While various publications in recents months have spotlit the suburbs as the next frontier, this isn’t anything new for Amy Morton. Since opening Found in 2012 in Evanston, Morton has debuted two more suburban restaurants: The Barn Steakhouse in Evanston and Stolp Island Social in Aurora. But it’s time to say goodbye to her eldest baby. After 10 years, Morton says she’ll close Found on Sunday, October 2 as her lease expires with developers set to demolish the building.
Though a few top-flight restaurants, most notably Trio, called Evanston home, the city is still a college town and much of the food catered to Wildcat Nation. But Found — with its chic city vibes, anchored by a rustic feel, small plates, and eclectic drinks — disrupted that 10 years ago. The menu was New American made with ingredients from respected vendors like Slagel Family Farm.
“Found really became a meeting ground between the city and the rest of the northern suburbs,” Morton says.
Daughter of Morton’s Steakhouse founder Arnie Morton, Amy Morton originally intended Found to open in Chicago. Now gifted by hindsight, she reflects saying she doesn’t know if the restaurant would be successful in the city or would have enjoyed as long of a run. Nevertheless, Morton says running an Evanston restaurant allowed her to see her daughters — now both college aged — more: “I don’t think I would have been happy,” Morton says of opening a Chicago restaurant.
Morton’s faith and success in the suburbs, she says, helped convince other restaurants to invest outside of Chicago. Prior to the last five years, when she’s seen an “explosion up and down the North Shore,” Morton says restaurateurs were afraid of opening suburban restaurants. Morton’s success, she says, proves those fears were overrated.
While she’s not yet ready to make an announcement, Morton does have plans for a new project, one that will hopefully allow her to employ some of Found’s workers. She’s not opening a food hall, that’s her brother’s (David Morton of DMK Restaurants) game: “I’m more of a one-on-one person,” she says.
Whatever the future holds, Morton says she’s proud of Found, and looks forward to her next chapter.
“I just have the deepest gratitude for my team who made Found what is,” she says. “And everybody who has been there from the beginning until now — I’ve been really, really lucky.”
Loyal fans have two months to say their goodbyes in Evanston as Found closes October 2.