Following his shift this Saturday night at Acadia, Michael Simon will depart the South Loop restaurant and take off a couple of weeks to relax and do some research for his new role as corporate beverage director for Salita Development. In other words, he's going to take over the drink program for the Bedford and create one for the forthcoming Carriage House.
Simon will eventually be in-house at Carriage House, but will start by revamping the wine list and cocktail program at the Bedford and spend some nights behind the bar while the new place is being built out. The Bedford program will build upon what already exists. "I want to ultimately have the highest quality cocktail program, but also the most efficient," Simon said. "I want it to be where if we're doing 800 people on a Saturday that the bar can put out a super solid product that [customers] are happy with and can get them in a timely manner."
Simon said the cocktail program at the Carriage House will be led chef Mark Steuer's South Carolina Lowcountry-inspired menu and will be inspired by old recipes. "It'll follow [Steuer's] menu ... traditional but re-imagined, whiskey- and rum-focused to an extent," Simon said.
By signing on with Salita, it reunites Simon with his longtime friend Michael Velo, who is Carriage House's general manager. And Steuer is really happy about the team they're building. "I'm really excited to have him because I think he's perfect for the direction we're going at the Carriage House," Steuer said.
Steuer said they're gaining inspiration from an old Charleston cookbook called Charleston Receipts, which has a section on throwing parties with punches and cocktails, which will both be featured on the menu. "We both got really excited about incorporating Charleston again into the concept," Steuer said. "Michael is one of the most creative guys I know so I'm excited to see what he comes up with."
· Mark Steuer, Bedford Team Set to Open Carriage House [~EChi~]
Michael Simon [Photo: Chicago]