Effective immediately, Ryan Poli is no longer executive chef at Tavernita, Barcito, or Little Market Brasserie. In what Poli chalks up to a life decision, he informed Mercadito Hospitality managing partner Alfredo Sandoval of his decision last week and although he will remain a partner, he will no longer be involved in the day to day operations. Mercadito representatives say that they're announcing a "highly acclaimed" new chef/partner next week.
"I came to a point in my career where I can either grow with the company and open more restaurants, or stop and reinspire," Poli says. "I want to set out on this journey, reconnect, reset, and get back to cooking."
Poli says he's going to take time off, travel, and stage in kitchens around the country and abroad. Although calling it bittersweet, he says the split was amicable.
Poli, a born-and-bred Chicagoan, exploded on the local restaurant scene in 2005 when restaurateur Jason Chan hired him to be the chef at Butter when Poli had never run a kitchen before. He went on to run Perennial with Boka Restaurant Group before leaving for Mercadito and opening his first restaurant, Tavernita, inspired by his time in Spain.
Poli says he has no immediate plans to open another restaurant, but if he does, he says it will be here. Is he a shooting star that burned too bright too fast or will he continue to be fixture in the scene? Check back soon to see his next move, and check back next week to see Mercadito Hospitality's next chef.
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