The Chicago Style Dinner Party Series are dinners with some of our favorite chefs, bartenders, and activists hosted in intentionally intimate spaces designed to nurture the genuine connections and thoughtful conversations that lead to growth and change. We’ve paired spirit brands with restaurants and bars that are owned by or have food and beverage programs driven by women, people of color and queer folks, and we’ve asked each Chicago Style Dinner Party to feature a Guest of Honor — someone who is making waves within our hospitality community, or in another industry. These intimate dinner parties will spark conversations, create connections, and begin to build networks that will support the movement toward a more equitable, inclusive, safe and sustainable cocktail community.
Venue: Lost Lake's Stranger in Paradise
Chef/Bar: Jonathan Zaragoza + Fred Noinaj
Guest of Honor: Keena McCoy + Kristina Magro
Topic of Discussion: Balancing motherhood + family life in the hospitality industry
Brief Description: Join us for an intimate meal and discussion around motherhood and family life in the hospitality industry. We often talk about work life balance but there are few conversations around raising a family while working odd hours, often without insurance coverage or sick leave. Our guests of honor will share their stories over incredible food from Birrieria Zaragoza and cocktails featuring Maker’s Mark and El Tesoro.
Chef: Iliana Regan
Guest of Honor: Julia Momose
Topic of Discussion: Making room for everyone: Inclusive hospitality in the bar industry.
Brief Description: Seedlip will be hosting dinner and discussion paired with non- alcoholic drinks by Julia Momose. We’ll explore topics around inclusive hospitality and how our industry can strive to improve how we make people feel, regardless of who they are or what they are drinking.
WESTWARD SINGLE MALT WHISKEY
Venue: Split Rail New Americana Restaurant
Chef/Bar: Chef Zoe Schor + Bar Director, Brenna Washow
Guest of Honor: Stephanie Andrews, Billy Sunday Cocktail Bar + Jen Rosenthal, owner Planted Chicago
Topic of Discussion: Locality + Sustainability in Bars, Restaurants and Spirits
Brief Description: From the producers of Westward American Single Malt, (House Spirits Distillery, Portland Oregon) a conversation over dinner with Chicago pioneers, Stephanie Andrews, of Billy Sunday cocktail bar, and Jen Rosenthal, Owner of Plant Chicago, about a topic of continual drive in the hospitality industry: bringing food, cocktails, and spirits to craving appetites in a local and environmentally sustainable way. In addition, Jordan Felix, Westward Whiskey Advocate, will join to wet your whistle and add to the discussion. He will focus on steps that the Distillery makes to lead the path in renewable production of American Malt Whiskey by sourcing local barley, brewing, barrel production and aging in the Pacific Northwest.
Venue: Lula Cafe
Chef/Bar: Nandini Khaund
Guest of Honor: Elizabeth Corr + Jenny Kendler
Topic of Discussion: Imperfect Action
Brief Description: Join us for a special evening of cocktails, dinner and discussion exploring the beauty of imperfection. Using food and drink to spark conversation, we’ll explore how the perception of own and others' imperfections as fatal flaws can prevent us from taking action on important issues like sustainability, feminism, racism, and equity. The evening will feature food, drink and decor that embraces imperfection, including fruits and veggies considered "too ugly" to meet strict grocery store standards. By re-conceiving of imperfection as part of the inherent beauty of the natural world, what we eat—and who we are, we can build stronger networks to work towards a more equitable world.
Venue: Broken Shaker at The Freehand Chicago
Chef: Ollie Walleck
Guest of Honor: Liz Weck
Topic of Discussion: TBD
Brief Description: Mingle and Welcome punch by Scotty, performance by an amazing Queen, dinner with discussion. We would like to open conversation amongst our guests from bars/restaurants around Boystown and our guests from other areas of the city in attendance to talk about some LGBTQ issues or questions. With a focus on open dialect about creating safe/comfortable spaces within our places of employment that are “all inclusive”. We hope the conversation and the attendance of Liz who helps with these types of situations will kind of “guide itself” through dinner. And then a small mingle after with photo booth and swag giveaway.
Venue: El Che Bar
Chef: John Manion
Guest of Honor: Sadie Woods
Topic of Discussion: Intersectionality in Within Music and Hospitality
Description: Music plays a big role in life, and in bars. We listen to music when we’re happy or sad, to celebrate our achievements and to mourn our griefs. In this discussion, we will explore the role that music plays in hospitality, and issues of sexuality, race and class within both industries.
Price: $75 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Three courses, with Lustau cocktails and glass pairings.
Venue: Currency Exchange Cafe
Chef/Bar: GM Megan Jeyifo, Chef Lamar Moore
Guest of Honor: Colin Asare-Appiah, Causing a Stir
Topic of Discussion: Cultural Architects, Leaders of the Future
Brief Description: Celebrating cultural architects and a discussion on the responsibility of community leaders and lifestyle brands. With this dinner, Causing a Stir will celebrate local cultural architects during a roundtable discussion on the responsibility of community leaders and lifestyle brands. Alexis Brown and Ariel Neal of CAS will drive a discussion centered on the idea that “we are the future,” and share the conventional — and unconventional — processes they’ve taken towards branding themselves and their businesses.
Chef/Bar: Chef Nicole Bayani and Bar Director Sam Lyden
Guests of Honor: Lynnette Marrero, Julie Reiner, Eryn Reece, Yael Vengroff
Topic of Discussion: Bubbling Up the Next Generation
Brief Description: Chandon and its winemaker, Pauline Lhote, are delighted to bring together female trailblazers of the industry and the next generation for an intimate dinner to discuss leadership and creating your brand both behind and beyond the bar.
Venue: Bad Hunter
Chef/Bar: Chef Dan Snowden, Bar Manager Vinny Starble
Guest of Honor: Claire Sprouse, Tracy Boychuk
Topic of Discussion: Sustainability
Brief Description: The topic of sustainability will lead the conversation, food and drinks throughout the evening. Our guests of honor, Bad Hunter, and Lot 40 will be collaborating to create a truly sustainable experience, highlighting the practices of Tin Roof Drink Community and The Roof Crop. Between courses, dinner guests will learn how Claire and Tracy work with the food and beverage industry to promote sustainability within it.
LA LUNA MEZCAL
Chef/Bar: Carlos Gaytan
Guests of Honor: Chantal Martineau and Salvador Chavez
Topic of Discussion: ”Mexican Spirits” and “Sustainability in the Bar"
Brief Description: Sal Chavez, founder of Puente International, will lead the evening's discussion alongside special guest, Chantal Martineau, author of How the Gringo Stole Tequila. The evening will commence around a four-course French/Mexican fusion menu from renowned chef Carlos Gaytan, at the Michelin starred Mexique restaurant accompanied by cocktails featuring La Luna Mezcal and Gran Dovejo tequila.”
Venue: Mi Tocaya
Chef/Bar: Chef/Owner Diana Davila, cocktails by Paul McGee
Guest of Honor: Emma Janzen, Author of the new released book “Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit”
Topic of Discussion: Mezcaleros of Banhez; Standing United
Brief Description: Enjoy a 4-course mezcal/dinner pairing prepared by chef Diana Davila, with opening cocktails from Paul McGee, while author Emma Janzen goes into depth about the category, and how a COOP of 36+ Mexican farming families are doing their part to promote sustainability, improve the lives of those in their communities (some of the poorest in Mexico) and share the love of mezcal around the world.