If chefs were publicly traded like stocks, John Des Rosiers would be the value buy overlooked by traders in the city because of his location. City dwellers are just beginning to discover Inovasi, his Lake Bluff restaurant where the menu is basically winged every night, to the delight of local diners who relish his facility with both high end and comfort food and the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere it’s served in. While north shore residents are excited by Wisma, his growing chain of gourmet food and beer/wine store-cafes which combine freshly-made, high quality prepared foods with a moms and ladies-who-lunch-friendly cafe atmosphere. (There are two so far, in Lake Bluff and Libertyville.) Des Rosiers had always talked about coming to the city only after establishing Wisma with multiple shops in his own area, but apparently the French Market made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Des Rosiers plans to open a slightly pared-down (so as not to compete directly with other vendors such as Pastoral) version of Wisma in the market at 131 N. Clinton after the new year; unlike most of the counter vendors at the market, Wisma will have more of a defined entrance and the feel of a distinct shop. For the French Market, which is charming and apparently does well at lunch but has failed to establish itself as the last-stop-before-getting-on-the-train destination for commuters that it envisioned, there’s obvious appeal to having a branch of Wisma, offering easy prepared foods (easier than a whole fish, certainly) to commuters who may already have some familiarity with the brand. [Eater]