Restaurant Profile: Discover a Schaumburg-area restaurant where the menu changes with the seasons, and everything is less than 475 calories. It’s unlike anything this restaurant manager has seen.
Steve Weaver has worked in the restaurant industry for 22 years, at several of Chicagoland’s top eateries. But there’s something different about Seasons 52, where he serves as managing partner.
“I’ve worked in steakhouses and seafood restaurants, but this concept is awesome,” he says. “The clients are much different. They’re extremely educated when it comes to food. They want to make changes in their lives. They want to be healthy.”
Seasons 52, 1770 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, offers a seasonally inspired menu and an award-winning wine list in a casually sophisticated atmosphere. It’s one of 22 locations in nine U.S. states; another will open in Oak Brook in May. The company was founded in Orlando, Fla., in 2003.
In 2010, the 10,000-square-foot Schaumburg location was built from the ground up, on a site once occupied by Bennigan’s, near Woodfield Mall.
Menus evolve with the four seasons. “It’s all about change,” Weaver says. “Our chefs are very talented, in all of our restaurants. In the winter, the dishes tend to be heartier, while in the summer, they’re lighter fare. Chicken is offered year round, but prepared differently throughout the year. In summer, it’s barbecue, and in the winter, it’s cabernet with wild rice. Customers appreciate the change. They can’t wait to come and try out new dishes. It’s fun to see their excitement.”
Each menu item has fewer than 475 calories, from appetizers to entrees, and there are several organic options. Popular dinners include cedar plank salmon, caramelized sea scallops, garlic chicken flatbread, grilled rack of New Zealand lamb and char crust filet mignon. Dinner entrees range from $14.95 to $26.95.
There’s also an extensive menu of weekly specials, with options like Copper River salmon, roasted golden beets with wasabi dipping sauce, and a Mediterranean lamb gyro flatbread.
“We use natural cooking techniques, such as wood-fire grilling, brick-oven cooking and vegetable caramelizing, to let the natural flavors shine through,” Weaver says. “It’s just an added benefit that our menu items are naturally lower in calories. You can indulge and still feel good about yourself and your choices.”
Being health conscious doesn’t always mean skipping dessert. Customers delight in the mini indulgences menu, which offers a flight of nine tasty miniature desserts such as key lime pie, old- fashioned carrot cake and chocolate peanut butter mousse – all served in tall shot glasses.
The wine list, developed by Master Sommelier George Miliotes, also changes seasonally and features 100 wines, 52 served by the glass.
The restaurant’s décor is warm and inviting, with rich woods, natural stone and earth colors. One guest brings clients in four times a week and then brings his family for dinner. “It’s casually sophisticated,” Weaver says. “When people come in for the first time, they just love it. The booths are especially popular. You feel like you’re in your own little world.”
Weaver credits his 100-person staff with providing excellent customer service. “The teamwork in this restaurant is genuine,” he says. “I’m proud of the fact that our staff is very knowledgeable about the wines and food. We have an atmosphere that’s conducive to anything, whether you’re celebrating a birthday or an engagement, or hosting a business meeting.”
There’s room for about 300 guests: 118 in the main dining room and 95 in the piano bar, which features live nightly entertainment. The restaurant has an exclusive chef’s table located near the front entrance, and two private dining rooms.
Seasons 52 opens daily at 11:30 a.m., closing at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. ❚