilde & Greene because I am vegetarian and have the opportunity of choosing healthy vegetarian options. The menu offerings are posted on black boards, one large one at the entrance and smaller ones at the various stations. These announce changes that reflect the best of local flavors as well as an array of international recipes.
Wilde & Greene Restaurant + Natural Market's Westfield Old Orchard location is the first of several restaurant and organic market concepts to open in North America, with the next location scheduled for the Eaton Centre in Toronto.
"With this trendsetting concept of fresh, onstage cooking, and the fun approach to dining out, we are looking forward to welcoming our guests, and bringing the dine-in experience at Old Orchard to the next level of innovation," says Kevin McCormack, Director of Large Format Restaurant Concepts for Natural Market Restaurants Corp., developers of the Wilde & Greene concept. "No matter what the customers' needs are, Wilde & Greene will provide an unmatched and engaging experience that focuses on the best in healthy gourmet food."
The grocery component is very important to the company. Though smaller than the restaurant side, it serves as a one-stop-food-shop, where customers have the ultimate flexibility to choose their food experience. I have enjoyed shopping there because it offers a wide range of gluten free and vegetarian items, which are important to me. The 100% organic produce is beautiful and priced to compete with comparable items at other stores. I have watched the market filling it’s shelves each time I have been there but now the large deli case was fully functioning and filled with some of the finest items in the area including fresh wild salmon from Scotland, and a range of unusual and delicious cheeses, many that I have not seen elsewhere.
I was chatting with a woman who turned out to be Diana Hunter, President of the Skokie Library Trustees. She was very enthusiastic about this new addition to her beloved city. She mentioned that she thought the young servers and greeters created a pleasant mood and an energetic atmosphere. She also thought it was a great place to bring out of town visitors
Walking into the restaurant, expect to be pleasantly greeted by one or more young persons and given a card. This card is presented when an order is placed and given to the cashier when it is time to leave. Friends of mine have been overwhelmed trying to make choices since there are 18 stations. I suggest looking at a map of the restaurant layout and a menu ahead of time. I intend to return often, to eat in, take out and purchase my gluten free items from the market. Try it-you will like it!
Wilde and Greene Restaurant + Natural Market Westfield Old Orchard
4999 Old Orchard Center
Skokie, Illinois, 60077
Main restaurant: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday - Saturday; 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday
Natural market: 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 9 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday - Saturday; 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday
Rooftop patio: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. Friday - Saturday; 12 p.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday