Garrison deeply rooted in Wilmette
Updated: February 25, 2013 6:18AM
The setting sun streamed through the window where Rob Garrison sat in an area of The Noodle Small Plates & Market, in a spot which employees kiddingly refer to as the “living room.” Garrison, a 1982 New Trier High School graduate and a Wilmette resident since the fourth grade, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and his master’s degree from Northwestern University.
He and his wife and co-business owner Ann have two children, Teddy, a Wilmette Junior High School seventh-grader and Sammy, a Highcrest Middle School fifth grader. The Garrisons own three Wilmette restaurants, The Noodle Café, The Noodle Small Plates & Market, and Depot Nuevo, the latter of which blends Latin American sights and flavors.
Q. How do you describe the spot where you’re sitting?
A. Well, we’re sitting on a couch. We joke when we call it the living room. There are couches and chairs back here. It’s very popular with larger groups, sometimes ladies’ book clubs come and sit, it’s a comfortable place to sit and eat the small plates format of food, and drink wine and have a conversation. There’s a big circle here (so) we can all get together.
Q. So is this considered a Wilmette hot spot?
A. Well, it’s new to Wilmette. It’s exciting. We’re trying to do something a little new and different.
Q. How would you describe your tastes?
A. Well, I love food obviously. Favorite dishes? My tastes are so diverse it’s almost hard to narrow it down. We have an Italian chopped salad here that I have very frequently for lunch. The skewers and some of the little upscale flatbreads we have are absolutely fantastic. My biggest concern with food, or the thing that I seek out with food, is having really fresh and delicious food that’s well prepared, seasoned with fresh ingredients, that’s really healthy from that perspective. So much food in our society today is made in big factories with lots of preservatives in it, things that are unnatural. We’re trying to do things more from scratch, back to a much fresher perspective.
Q. Talk about your Wilmette roots.
A. I live in Wilmette and grew up in Wilmette. I’ve owned The Noodle for roughly 22 years. It’s a fabulous place. It’s an ideal childhood when you are growing up although you don’t really realize it when you are growing up. And then when you go off to college and be a young professional elsewhere. You quickly learn that Wilmette is a pretty nice place. And I moved back here to raise my family as did many of my classmates. The business I’m in, I see people around town all of the time. There are literally hundreds of my classmates that have moved back to Wilmette to raise their families.