NORTHBROOK — Home cooking has multiple meanings for Northbrook’s Steve Chiappetti.
It has to do with style.
It has to do atmosphere.
It has to do with the customers.
After 29 years creating restaurants for others and a lifetime in the kitchen, Chiappetti opened Drumstix Market in downtown Northbrook in November so he can cook farm-fresh comfort food for his friends and neighbors.
“I’m a cook,” said Chiappetti. “That’s what I do for a living. This (restaurant) is a farm-to-table story. We go to the farm for the source and use old family recipes.”
One of the family recipes comes from Chiappetti’s mother. It is fried chicken but prepared in a healthy way. His mother is of Alsatian descent and the style is French. It’s cooked in court bullion and then fried.
“We fry it no more than three or four minutes,” said Chiappetti. “It’s really hot, juicy chicken. We don’t let it sit in a deep fryer for 20 to 30 minutes letting it cook.”
North Shore residents have been getting a taste of Chiappetti’s cooking anytime they head to the farmers market at Elawa Farm in Lake Forest or attend a private event there. He has been the resident chef there for the past two years.
Though the name gives the impression Drumstix specializes in chicken, there is more to the menu. Along with fried chicken served in an assortment of sizes, a chicken sandwich and chicken tacos, the eatery offers pork and beef including a half-pound Black Angus burger.
“You can’t do without a burger and chicken,” Chiappetti. There are assortments of cheeses to go on top including bleu cheese.
The season will also dictate some of what is on the menu. “Lamb will be a big dish in the (spring) and summer,” said Chiappetti. “The season dictates a lot of things.”
Lamb and veal have been part of the Chiappetti family tradition since 1927, when his grandfather started Chiappetti Meat Co. in Chicago’s Union Stockyards. He said his cousins still run that business and they are his local source for lamb.
One way to know spring is near will be when asparagus, mushrooms and sweat peas start replacing cauliflower and brussels sprouts on the menu, according to Chiappetti.
Chiappetti has a partner in his business — Leslie Chiappetti, his wife. They have spent their careers in the food-service business. Her specialty is baking and she is responsible for the fresh desserts, which appear on the menu each day.
Leslie Chiappetti has already started baking chocolate fudge cake and cheesecake. Soon fresh pie will be offered on a daily basis. She said that one day it could be apple and another pecan. There will also be a chocolate chess, which is essentially a brownie pie.
There is also a reason the business is called Drumstix Market. Along with sitting at a table for a meal or ordering one to take home — that is 50 percent of the business, according to Steve Chiappetti — there is a market offering cheese, jam, honey, spices and more. Local is a key there too.
“None of the ingredients in the spices are imported,” said Chiappetti referring to his private-label brand. “They are all American spices. There is very little salt and it’s sea salt.”
Drumstix is open for dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays. It is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Drumstix Market is located at 1363 Shermer Road in Northbrook. Phone: 224-723-5467. http://www.drumstix.market/#modern-organic-thai.