Burlington Room: Former Union Station Ladies Lounge

Chicago's Union Station has recently renovated a gem of a space, The Burlington Room, formerly a lounge for women travelers in the heyday of train travel. This space will replace the Great Hall as an event facility, and I have no doubt that it will be incredibly popular. The beautiful architectural work was done by Goettsch Partners, as well as some very incredible restoration work from EverGreene Architectural Arts. Definitely check out the full coverage on Curbed Chicago to see the images of the space before the renovation as well!

Baptiste & Bottle: Conrad Chicago Restaurant

Perched on the 20th floor of the Conrad Chicago, Baptiste & Bottle has a view of River North that is hard to be matched. I had the opportunity to photograph the space recently for Eater Chicago, and was really amazed at how well the design came together. We also got the chance to preview the menu over the weekend and were blown away by the food from Chef James Lintelmann. There may be a lot of tourist traps in the area, but this definitely doesn't feel like one of them. Excited to go back and get another serving of the 48-hour short ribs :-)

Hopcat Chicago: Lincoln Park Craft Beer Bar

As a native of Grand Rapids, I had to jump on the opportunity to photograph Hopcat's newest location in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The new Clark St. space is practically two full restaurant spaces joined together. On top of that, there will be over 130 beers on offer. I have a feeling that this will become a staple much like it is in my hometown. Be sure to check out the full coverage over at Eater Chicago.

JeffJack Apartments West Loop Grand Opening

You might just recognize interiors of JeffJack Apartments from my earlier tour in March for Curbed Chicago. CS Magazine was covering their Grand Opening party, which gave me a little bit of time to get back in to photograph the modern spaces in the building, and of course the great food and revelry.

A night like this is one of the main reasons I love event photography. Staying on my toes and being prepared for anything from architecture and interior photography to portraiture is so exciting and rewarding. Though, with food from Formento's & Salero and music from Style Matters, you really can't do too much wrong.

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Rockit Bar & Grill: River North Redesign by Kara Mann

In celebration of it's 10th birthday, Rockit Bar & Grill spent five months redesigning their entire River North space. The interior designer, Kara Mann, successfully married River North sophistication with a rock-and-roll edge. The two styles join together seamlessly with upscale fixtures and materials in a dark space. Street art and floral upholstery, brick walls and brass taps, raw steel and marble - proving the phrase 'opposites attract' to be entirely true. Read more about the grand re-opening here.

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Loved the vibe of Rockit? You can see more of Kara Mann's interior design work in my OneEleven shoot here.

Minds Matter: Hilton Downtown Chicago Event Photography

I recently shot the sixth annual Minds Matter Benefit Gala for CS Magazine at the beautiful Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Downtown Chicago Hotel. Just across the street from 2015 NFL Draft's 'Draft Town', the energy was high that night. The Minds Matter Gala is hosted by The Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute to raise awareness and funding towards the fight against brain and spinal tumors. Take a look at some decor shots from the night below. 

Virgin Hotel Chicago: The Rooftop Bar

Hot on the heels of Virgin Hotel's Chicago opening, the rooftop has been revealed to the public adding to the list of great cocktails to enjoy whilst sitting amongst the Chicago skyline. We were very excited to work with Virgin Hotels again on this big project that has elevated their popularity even more!

Boeufhaus: Humboldt Park Brasserie

On the border of Ukrainian Village and Humboldt Park, Boeufhaus has claimed a space to call home. The German influenced steak-house offers not only a great food and drink menu but a charming atmosphere, too. The space is filled with vintage pieces including the old icebox that was found on the property and originally used by a German butcher who used to occupy the same space. This stretch of Western Ave. is definitely growing quickly and is looking like a great spot to spend the evening. Check out the Eater Chicago article here.

Burger Week 2015: A Ground Beef Tour Of Chicago

My glorious journey photographing Eater Chicago's Burger Week 2015 at Mott Street, Formento's, Eataly, Bohemian House, and Au Cheval.

