Asian-Inspired Italian Restaurant in Champaign IL





Asian-inspired Italian Cuisine

Situated into the heart of the Campustown, NAYA is a rare and remarkable restaurant for Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Inspired by time-honored Asian cooking technique, and emphasizing bright, flavorful Italian dishes, NAYA’s menu was designed to reach the most discerning palettes, yet remain accessible and classic. This is the result of a true partnership from renowned restaurateur Jin Park and celebrated chef Thad Morrow. Together, they have created a new and exciting dining experience in the heart of the Midwest.

Cocktails are mixed with precision. Appetizers are creative in spirit, and in presentation. Pastas are cooked to a perfect al dente, each and every time. Entrees that demand your attention, and consideration, are prepared with precision.

We believe there is value in creating space to enjoy a night out, in the company of those we love, and who challenge us to be something more than we were the day before. At NAYA, we’re celebrating that idea each time we prepare a dish for you, and every time we consider what is on your plate.

Join us.

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Meet the chef

From humble Midwestern beginnings, to the center of the civilized world in New York City, Chef Thad Morrow has spent his entire career finding unique ways to let both food and wine dictate his story. His youth was centered around time spent on his grandmother’s farm. Before the pasture, a great garden stretched deep into the horizon, where fresh produce grew and was harvested with meticulous care. From the fields, and into her outdoor kitchen, she taught him simple techniques on cooking: how to properly fry chicken, when to cut asparagus at its peak sweetness, why saving bacon fat for potatoes at supper made the meal, the proper way to whisk an egg.

These experiences led to higher education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Upon graduation, he promptly moved to NYC, and learned under some of the best chefs the city had to offer. His love for wine grew alongside his passion for cooking, and Chef Morrow became a certified sommelier in 1998.

For over twenty years, his passion for the kitchen has been on display.

His first restaurant, bacaro, in Downtown Champaign, revolutionized dining in Central Illinois forever. His work eventually took him back to New York City in 2015, where he spent a few years as an expert in wine pairing for Blue Apron. But his passion for using his hands and creative ideas in the kitchen were calling once again.

The opportunity to develop NAYA is latest in his creative endeavors. The menu is both playful and traditional. With a pragmatic approach to simple preparation, and an eye for detail in creating deep and complex flavors, this is Chef Morrow at his very best.



Visit us

212 E Green St, Ste 104
Champaign, IL

Mon-Sat 5-10pm

(217) 729-7430

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