Q&A: Sullivan & Son’s Steve Byrne
The actor/writer stopped through Chicago on a comedy tour last weekend.
June 19, 2013
|Steve Byrne, a former (and possibly future) Chicagoan, stars in Sullivan & Son on TBS.|
Steve Byrne, a Pittsburgh native and one-time Chicagoan, stopped through the Windy City last weekend on the nationwide comedy tour for his TBS show, Sullivan & Son. The show—about a Korean-Irish family that owns a bar—debuted its second season last week.
Byrne may have only lived in Bucktown for a few years, but the city had a big impact on him; now his friend and fellow Chicagoan/executive producer of Sullivan & Son Vince Vaughn is trying to convince him that Midwest is best.
Sullivan & Son returned for its second season last week. How will this season differ from the first?
STEVE BYRNE: [During the] first season, you’re experimenting and seeing what works for what characters, and what direction you can go in with the story. Most importantly, it’s just about fleshing out the characters and their relationships. I think that toward the middle of the [first] season we kind of started figuring out our groove, and now we come into season two full stride.
What has it been like to work with Vince Vaughn?
SB: It’s amazing to work with him. I mean the guy has been an A-list movie star for almost 20 years now; he has got so much on his plate [yet] still takes time out of his busy work week to come down to every single take [of Sullivan & Son]. Every little project I’ve seen him do, he cares about every minute that is on that screen—that’s something I’ve really come to appreciate in working with him.
You used to live in Chicago. What do you like about the city?
SB: I just love the city of Chicago. Prior to getting Sullivan & Son [bought], I was just going to [go back to being] a stand-up comedian—you know getting a TV show to air is a million to one. After living in Los Angeles for eight years, I said, well, I’m going to live in Chicago. I used to visit Vince Vaughn all the time there, and he suggested living here because it is in the middle of the county and [I would] have no layovers. And secondly and most importantly, I love the city, I really, really love the city. I love the food, I love the people. I love that it’s a huge sports town; it’s very similar to Pittsburgh in the way that the city reacts and backs all its sports teams. I really like that aspect of it. I had a blast in Chicago and I’m really looking forward to getting back there.
Where do you always head when in town visiting?
SB: The first thing I do is go to Miller’s Pub (134 S. Wabash Ave., 312-263-4988) to get the ribs. I’ve been to Texas, I’ve been to Kansas City, and I’m not lying when I say that I think Miller’s Pub has the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life. I love Lillie’s Q (original location temporarily closed, French Market location at 131 N. Clinton St.). I used to live right by [the original location]; I’d go there once a week. I introduced [Chicago Blackhawks centerman] Dave Bolland to it, and so when I’d be on the road we’d meet there on Sundays and have lunch or dinner. And I love playing WhirlyBall (1880 W. Fullerton Ave., 800-894-4759). The staff there is so awesome: they close at 2 am and they let us play sometimes until 4 o’clock in the morning. One round would turn into best out of three, would turn into best of seven, and it just kept going and going. I almost missed my honeymoon because we were playing it one night so long. That’s something you don’t see anywhere else in the country.
Ravinia Launches Lawncierge
The venue introduces an upscale way to picnic for select shows.
June 19, 2013
There are already countless ways to dine at Ravinia—from the upscale Mirabelle restaurant to pre-packed picnics—but this summer the outdoor music venue introduces one more option that we can’t wait to try. Debuting at the June 26 Jackson Browne performance (already sold out), Lawncierge elevates the traditional Ravinia lawn experience, providing a stylish outdoor VIP lounge, private wait staff, exclusive menus, and a private bar for parties of two to ten.
Ravinia’s exclusive caterer, Levy Restaurants, will offer three menu options featuring gourmet cuisine you won’t find anywhere else in the park. Every menu starts with a spread of appetizers—basil penne pasta salad, Caesar salad, dips and spreads, and a bruschetta bar.
The first menu is the closest to a traditional picnic, featuring a slider-sized burger bar, corn on the cob and other seasonal vegetables, and grilled pineapple with poundcake. More exotic items abound on the second menu, like red pepper polenta cakes, mahi mahi, and grilled peaches with balsamic glaze and yogurt. The third menu is the most hearty, with a marinated flank steak, clams, mussels, and basil pesto chicken breast as main course options, and a side of grilled plantains glazed with brown sugar rum and candied pecans. Each meal ends with an assortment of mini desserts, and the bar is stocked with beer, wine, and specialty red and white sangria.
