Traveling nearly 8000 Miles together from the city of Chong Ching, China to Chicago, long-time friends Shawn Li (TL’s Four Seasons in Bartlett), Ben Li and Wan Cai Li (formerly with Double Li in Chinatown) developed plans to open a Chinese and Japanese restaurant together when they arrived in the US. With an endless list of classic Sichuan recipes collected over the years and a love for the art of sushi, the Li’s partnered up with Chicago resident and restaurateur, Ed Culleeney (formerly with Ben Pao in River North and PL8 in Barrington), to bring bona fide traditional flavors with a contemporary twist to the city they originated in when they arrived in America, Chicago. On June 18, the Li’s 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 years old. Wan Cai Li, also an owner, was a master chef at a five-star hotel in Chong Ching and eventually moved to the US 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 comes with a vast knowledge of Chinese cuisine having been a Partner of Lettuce Entertain You restaurants and General Manager at Ben Pao and 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 gentlemen compiled their infinite ideas, recipes and talents together to create a restaurant and menu that exemplified their time studying and living Chinese and Japanese culture.
8000 Miles is what they call their 5,000 square foot creation, soon 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 will warm patrons’ souls with the hearty yet 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 authentic gems 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 fresh nigiri and sashimi and unique maki plates like 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 vast variety of fresh vegetable dishes like the Szechwan String Beans and noodle and rice dishes like Pineapple Chicken Cashew Fried Rice and Wide Rice Noodles will also round out the menu.
For diners with a sweet tooth, 8000 Miles will offer a select menu of homemade desserts including Chocolate Banana Wontons with fresh bananas and oozing dark chocolate. The lunch menu, beginning June 12, will feature a combination of rice and noodle dishes plus various appetizers and sushi from the dinner menu. A Group Share menu will also 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.
Patrons of 8000 Miles can enjoy the beautiful industrial yet modern dining room, bar, semi-private space and outdoor patio. The dining room, to seat 150 guests, is adorned with reclaimed wood and metal finishes with contemporary light fixtures. Adjacent to the dining room is a semi-private room and a high top banquets area separated with a custom slated enclosure.
Diners and drinkers alike can take a seat at the bar and sip on the extensive Midwest wine list featuring a handful of favorites from 8000 Miles’ neighbor, Lynfred Winery. The beverage menu will also highlight 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-Tini 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 will also be available.
As a part of the Roselle community, 8000 Miles will be supporting 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. Guests can also stay tuned for an exciting lineup of events at the restaurant including wine dinners and tours with Lynfred Winery, local farm dinners and much more.
8000 Miles is located at 107 Main Street in Roselle, IL and will open to the public on June 18 for both lunch and dinner. The restaurant’s hours include 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.; Sunday from noon to 9:00 p.m.; and closed on Mondays. For more information or to make a reservation, call 630-283-0053, visit Open Table, website, Facebook or Twitter.