WICKER PARK — In the vast sea of islands that comprise the Philippines, small, narrow Cebu is known for its sandy beaches, limestone plateaus and rugged mountains.
A far cry from the flat, windy terrain of Chicago. The Tan family hopes locals will venture to CEBU, a new Filipino restaurant in the heart of Wicker Park inspired by the siblings’ childhoods in the Philippines.
CEBU brings traditional dishes, rooted in Filipino culture with dashes of Chinese-Spanish influence. These dishes “personify the pride” the siblings have in their culture, Marlon Tan said.
“We’re thrilled to share them with such a great chef-driven city,” he said.
CEBU opens at 5 p.m. Thursday at 2211 W. North Ave. — reviving a space previously left dormant by Americano 2211 and Birchwood Kitchen.
The Tan siblings were born in the Philippines, but each of began traveling at a young age, according to biographies posted at CEBU’s website.
They chose Wicker Park as the location for their first restaurant because they wanted to be in the “heart” of Chicago, Marlon Tan said.
Tan studied business in England and in San Francisco. After a few years working in an office in the Bay Area, Marlon packed his bags for Chicago, where he was joined by brother Malvin Cydric Tan and sister Cybill Marie Tan.
Malvin Cydric Tan is a trained chef with degrees from the International Culinary Center as well as Le Cordon Bleu of San Jose. At CEBU, he’ll bring “his passion for island cooking and regional Filipino cuisine to the hungry humans of the Windy City.”
Take his lumpia, for example: Filipino egg rolls stuffed with pork and vegetables.
Or try the Kinilaw: Filipino ceviche made from tune, shallots, red bell pepper, tomato, ginger, coconut milk, cane vinegar and Kalamansi.
Cybill Marie Tan studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu of San Francisco.
She’ll be crafting traditional Filipino desserts at CEBU, such as halo-halo, which means “mix-mix”: layers of shaved ice, a mix of tropical Philippine flavors and Ube ice cream.
Now a resident of Logan Square, Tan said she has a self-proclaimed fondness for “old lady activities” — knitting, crocheting and good books — but also enjoys boxing at a local gym.
The restaurant will be open from 5-10:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4:30-9:30 p.m. on Sunday. CEBU will be closed on Mondays.
Once spring rolls around, CEBU will take advantage of the site’s back patio. Until then, the restaurant will seat 46 in the dining room and eight at the bar.
Check the restaurant’s website for information on reservations.
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