Light and Bright

July 2019 View more

Artisan cheese board

When husband-and-wife team Matt and Ashley Marquez bought the café and catering business Moveable Feast in 2012, they decided to tweak the name ever so slightly. As Moveable Feast & Company, they envisioned growing beyond the original location, a downtown Geneva fixture since 1999. 

And grow it has. In 2017, they opened industrial-chic event venue Company 251 in Aurora, which has since set the scene for dozens of local weddings (see “Better Together” on p. 22). Their newest venture is a full-service restaurant in downtown Wheaton (112 N. Hale St., that embodies the same fresh, farm-to-table approach to food. 

“We like to be healthy, wholesome, handmade,” Matt says. While the back half of the space is a European-style deli set-up with casual seating, the front half is a bar and dining room decorated elegantly in black and white. 

They opened the Wheaton restaurant in October of last year with the intention to serve brunch and lunch and close up shop by 7 p.m.; however, they soon had to switch gears. “We underestimated the demand for dinner,” Matt says. And so, in late December, they launched limited dinner service Thursday through Saturday to satisfy diners’ evening cravings. 


I realized one of Moveable Feast & Co.’s strong suits—their especially addictive sauces—upon the arrival of our appetizer, the fried dough balls. Though the name evokes a heavy, pizzeria-style gut-buster, these bread bites were light as air. Though it required more precision than some might be willing to invest, I achieved the most taste-bud-tingling result by balancing each of the garnishes—wisps of purple pickled onion, cherry tomato slivers and grated Parmesan—atop each tiny dough bite before dunking it in the accompanying sauce: a terrifically tangy lemon aioli. 

Putting a burger on the menu when you’re steps away from a burger joint may be a bit gutsy, but the treatment here isn’t like anything you’ll find next door. A patty made from beef ground in-house arrives stacked with a slab of salty Halloumi, thin slices of cucumber, tender roasted tomato, and pickled fennel dressed with preserved lemon. Savory black garlic aioli slathers the burger, while an awesome artichoke aioli accompanies the fries. 

Speaking of saucy, the cocktails here are also worth your attention. There’s a bit of sticker shock (many are $15), but boutique spirits, freshly squeezed juices, and funky ingredients justify the price. For example, the Zanahorita is the restaurant’s take on a margarita made with freshly juiced carrot (zanahoria in Spanish) and smoky Banhez Espadin mezcal; the Hammersmith features Basil Hayden’s bourbon, absinthe, and tobacco bitters, all poured over an ice sphere and garnished with smoldering rosemary. “It’s the fresh version of a campfire,” Matt says. 


For those with dietary restrictions, dining out can often feel like a game of 20 Questions. The menu here removes the guesswork with plentiful vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. 

Stumptown coffee bar

One such item is a fresher, lighter take on a Friday fish fry: thick cuts of wild-caught walleye with a crispy panko-almond crust, served with grilled zucchini and green beans, along with golden beet tartar sauce and fries dusted with malt vinegar powder. The dish debuted during Lent, but thanks to popular demand, it will stick around all summer. Other options include grilled chicken lettuce wraps with sesame aioli and daikon radish slaw (dairy-free and available vegetarian) and salmon seasoned with urfa, a Turkish chile pepper (gluten- and dairy-free).

Hemp seed waffles

The only disappointment during my visit was that the ice cream
machine promising vegan soft-serve was on the fritz (my server compared their level of frustration to the printer scene in Office Space). 

Perhaps that’s just enough reason to return, along with the promise of doughnuts—including vegan and gluten-free options—making their debut
as of press time.