Traveling nearly 8000 Miles together from the city of Chong Ching in China to Chicago, longtime friends Shawn Li, owner of TL’s Four Seasons in Bartlett, Ben Li and Wan Cai Li developed plans to open a Chinese and Japanese restaurant together. With classic Sichuan recipes collected over the years and a love for the art of sushi, they partnered with Chicago restaurateur Ed Culleeney to bring a contemporary twist to traditional flavors. On Tuesday, June 18, the trio of friends and Culleeney, known as “Ed and the 3 Li’s,” will open the doors to 8000 Miles, Chinese + Japanese restaurant on Main Street in Roselle.
The co-owners of 8000 Miles, Shawn Li and Ben Li, both met in China when they were just 19. Wan Cai Li, also an owner, was a master chef at a five-star hotel in Chong Ching and eventually moved to the U.S., where he opened Double Li restaurant in Chinatown with Ben. Shawn went on to open TL’s Four Seasons restaurant in downtown Bartlett, and also became co-owner of PL8 restaurant in Barrington with Ed Culleeney. Ed's expertise in Chinese cuisine traces to having been a partner of Lettuce Entertain You restaurants and general manager at Ben Pao. He left after 25 years to become Li’s partner in opening PL8 in 2011. Shawn introduced Ed to Ben and Wai Cai, and the four men combined their ideas, recipes and talents to create a restaurant and menu that exemplified their time studying and living immersed in Chinese and Japanese culture.
8000 Miles features a 5,000-square-foot space that will be open for both lunch and dinner with rotating chalkboard chefs’ specials. The dinner menu will be comprised of Chinese and Japanese small plates such as the Tuna Avocado Sumiso with diced big eye tuna and a sake-miso sauce, Hand Grenade with nori wrapped shrimp and spicy garlic mayo, baked atop an orange slice, and Crab Rangoon.
Five soup offerings include the hearty and spicy Chong Ching Soup and Spicy Beef Noodle Soup. Classic Plates and Signature Dishes include Szechwan specialties such as Spicy Chili Fish, Thai Basil Shrimp and Dry Stir Fried Shredded Beef along with Kung Pao Shrimp, Dried Chili Chicken and Black Peppered Garlic Beef.
Guests looking for a custom experience can talk to their server about the Sichuan written menu with off-the-menu dishes like the Spicy Boiled Beef blackened chilies, winter bamboo, mushrooms and smoked organic tofu and Cumin Scented Lamb made with leg of lamb sliced thin and wok tossed with onions, scallions, red and green bell peppers and finished with roasted cumin and chili oil.
An entire sushi menu will be available, featuring nigiri and sashimi and maki plates such as the Triple K.C. Roll with Scottish salmon, smoked salmon, crabmeat and cream cheese, wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber and drizzled with a sweet rice wine emulsion and sesame seeds.
A variety of fresh vegetable dishes – the Szechwan String Beans and noodle and rice dishes like Pineapple Chicken Cashew Fried Rice and Wide Rice Noodles – will round out the menu.
For diners with a sweet tooth, 8000 Miles will offer homemade desserts including Chocolate Banana Wontons with fresh bananas and oozing dark chocolate.
The lunch menu features a combination of rice and noodle dishes plus various appetizers and sushi from the dinner menu. A Group Share menu will be available for tables of six or more guests, which includes a sampling of each category on 8000 Miles’ menu, priced at $20 per person at dinner and $13 per person at lunch.
The restaurant offers a modern dining room that seats 150, bar, semi-private space and outdoor patio.
The bar offers an extensive Midwest wine list featuring a handful of favorites from 8000 Miles’ neighbor, Lynfred Winery. The beverage menu also highlights specialty cocktails with an Asian flair, using all domestic liquors including the Sake Sangria with Asian pear sake, Kuhl Riesling and macerated fresh fruit, Mai Tai with Ragged Mountain rum, Bacardi Black rum, fresh lime and tropical juices and Fuji-Tina made with Laird Apple Jack, Fuji apple mash, lemon and orange juices, mint and ginger. A variety of Asian beers from Japan, Thailand and China will be featured, as well as a selection of Midwest bottled microbrews.
As a part of the Roselle community, 8000 Miles plans to support a variety of local festivals and outings from the Roselle Main Street Cruise Night to the Taste of Roselle with special sushi rolls named after each event. Among special events at the restaurant will be wine dinners and tours with Lynfred Winery, plus local farm dinners.
The restaurant 8000 Miles is at 107 Main St. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 9:00 p.m. It's closed Mondays.
For more information or to make a reservation, call 630-283-0053 or visit Open Table or www.facebook.com/8000milesrestaurant.