Inside Stephanie Izard's New Chicago Restaurant

Iron Chef Stephanie Izard shows Food Network Magazine around her new Peruvian restaurant, Cabra.

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Photo By: Jim Franco

Photo By: Jim Franco

Photo By: Jim Franco

Photo By: Jim Franco

Photo By: Jim Franco

It All Started with a Trip to Peru

When Stephanie Izard was preparing to open Cabra, her new Peruvian restaurant in Chicago, she needed to do some serious research. The Iron Chef had always loved Peruvian cuisine, but she had never been to Peru. (Cabra means “goat” in Spanish; Stephanie is famous for her goat-named restaurants, including Girl & the Goat and Duck Duck Goat.) The chef headed out on a two-week all-she-could-eat trip to Lima, Cusco and Arequipa, and on her first day, she tried 27 dishes — just for lunch! “I was like, we have five other meals today; I can’t do this,” she says, laughing. She came back to the States with a menu’s worth of ideas featuring fresh fish and bright flavors, plus a few souvenirs for the restaurant, which is located on the rooftop of the new Hoxton Hotel. “No matter what the weather’s like outside, Peruvian food will make it feel sunny,” Stephanie says. Click to take a tour of the beautiful space now!

Photographs by Jim Franco

Indoor Garden

Stephanie and the design firm AvroKO made the dining room feel authentic by incorporating alpaca figurines, tassels and pom-poms. They also added greenery — and lots of it. “To create this indoor garden, we used about 20 times more plants than we thought we would!” says designer William Harris.

Lounge Seating

Because the restaurant is in a hotel, Stephanie knew she’d get all kinds of customers — some would want big dinners, others would drop by for a drink and snack. A mixed-use seating area includes dining tables and chairs as well as lounge areas furnished with custom velvet sofas, and pillows made by textile company Zak+Fox.

Waves of Turquoise

The restaurant entrance and many of the walls are painted bright blue-green (Dragonfly by Benjamin Moore) to match the bar tiles. Stephanie brought in more pops of blue with the plates and linen napkins.

Counter Service

Stephanie incorporated a ceviche bar at the front of the restaurant where guests can interact with the chefs. “I like having open kitchens so the cooks can see people enjoying the food,” Stephanie says. A Peru-inspired floral design is painted on the tile wall, too!