Cecilia Lanyon & Dominic Zumpano - The Peanut Gallery
Cecilia Lanyon & Dominic Zumpano
The Peanut Gallery
Coming Soon to: 950 N. Western Ave. Suite 108 (in Westwood Center), LF
The Peanut Gallery is the latest adventure brought to you by the owners of the popular dining establishment ‘The Gallery’ in Lake Forest. The Peanut Gallery will be fast-casual with burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, ice cream, and treats for everyone.
Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce: Tell us about The Peanut Gallery and your inspiration for opening it.
Cecelia Lanyon: We’ve had The Gallery almost three years, and we have had such amazing support from the community. Our guests have become like family. We noticed they all have kids, they just don't bring them to The Gallery, because the style of dining doesn’t lean toward kids. So, we thought there was an opportunity to offer something that would be an extension of our current brand and serve our clientele in a different way. Plus, we love the idea of having a very fun and playful element to our brand. Dominic and I have a philosophy on the style of service at The Gallery that it is casual, fun-loving and personable. But at the same time, it is a more refined dining establishment. So, you don't get the ‘happy-go-lucky’ feeling that you might get from something that would appeal to kids- the way The Peanut Gallery will
Dominic Zumpano: We do the annual emerging artist show with kids from all the local schools (with the Deer Path Art League) . It's so fun to see them come in to The Gallery with their parents and look at their artwork and have a good time. That's not something that we generally get to see. So doing a space that’s more geared toward families and kids specifically was a no-brainer for us.
CL: It’s going to have a ‘diner’ feel to it with an open kitchen and counter seating. It's a small spot, so it will be intimate, but in the summertime, we’ll be using the outdoor courtyard space. We’re very excited about the location as well- the Altounian’s are doing a fantastic job renovating the building and working with local businesses in the space that will allow for fantastic synergy in Westwood square
LFLBC: What is your vision for The Peanut Gallery?
CL: A Lunch and dinner option with a focus on delivery and take out in the colder months. With the ice cream element, we see this as a dessert destination- we will also be offering party catering.
LFLBC: What is one thing you want people to know about The Peanut Gallery?
DZ: It's open for everybody and it’s going to be a relaxed place with a fun vibe. It's kind of a long space, so down the left side we're going to have faux brick paneling, and instead of trying to keep the kids from writing on the walls, we’re going to supply chalk and encourage them to write and draw on it. It will have kind of an Ed Debevic's feel where there's a little bit of a sass to it.
LFLBC: What will be your brand focus?
DZ: Our brand is really based on quality products and service. So for The Peanut Gallery, we're using top tier ice cream from a company called Chocolate Shoppe out of Madison, Wisconsin. People may be familiar with it if they ever went to Sweet Peas in Highwood—it’s the same ice cream. They are an incredible company, they have an incredible product, and they are family-owned.
CL: We got to tour their facility-- they have the original ice cream making machine called ‘Gertrude’ that they have used since they started. There's even a picture of her in the original factory.
DZ: They are a company that takes a lot of pride in their brand. So, if you're going to be selling their ice cream, they make you do a tour and go through everything at the plant and then visit one of their retail shops. They train you on how to scoop and present the ice cream. It was just an incredible experience—and we got to eat ice cream all day! The quality is there, and that's one thing we take a lot of pride in here at The Gallery. We buy high-quality ingredients, and it's going to be the same thing at The Peanut Gallery. Plus, we’ll have fun stuff like Choco Tacos and Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches and some nostalgic stuff too.
LFLBC: How will The Peanut Gallery give back to the community?
CL: We look forward to participating in the many wonderful community events hosted by the Chamber and Parks and Rec. And hopefully working with the local schools for special events--we will be available when needed. we love when people see us as a resource and ask us to participate.
DZ: Part of the reason for us doing this was the support and encouragement we have gotten from the community. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people and from some of our regulars at The Gallery, and everyone has said we should do it. We think it will be a great spot for the community. Rod Bozic is doing our plumbing and he lives across the street from Cecilia's parents. He's got four kids and he said, ‘Hey we need a spot like this for families—and we’ll be one of your regulars.’ The support and feedback from the community has really encouraged us to take the leap.
LFLBC: What other local businesses do you work with?
CL: Well, we mentioned the Altounian’s and Rod Bozik, Deer Path Art League and Artists on the Bluff. We look forward to partnerships and collaborations with other businesses and restaurants as well
LFLBC: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
CL: Dominic and I have worked separately and together in Lake Forest, and this business has been a family operation from the ground up. I grew up on Oakwood Ave. (one block away) so this is my neighborhood. We are very proud to be a part of this community, and we’re excited to bring The Peanut Gallery to Lake Forest.