In its inaugural summer season, Lawncierge will only be available for six shows. The first two are already sold out, but tickets and Lawncierge services are still available for the Under the Sun Tour featuring Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, and more (July 20), Heart (July 29), Steely Dan (August 2), and Goat Rodeo Sessions, a bluegrass show (August 18). $185 per person, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve. 418 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park, 847-266-0641
Endgrain Opens in Roscoe Village
Enoch Simpson offers his beloved doughnuts alongside all-day menu items from local sources.
June 18, 2013
Enoch Simpson puts his famous doughnuts—introduced a few years ago and made with Simpson’s own signature flour blend—center stage with the launch of Endgrain, a new restaurant that opened earlier this month. Simpson teamed with his brother Caleb, a carpenter and craftsman, on the project to help him create a comfortable, approachable scene to match his cuisine.
Though we imagine diners will flock to Endgrain to snap up Simpson’s famous doughnuts—available in flavors like bacon butterscotch and Nutella milkstout—before they sell out for the day, the restaurant’s other locally-sourced offerings deserve attention, too. For brunch, a choice of biscuit sandwiches includes one with crispy pork belly, a fried egg, cheddar, greens, and charred jalapeno aioli. Another features trout on a marbled rye biscuit with slaw, tomato remoulade, and gruyere.
Frequently-refreshed dinner options are also noteworthy. Our current favorite is the smoked chicken pot pie with masa corn crust, chilies, mushrooms, and peas. And if it’s sweets that brought you in the door, the dessert options won’t disappoint. Try the dark chocolate pudding tart with buttermilk caramel and roasted white chocolate chunk ice cream.
What’s more, the restaurant’s name is called out to throughout the space. “Endgrain” refers to the revealed beauty in cut wood—no two patterns of swirls and rings are alike. Enoch saw the same unique intricacies in sliced vegetables and cut meat (he discovered the latter as butcher and sous chef at The Girl and the Goat). Caleb applied the concept literally by using more than 3,000 pieces of reclaimed wood in the interior; touches like industrial bar stools complete the upscale workshop atmosphere. 1851 W. Addison St., Roscoe Village, 773-687-8191
Chicago Creation: Ali's Collection
Local designer Alicia Mohr's unique cuffs are perfect for summer.
June 18, 2013
Ali's Collection's blue agate cuff ($75) is our pick for a standout summer accessory.
A crop of perfect-for-summer cuff bracelets comes from right here in Chicago. Alica Mohr's Ali’s Collection comprises everything from earrings to rings and necklaces to bracelets, but we're especially fond of the extra-wide cuff bracelets that feature multi-hued agate pieces—no two are exactly the same—affixed with prongs to a gold or silver band ($75). Our favorite is the blue agate for the way it mimics the ocean’s vibrant colors.
It’s no accident that we associate water with Mohr’s deep blue agate. “[One thing] that repeatedly influences my designs is the beautiful chaos and organic shapes found in nature,” the designer says. “I grew up in rural Vermont and am at home in the outdoors.” Other notable inspirations are the bright hues she discovered traveling through Malaysia, Thailand, and Northern Africa; and “the dynamic movement created by the laws of physics that can change the look and feel of a piece throughout the day,” Mohr adds.
Though Mohr likes to keep production close to home by using materials from US-based companies if an option, the gorgeous agate comes from Brazil. “When I source things outside of the US, it’s because I am going to the best source of the materials,” she says. “Brazil is the number one source for the world’s agate.”
This summer, pair the cuffs with basic, monochromatic whites or neutrals for a beach-chic ensemble. The bracelets are available locally at Cerato (3451 N. Southport Ave., 773-248-8604), Comfort Me Boutique (701 W. Armitage Ave., 312-255-1412), and Handle With Care (1706 N. Wells St., 312-751-2929), or online at shop.aliscollectionjewelry.com.
Haberdash Pops Up at theWit
The men's store opens a Loop outpost for the summer season.
June 17, 2013
Chicago’s stylish hotel, theWit, gets an extra dose of chic with the opening of a Haberdash pop-up in its lobby. The shop opened at the end of May and will run through Labor Day, providing men with perfect pieces all summer long.
We’re most excited about the inventory: the store will stock the same rare brands as the original side-by-side State Street locations, Haberdash Bespoke and Haberdash EDC. Guests can shop footwear, apothecary goods, and accessories from Quoddy, Malin + Goetz, Filson, Ashland Leather, and more.
But the pop-up is much more than just a shopping destination, as the Haberdash brand infuses its signature style into other aspects of the hotel, too. Both the bellmen and the front-desk staff will be real-life models for the store, donning new uniforms created and styled by Haberdash. Plus, theWit is offering a style-and-stay package which sets guests up with a $50 credit to Haberdash, as well as a personalized styling session, a face and body set from the apothecary, and a custom tie or pocket square. Click here to book the package.
