Chicago Food Photographer

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.

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.')".

Formento-West-Loop-Burger-Week-1
Formento-West-Loop-Burger-Week-2

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".

Mott-Street-Wicker-Park-Burger-Week

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".

Bohemian-House-River-North-Burger-Week

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."

Eataly-Chicago-Burger-Week

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."

Au-Cheval-Chicago-Burger-Week

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...

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!

Oak + Char: Wood-Fired Restaurant in River North

Oak + Char may be simply named, but that is where the simplicity stops. I had the opportunity to tour and photograph the space for Eater Chicago prior to its opening, and whether you're rating the restaurant on its design/atmosphere or by the culinary output and experience of its staff, its most definitely a place to experience. I appreciated the detailed work that went into the construction, and the great organizational apparatus behind the restaurant in MBL Hospitality and Grapevine PR. Be sure to check out the entire article at Eater Chicago!

oak+char_rivernorth_chicago_restauraunt_1
oak+char_rivernorth_chicago_restauraunt_2
oak+char_rivernorth_chicago_restauraunt_3
oak+char_rivernorth_chicago_restauraunt_6
oak+char_rivernorth_chicago_restauraunt_7
oak+char_rivernorth_chicago_restauraunt_8
oak+char_rivernorth_chicago_restauraunt_9
oak+char_rivernorth_chicago_restauraunt_10

Umami Burger Wicker Park: LA Burger Chain Enters The Midwest

In search of a straight-to-business high end burger joint in Wicker Park? The quest is over. Los Angeles based Umami Burger is now open to the public on Milwaukee Ave. The wildly popular chain has expanded from coast-to-coast and now has a foot in the Midwest market. First up on my list is the "Truffle Burger" with truffle a aioli, cheese, and glaze. Be sure to check out the full coverage on Eater Chicago!

chicago-food-photography-umami-burger-wicker-park-2
chicago-food-photography-umami-burger-wicker-park-3
chicago-food-photography-umami-burger-wicker-park-4
chicago-food-photography-umami-burger-wicker-park-8
2014.09.16_UmamiBurger_NicholasJamesPhoto_05.JPG
chicago-food-photography-umami-burger-wicker-park-1
chicago-food-photography-umami-burger-wicker-park-7

Yusho Hyde Park: Matthias Merges' Newest Chicago Restaurant Offering

Walk into Yusho Hyde Park on the slightly quieter end of rapidly developing 53rd Street, and you can immediately tell this bold and colorful little space is going to pack a serious punch. Chef Matthias Merges (Charlie Trotter's Executive Chef of 14 years) has taken the "yakatori-inspired" restaurant from Logan Square to Las Vegas, and his newest Yusho outpost is now open to the public. I've been finding myself making the trip down to Hyde Park much more often as of late (check out my previous coverage of Promontory), and I can't wait to try the "Japanese Loaded Fries w/Bacon & Kimchee Gravy!

Yusho-Matthias-Merges-Chicago-Food-Photography-2
Yusho-Matthias-Merges-Chicago-Food-Photography-1
Yusho-Matthias-Merges-Chicago-Food-Photography-3
Yusho-Matthias-Merges-Chicago-Food-Photography-4
Yusho-Matthias-Merges-Chicago-Food-Photography-5
Yusho-Matthias-Merges-Chicago-Food-Photography-6
Yusho-Matthias-Merges-Chicago-Food-Photography-8
Yusho-Matthias-Merges-Chicago-Food-Photography-9

Baker Miller: Lincoln Square Bakery & Millhouse

"We call it toast, because it is toast. You won't see us calling them tartines or anything like that." It may seem like semantics, but Dave Miller's simple distinction eloquently captures the new approach of the Baker Miller Bakery & Millhouse in Lincoln Square. Dave & Megan Miller came to fame with the founding their Logan Square landmark, Bang Bang Pie. After 4 years of meteoric growth, the Millers found themselves looking to move back to the basics. Enter the Baker Miller concept. Dave and Megan will be hands-on throughout the entire baking process, from milling their own wheat to hand-rolling oats. In just the few menu items that I had the opportunity to speak with Millers about and photograph, one could tell that they were carefully crafted and more importantly created by someone having fun doing what they love. Baker Miller will be opening its doors to the public on September 22nd, and I will surely be making many trips over to Lincoln Square to get my baked good fix! Make sure to check out all the coverage on Eater as well!

chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-1

Roasted Capon Chicken Grain Bowl. Seasonal grains with pickled carrots and greens. The Millers searched extensively for a source for this particular type of heritage chicken while developing this dish.

chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-2

Three of the Miller's amazing toast offerings. At left: Nova Lox (pickled in beet juice) with House-Made Chevre. At right: Prosciutto & Poached Egg with House-Made Chevre and Dandelion Greens. Below: Radish & Poached Egg Toast with House-Made Chevre, Kale, and Blake Flake Salt.

chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-3
chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-5

Popovers, Whole Wheat Cookies, and Hand Pies. Oh My!

chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-6

Vegans can definitely be happy about this next point. After careful experimentation, the Millers were able to re-formulate their pie crust recipe without lard! As you can see below in their classic apple pie, not a single bit of the golden-brown flaky goodness was lost either.

chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-7
chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-9
chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-8
chicago-baker-miller-pie-food-photography-10

Bar Takito: Latin American Bar & Restaurant Opening In Fulton Market / West Loop

Taco aficionados rejoice! Bar Takito is expanding upon Takito Kitchen, its Wicker Park sister restaurant, in the Fulton Market neighborhood of the West Loop. Adding to the veritable restaurant boom that is happening in the area, Bar Takito will offer a bright and colorful dining alternative. Having just sampled my first tacos at Takito Kitchen a couple of days ago (Oxtail Tacos with an amazing fresh corn salsa), I'm really excited to give this new place a try! Even while completely empty, the space on Morgan St. was uplifting and fun to be in. I'm sure it will be a great atmosphere when it is buzzing with diners too. Be sure to check out the whole article from Eater Chicago here!

Bar-Takito-Fulton-Market-West-Loop-Chicago-1
Bar-Takito-Fulton-Market-West-Loop-Chicago-2
Bar-Takito-Fulton-Market-West-Loop-Chicago-3
Bar-Takito-Fulton-Market-West-Loop-Chicago-4
Bar-Takito-Fulton-Market-West-Loop-Chicago-6
Bar-Takito-Fulton-Market-West-Loop-Chicago-5
Bar-Takito-Fulton-Market-West-Loop-Chicago-7
Bar-Takito-Fulton-Market-West-Loop-Chicago-8

Soho House Chicago: Fulton Market Hot Spot

London, New York, Berlin, Toronto, Miami, Hollywood, and now Chicago. Soho House, a private member's club for those in the film, media, and creative industries, has just opened the doors to its newest "house" in Chicago's Fulton Market neighborhood. I photographed the site for Curbed Chicago back in March when there was still scaffolding on the facade and plenty of snow on the ground, so spending some time documenting the nearly completed space on a sunny August day was a treat. Check out the full article here!

Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-1

As to be expected, especially at the $2,000 price point for membership, the design and furnishings inside the Allis Building (formerly a factory building producing rubber belts) were gorgeous. My favorite part about the space though was the subtle use of the wood behind the front desk and around the elevator bay. The wood came from the water tower that used to sit on top of the building, and if you look closely you can still see some of the original lettering!

The lobby/lounge space, although a bit narrow, was soaked in beautiful bright light. I could definitely see it as a nice place to do some work and have a cup of coffee, cocktail, or small bite to eat. This space, as well as the Soho House's two restaurants Chicken Shop and Pizza East, are all open to the public.

Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-2
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-3
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-4
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-5
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-6
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-7
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-8

The Soho House will be adding 40 hotel rooms to the West Loop marketplace. The rooms, available in three sizes (small, medium, and medium-plus) are available to the public starting at $240 a night. The space pictured below is a medium-plus, and felt quite spacious. The furnishings were nice and very consistent with the style of the lobby/lounge.

Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-9
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-10
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-11
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-12
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-13
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-14
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-1
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-15
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-16
Soho-House-Chicago-Fulton-Market-17