Anyone who knows me knows that there are few things on this planet that make me happier than a delicious burger. In its most basic forms it combines two wonderful things; a sandwich and the grill. Eater's Burger Week, however, features the cream of the crop on Chicago's burger scene.

Tony Quartaro of Formento's & Nonna's created the "Juicy Lucy" burger. "A burger patty stuffed with mozzarella (made in-house), 1-year aged provolone ('It has a nice bite to it. Nice, strong depth of flavor. Not stinky cheese strong, but more of a peppery finish.'), garlic and neonata ('It's chili based, slightly acidic, kind of rich and oily. [It] will add some brightness and some heat.')".

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Edward Kim Chef/Partner of Mott Street created the Mott Burger for Burger Week 2015. "featuring two quarter-pound chuck patties with sweet potato shoestrings, hoisin aioli, pickled jalapenos, dill pickles, miso butter, diced onion and American cheese on a toasted bun".

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Jimmy Papadopoulos of Bohemian House, entered the monster "Bohemian Sleeper Hold". "The 8-ounce grilled burger is topped with Emmentaler cheese, braised sauerkraut (fermented in house for three weeks, then braised with onions, caraway, bacon and garlic), a fried egg and a special secret sauce on a house-made bun and is served with house dill pickles along with salt and vinegar chips".

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Chef Alex Pilas at Osteria in Eataly Chicago created the aptly named "Eater Hamburger alla Eataly Chicago". "a combination of local ingredients, with an Italian twist - think ramps salsa verde as an ode to Chicago's name, and mayo made from local eggs, combined with traditional Italian flavors, such as Parmigiano Reggiano."

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And of course, we can't forget the Au Cheval burger. Since they have already been crowned with the title of 'Best Burger in Chicago,' Chef Annie Gano didn't need to add any crazy twists or flare, instead just sticking with the classic recipe. "The burger gets "dressed" with Dijonnaise (lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard) and housemade pickles. You can add a fried egg, thick-cut peppered bacon and, if you really want to gild the lily, a three-ounce slab of foie gras."

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Refugee One Gala: VenueOne Chicago Event Photography

The vibrant and energy-filled RefugeeOne Gala held at VenuOne meeting and event center in the West Loop was wonderful to photograph. The space was filled with bright light, fresh white walls (a photographers' dream) and lots of small details that added to the atmosphere all night long. "RefugeeOne is a refugee resettlement agency that provides a full range of services to refugees resettled in the Chicago area." The evening was charged with a positive energy fueled by the guests of honor and amazing entertainment. The dance floor was filled up until the last moments - such a great event for an amazing cause!

Cards Against Humanity Headquarters: An Office Space for Horrible People

First off, after having met a number of people within the company, I can confidently say that none of the Cards Against Humanity employees are horrible. Actually, everything about my visit to their headquarters was awesome! With a plethora of common spaces, the office had a strongly collaborative vibe. Really, what's more collaborative than a Moroccan hookah room? I'm guessing that's where some of the best cards have been thought up...

Ramen Takeya: Fulton Market Ramen Shop

Chicago has graduated from plastic wrapped microwavable noodles to a more authentic and gourmet dish, sparking the beginning of the Ramen Renaissance. I was sent out by Eater Chicago to shoot the brand new Ramen Takeya in Fulton Market brought to us by the owners of Logan Sqaure's popular Wasabi. The decor was top notch and immediately transports you to a small steamy alley somewhere in Japan complete with neon lighting (Pac Man spotting!) and custom made chochin (paper lanterns). Plus, I was really excited to try out a new lighting technique - I really love the outcome and would love to know what you guys think! Check it out below...

House Calls: Salvaged Wood Haven in Bridgeport

One of the most striking things about touring this home was realizing that it was a bit like taking a portrait of its owners. The Bridgeport couple dreamed up every last detail of their ideal home and made it into a reality. There was no shortage of personality in each room, as the space serves as a canvas for their personal taste. The salvaged materials and simple but refined finishes matched the character of the neighborhood perfectly. Really glad to have gotten the opportunity to photograph this home!