If you’re not interested in an overnight stay, stop in at State and Lake, the hotel’s adjacent bar and restaurant. For the duration of the pop-up, the bar will offer a signature cocktail in partnership with Koval Whiskey—dubbed the Suit and Tie, it’s made with Koval Whiskey, orange bitters, and huckleberry. 201 N. State St., 312-239-9542
Brooklyn Cruiser Rolls into Chicago
These high-end city bicycles add style to your commute.
June 17, 2013
Just in time for summer, NYC-based bicycle brand Brooklyn Cruiser makes its Chicago debut, introducing a line of stylish, vintage-inspired commuter bikes to the city. Logan Square’s Boulevard Bike Shop—which celebrates its tenth anniversary this month—is the first retailer in Chicago to carry the bikes.
Though Brooklyn Cruiser has only been around for two years, founder Ryan Zagata looked further into the past for his design aesthetic. The bikes are vintage-inspired—reminiscent of Raleighs from the 1950s—with old-school touches like double kickstands, leather accents, and the brand’s signature cream-colored tires.
The stylish bikes allow their riders to be just as chic. Step-through models such as the Willow 7-speed ($579), new this summer, are practical for skirts and dresses, and chain guards protect your white pants or pricey pumps. Add a handcrafted wooden bike crate ($80) featuring Cruisers’ laser-etched logo to hold a briefcase or purse.
Though the look is vintage, the functionality is always up-to-date—Zagata works with customers and stockists to constantly improve the design. The alloy and stainless steel construction and front and rear wheel fenders are super-sturdy and the internally geared hubs require almost no maintenance (should it require a rare tune-up, Boulevard Bikes employs expert mechanics). 2535 N. Kedzie Blvd., 773-235-9109
What We're Reading
Jay Cutler gets hitched, the Blackhawks' playoffs run, Charlie Trotter's hits the market…
June 14, 2013
Former Michigan Avenue cover star Jonathan Toews sports facial hair for good luck during the playoffs.
In honor of a tradition started in the 1980s, the Blackhawks players—and many fans—are growing out their facial hair during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Here, playoff beards in photographs. [Huffington Post]
It seems Chicago sports stars have a lot to celebrate this week. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler tied the knot with fiancée Kristin Cavallari in Nashville over the weekend. Catch a first look at the bride’s beautiful Monique Lhuillier gown. [E Online]
Back in Chicago, Charlie Trotter’s has auctioned off most of what was left behind after it shuttered last summer—including a stocked wine cellar—and now the restaurant itself is accepting bids. The Lincoln Park space hit the market last week for $3.8 million. [Chicago Eater]
In style news, Chicago retailer Lance Lawson—the eclectic mind behind the 900 Shops’ space519—spends 48 hours in London and shares his shopping picks. [The Richmond]
Meanwhile, a local bakery creates the first-ever “dossant.” [Chicago Magazine]
Photography by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
3 Father's Day Dining Picks
Chicago restaurants offer an array of specials for dad this weekend.
June 14, 2013
Rockit Burger Bar's MacDaddy burger (specially priced for Father’s Day) features a black angus patty with braised short rib, mac and cheese, and caramelized onions.
For dads with a taste for authentic Japanese, this River North restaurant is grilling up Robata items paired with a craft beers. For example, smoked wagyu, plated with house ponzu and wasabi, is perfectly complemented with the dark and hearty Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. A lighter Sapporo is served alongside Australian baby lamb chops with miso mint sauce, shaved scallions, and grilled summer peaches; and seafood lovers will enjoy the Australian rock lobster with miso butter and shiitake mushrooms paired with Japanese Snow Weizen. Specials are available Sunday, June 16, 5 pm-close. 600 W. Chicago Ave., 312-822-9600
mk The Restaurant
Chef and owner Michael Kornick—along with executive chef Erick Williams—is introducing diners to his coming-soon restaurant venture, County, by gifting dads with a bottle of the new resto’s homemade barbecue sauce and a gift card to be among the first to try County when it opens. In the meantime, feast on mk’s meaty dishes like the bone-in filet, a 14-ounce filet mignon with garlic-scented fiddlehead ferns, fava beans, and fennel, served with a choice of cognac peppercorn, béarnaise, or horseradish cream. Reservations recommended; dinner service on Father’s Day starts at 5:30 pm. 868 N. Franklin St., 312-482-9179
Rockit Burger Bar
The Wrigleyville outpost of River North’s Rockit Bar & Grill is offering a few brunch items inspired by the man of the family. Start dad off with a Manmosa—a signature Rockit creation, the cocktail features the traditional mimosa ingredients of Champagne and orange juice supplemented with Grand Marnier and topped off with a Goose Island 312 beer. To eat, try the aptly named MacDaddy burger, a black angus patty piled high with braised short rib, mac and cheese, and caramelized onions. Sunday brunch is served 10:30 am-4 pm. 3700 N. Clark St., 773-645-4400
Weekend Recommender: June 13-16
Celebrate Dad's Day with a Porsche preview and boat show, or plan a night out with the girls.
