In a move that A10 and Yusho owner Matthias Merges describes as "definitely out of the blue," John Vermiglio, the culinary director for Merges' restaurant group, as well as Josef Giacomino, A10's executive chef, announced that they will leave Chicago to open a restaurant together in Detroit. First reported by the Tribune, Vermiglio stated that it was his dream to start a project in his hometown while Giacomino offered up that he and Vermiglio had been discussing the idea for the better part of eight years.
Though the duo's leaving was surprising, especially considering that Vermiglio was only announced as the group's culinary director back in June, Merges is excited for them. "I'm grateful and happy for the time they spent (working for Merges' restaurants)...they're going to do really well," Merges stated. "At the end of the day, there's only one person standing and it's the owner," Merges says.
Merges is definitely still standing, and he's beginning to pull the curtain back on two upcoming projects. Though he won't divulge much at the moment, one is already under construction and the deal for the second "is complete," he says. The first, now being worked on somewhere on the north side of the city, is expected to "maybe" open next April or May. The second may open within a year in the West Loop and is in its "infancy." He wouldn't even hint at the concepts behind either project, yet.
Merges has already brought on Chicago native Andrew Gietzen (The Bristol, Tru, the Frontera group) to oversee the group's current projects and to develop the new ones. He credits his "deep bench" of trained chefs that alleviate worry when people do ultimately move on, and indicates that the Las Vegas Yusho location has been a big help in developing chefs to move to Chicago. He hints that this trend will continue for "other cities, for other projects."