Welcome to Front & Center, a series highlighting front of the house professionals in Chicago restaurants. Right now, Molly Each, associate editor, Sun-Times Splash, writes about Telegraph GM David Deal.
Years ago, my friends I would walk into Avec and instantly drool—and it wasn't just because of the bacon-wrapped dates. We thought David Deal, with his big blue eyes, was the hottest guy we'd ever seen, and we would be giddy when we were sat in his section. But it only took a few visits to realize that he is also friendly, kind, funny and insanely knowledgeable about food and wine (though his recommendations for his new favorite French Cab/Syrah blend were often lost on us while we stared).
I was a burgeoning writer at this time, and his patient and enthusiastic explanations of grape varietals and obscure ingredients—no matter how busy the always-packed restaurant was—undoubtedly contributed to my interest in writing about food.
I got to know David at Avec, continued to see him after he left to bartend at the Charleston, and now—in addition to their killer wine list and delicious tartines, of course—he's one of the top reasons my friends and I frequent Telegraph.
On Friday night, after a long week, it's always lovely to see him behind the bar. After offering a warm smile, a kiss on the cheek and pouring my favorite wine, we chat about new bands (he's super tuned in to great music), travel, life, work and other things that transcend small talk. And that's how he treats everyone who walks in.
But what really amazes me is how he makes everyone feel so special, even while pouring 10 glasses of wine, pouring five beers and taking a handful of orders. He never misses a beat of service or a beat of conversation. Plus, he's one of the only people who can convince me to deviate from my favorite wine at Telegraph, the super-gamey Babiole, by offering something that's both similar and different and seems to be exactly what I'm craving ... that and those big blue eyes.
— Molly Each, Sun-Times Splash