Rosemary and Jeans

In the heart of downtown Lombard at 116 Main St. (630 519-3747) stands an elegant white Colonial mansion, built in 1922. Known locally as The Alice Gray House, it was once home to The Lombardian newspaper. Now it has been transformed into a casual Italian restaurant owned by Matt and Tracy Nelson and named for their mothers, Rosemary and Jean. 

Rather than compromise the building’s architectural integrity, the Nelsons chose to create small, intimate dining rooms, ideal for friendly gatherings. There are three rooms on the first floor and a larger, private space upstairs and, in milder weather, al fresco dining on the deck or in the patio garden.  

With a nod to northern Italian cuisine, the food here is simple yet hearty. Pastas, fresh salads and classic Italian entrées are complemented with some American favorites. The emphasis is on locally sourced, non-processed foods prepared from scratch. Appetizers include shrimp de jonghe, calamari fritte, risotto and bruschetta. Entrées, some inspired by Tracy’s father who loved to record recipes and devise menus but never opened a restaurant of his own, are in the same spirit. Among them are Tuscan braised cod, chicken and sausage cacciatore and spicy shrimp linguine. 

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