Four siblings open Seasoned family restaurant

Four Bannockburn siblings who grew up in the restaurant business washing dishes and working in the back kitchen as teens have banded together to open their own family restaurant, Seasoned, in Lake Forest.

The new eatery serves lunch and dinner, mostly Italian with a bit of French and Japanese influence, at 840 S. Waukegan Road. It’s located just across the street from Sushi Kushi, a restaurant their father Seiji Suzuki started more than 20 years ago and later sold, where the Suzuki siblings cut their teeth in the restaurant business.

Though they never intended to open their own restaurant together, the four younger Suzukis eventually realized they could combine their skills to create the new family venue.

“We just kind of grew into it,” said Brandon Suzuki, 31. “We all rotated through the system and got a good sense of working in the restaurant business and of customer service.”

Brett Suzuki, 34, the eldest of the four, recently graduated from the International Culinary Center in New York and sparked the idea for the restaurant. He serves as chef along with a head chef from Kyoto, Japan.

“We’re combining our different techniques together to make Italian food and make French food using his Japanese techniques and French techniques I learned,” Brett said.

The idea is not to change the classic dishes, but to enhance them.

“We want to make it more flavorful,” Brett said.

Brother Brook Suzuki, 26, is a designer with a flair for putting together prosciutto, bruschetta, appetizers and salads — the more technical cold dishes — in his role as chef’s assistant.

Brandon Suzuki, 31, has made his place in the back of the house working as general manager and part owner.

“I’m the finance guy,” he said.

Brandon also takes care of all the hiring.

Sister Brittany Suzuki, 23, is the hostess, working the front desk and supplying that all-important first impression and setting the stage for the whole dining experience.

“We’re really detailed in what we’re doing,” Brett said.

That goes for the food and the restaurant’s interior, with open kitchen, full bar, colorful touches and cozy outdoor patio.

Signature dishes at Seasoned run the gamut of pasta specialties, including spaghetti Bolognese, fettuccini carbonara and aglio e olio peperoncino (pasta with olive oil, garlic and chili flakes) as well as entrees from the grill, such as steaks, salmon and chicken, and pot-roasted stews.

A wide selection of appetizers and desserts provides a great start and a great end to a meal.

There are even separate children’s items in this family-oriented dining establishment.

Staying local is important at Seasoned, which offers a full selection of wines from Lake Bluff-based Terlato and fresh produce from Amidei Mercatino in Lake Forest.

“I go there almost every morning,” Brett said. “We want to change our menu accordingly to what’s fresh in the vegetable market so we utilize the freshest ingredients we possibly can.”

Family matters on many levels at Seasoned.

“We’re a close family and Lake Forest is a family-oriented community,” Brittany said.

Creating a family restaurant together as a family is a unique combination in Lake Forest, the Suzukis believe, and something that will set them apart from other local eateries.

“We put our skills together to strengthen and grow as a family,” Brittany said. “And we serve delicious food.”

Seasoned Restaurant & Wine

Where: 840 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m Tuesday-Friday; 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 5-9 p.m. Sunday

847-234-8797

www.seasonedlf.com

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