June 13, 2013
31st Street Harbor is home to the 2nd Annual Chicago In-Water Boat Show this weekend.
Progressive Insurance's Chicago In-Water Boat Show
Thursday, June 13-Sunday, June 16
The In-Water Boat Show returns to Chicago, anchoring at the 31st Street Harbor. Seasoned guests can shop for sailboats while amateurs may sign up for boating lessons. Or, dive into fun summer activities like stand-up paddleboarding on the lake. $10 tickets can be purchased on chicagoinwaterboatshow.com. 3155 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Girls Night Out at The Bar Method
Thursday, June 13, 7:30 pm
It’s ladies night at The Bar Method’s newest studio, where guests will enjoy a rigorous barre-based class and hear a post-workout presentation from dating expert Bela Gandhi. The Chicago-based Gandhi is the founder of Smart Dating Academy, one of the top dating coaching firms in the nation. Reserve a spot by calling the studio at 312-573-9150. 1 E. Delaware St.
Paella Cooking Demo at Café Ba-Ba-Reeba
Saturday, June 15, 10 am-12 pm
Lincoln Park’s Café Ba-Ba-Reeba is known for its Spanish-inspired fare, like their takes on tapas and paellas, which guests will learn to cook in this class. Attendees will taste test their dishes alongside wine pairings, and everyone will leave with a tapas recipe booklet and paella cookbook. Reserve a place ($35) by calling the restaurant at 773-935-5000. 2024 N. Halsted St.
Sunday, June 16, 10 am-2:30 pm
The Porsche Club of America-Chicago Region hosts its annual Concours in Long Grove this weekend, where dozens of Porsches will be on display for judging. Check out the different models, chat with the owners, and enjoy lunch at a cozy Long Grove resto. To enter your own Porsche for judging ($25), call Michael Grove at 708-363-1294 or e-mail email@example.com; admission is complimentary otherwise. Towner Green, near The Village Tavern, 135 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove
Rebuilding Exchange’s Father’s Day Workshop
Sunday, June 16, 10:30 am-1:30 pm
Dads can spend their dedicated day in the workshop at Rebuilding Exchange, the reclaimed wood design shop whose unique creations can be seen in restaurants like Big Star and Longman & Eagle. Attendees will learn to use woodworking tools like a band saw and spindle sander, and go home with their own handcrafted beer caddy, perfect for summer barbecues. Visit eventbrite.com to purchase $105 tickets for couples. 1740 W. Webster Ave., 773-252-2234
George Clooney's Casamigos Tequila
The actor's 'house' tequila launched recently, and would make a perfect gift for dad.
June 13, 2013
George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila (available in Blanco and Reposado) is available at nightlife destinations like Paris Club.
Launched in early spring, Casamigos Tequila recently made its Chicago debut, appearing on cocktail menus at hot spots like Paris Club, American Junkie, RPM Italian, and the Bar at the Peninsula. The liquor is the brainchild of Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney and his close friend Rande Gerber—a restaurateur with one liquor label, Caliche Rum, already under his belt—and named after Clooney and Gerber’s side-by-side retreats in Mexico. (Mike Meldman, CEO of Discovery Land Company, is also a partner). Though this is the first time the public gets a taste, Clooney and Gerber have been sipping Casamigos for more than five years while perfecting it.
And perfect it they did. Available in both Blanco and Resposado, the resulting tequila is an incredibly smooth blend, so much so that it requires no salt-and-lime chaser. The fine taste is the result of an intricate distillation process that begins with 100% Blue Weber agaves from the Jalisco Highlands of Mexico and ends with Gerber and Clooney personally testing each and every batch.
Even the bottle is a work of art. Clooney imagined the classic John Wayne scene—a bartender slides a bottle down the bar and Wayne uncorks it with his teeth—as an inspiration for the stopper. The rest of the bottle follows suit with unadorned glass as smooth as the contents inside, and a primitively-styled label that bears Clooney’s signature. It’s the type of bottle you might imagine washing up on shore with a message inside, preferably along the beaches of Mexico.
Casamigos is available by the bottle at Binnys (213 W. Grand Ave., 312-332-0012) and would make the perfect Father’s Day present.
Photography by Andrew Macpherson
Michigan Avenue celebrates with cover star Harrison Ford at Chicago Cut Steakhouse.