Next Door American Eatery coming to Vernon Hills

Next Door American Eatery, to be launched by restaurateur and entrepreneur Kimbal Musk, is the most recent announced offering coming to the developing Mellody Farm project in Vernon Hills.

The restaurant will be the second in the Chicago area for Musk, the younger brother of billionaire businessman Elon Musk. His first, The Kitchen American Bistro, opened at 316 N. Clark St., overlooking the Chicago River in October 2014.

In June, Mellody Farm noted on its Facebook page that Next Door, which was "committed to serving real food, with an abundance of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free offerings", was coming soon. Musk made the official announcement late last week to coincide with groundbreaking for the new venture.

Known for its kale chips, Next Door offers a variety of starters, fresh salads, sandwiches, burgers (including a beet burger) and main plates. The Vernon Hills store is scheduled to open in spring. It will be the eighth Next Door location, joining others in Colorado, Indianapolis and Memphis, and Musk's 17 restaurants overall throughout the U.S.

Next Door joins Cafe Zupas, City BBQ, Roti, B. GOOD, Kuma's Corner, City Works Eatery & Pour House and Lazy Dog Restaurant on the menu of eateries planned for Mellody Farm, a $200 million mix of retail and luxury apartments at the northeast corner of Townline Road (Route 60) and Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21).

Developed by Regency Centers, the 268,000-square-foot retail portion will be anchored by Whole Foods, with REI, Nordstrom Rack, Home Goods, Barnes & Noble among other tenants.

Musk's The Kitchen Restaurant Group created Next Door in 2011 with the mission of making farm-to-table dining an everyday experience, according to the announcement. It is described as urban casual style serving food sourced from American farmers.

"Here at Next Door we're committed to serving real food and are dedicated to environmentally-friendly practices such as composting, wind power, eco-friendly packaging, and recycling," according to the website.

According to information provided by the company, Musk has been expanding his "real food" efforts in Chicago since 2012 when his nonprofit organization Big Green began building outdoor "learning gardens" classrooms at Chicago Public Schools.

The residential portion of the development, The Atworth at Mellody Farm, consists of 260 apartments. Leasing is ongoing and the first move-ins began last month.

Substantial road work at the busy intersection and approach roads is wrapping up. Assistant Village Manager Joe Carey said a Mellody Farm grand opening is anticipated in early October.

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Next Door American Eatery - coming to Mellody Farm in Vernon Hills - is known for kale chips. Courtesy of The Kitchen Group
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