Miss Ricky's: Downtown Chicago Diner in Virgin Hotel

The atmosphere at Miss Ricky's was humming and alive, well representing the idea behind the diner-esque restaurant located Downtown Chicago in the new Virgin Hotel. One menu item I'm pretty excited to try is the piece of chocolate cake with an edible steak knife stabbed right through the middle to stop the towering dessert from falling over.

ZED451 Chicago Wedding: Meghan & Denver

I've had the pleasure of knowing Meghan and Denver personally for a little while before working as their wedding photographer, so it was a lot of fun to see these two dream up an awesome wedding day and bring it to life. ZED451 in River North was an absolutely perfect location. The food and atmosphere were second to none. Seriously, what more could you ask for than a countless-course Brazilian steak house meal on your Downtown Chicago wedding night? Huge thank you to Meghan and Denver for including me in their big day, and for all of the help from everyone at ZED451 throughout the entire process!

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House Call: FLATS Micro Apartment

FLATS Micro apartments appeal to individuals who thrive in small spaces just like Richard Smith does, the renter of the space I shot for Curbed Chicago. I have to say, I was impressed with how neat and tidy everything was and how I felt like I should go home and purge some of my old stuff. After chatting with him a bit, he told me how much he loves his apartment and the challenge of only keeping his most essential and prized possessions. Take a look below and decide if you could make the micro-move, too.

Level 257: Pac Man Restaurant & Gaming Destination

Occupying 40,000 square feet in the Woodfield Mall out in Schaumburg is the first Level 257: A Pac Man world complete with a restaurant and gaming galore. The Woodfield location is the first of what could be many more similar ventures by Namco Entertainment. It was seriously so much fun shooting this space for Eater Chicago. I got to speak with some of the essential players who had a hand in making this Pac Man world a reality and was clued in on the story behind the name. In the original game of Pac Man, you reach a kill-screen at level 256 (I wonder how many people have actually reached this...) Level 257 is Pac Man's next step! The space encourages patrons to be social with one another while playing games, so adults have the chance to go back and relive a piece of their childhood. Looking forward to an evening of "1 Up's" and "Filet Mig-Nom". 

LondonHouse: Historic Chicago Hotel Restoration

A building that has sat empty for years is finally being transformed. What used to be the London Guarantee and Accident Company building and a world famous jazz club, is now being restored into LondonHouse Chicago Hotel. I already know it's going to be wildly popular, one look at the rooftop cupola got me hearing wedding bells... It was exciting to take an extensive tour with the architect of the project and to hear his plans and vision for the hotel. It is clear to see that they are taking great care to keep the original structures integrity. Stay tuned for an update in the coming months as the hotel nears its completion!

House Call: Uptown Chicago Condo

It's not often you get to walk into a strangers home and photograph their space. But now that Curbed Chicago has started a new series on the blog featuring their readers homes in Chicago, I have had the chance to meet some great new people and take a tour of their homes. Last week I traveled to Uptown and met Jarod, the homeowner of this great condo. He shared stories of his travels and how he came about collecting so many prints and pieces of art. And of course I have to give many thanks to my personal tour guide (the dog) who did a great job showcasing her favorite places to lounge.

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If you enojoyed this real-life home tour, take a look at the rest the shoots I have done for Curbed Chicago's House Calls over on their site!

Community Tavern: A Boutique Steakhouse Offering in Portage Park

From the creator of the gastropub The Portage comes Community Tavern, a 'New-American' boutique steakhouse with a menu inspired by French cuisine. Driving up to shoot this new restaurant, I found myself thinking how little I have explored Portage Park. I was pleasantly surprised to find a great stretch of shops along Milwaukee Ave. that made me look forward to getting the chance to spend more time in the area. Just down the street from the Portage Theater, Community Tavern has a luxurious vintage flare that accurately reflects the history of the neighborhood. Really looking forward to seeing the coming success of this restaurant!