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4 Staff Shuffles to Know at Chicago Restaurants

Changes at Acadia, Blackbird, and more well-known industry on the move

anthony kern
Anthony Kern
Sandy Noto

GOLD COAST—A prominent longtime local restaurant owner has joined the team at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Rich Keefer, who co-owned Keefer’s in River North for nearly 13 years (now Ocean Cut), is now the general manager at the Gold Coast location of the swanky steakhouse chain, according to reps. The restaurant also has a new exec chef, Javier Fuentes, who was a sous chef here when it opened in 2012.

LINCOLN SQUARE—The forthcoming restaurant in the renovating Davis Theater has a noteworthy chef. Gilbert Langlois, who owned the shuttered Chalkboard and was opening chef at Millie’s Supper Club before exiting less than three months in, will helm the kitchen at Carbon Arc, DNAinfo reports. The project is now slated to open in November.

SOUTH LOOP—After one left to open his own restaurant and the other bounced around at multiple restaurants and bars, two high-profile staffers have returned to two-Michelin-starred Acadia. According to a news release, Jason Prah is back at Ryan McCaskey’s gem as sommelier following his opening and closing of Bascule Wine Bar (plus his joining of Fork and its forthcoming sister restaurant Knife as general manager), while oft-traveled cocktail guru Michael Simon has also rejoined as beverage director following stints at ROOF at the Wit, State & Lake, Celeste, Charcoal Bar, Qui in Austin, Carriage House, and The Bedford. The restaurant has unveiled a new bar menu that includes a banh mi with "pho" hoisin glazed pork belly and "Kentucky fried" Jidori chicken with kimchi collard greens and honey. Look for changes in the beverage menus too.

WEST LOOP—A new man is handling the cocktails at Paul Kahan’s first restaurant. Anthony Kern is the new spirits director at Blackbird, coming over from years of experience in Portland, Oregon. His new drinks include the "Fermi Paradox" (a play on a Brazilian lemonade) and the "Mists of 846" (a twist on a Rob Roy made with heavily peated Islay scotch and house-smoked salt). Also look for a variety of boozy punches.

Davis Theater

4614 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (773) 784-0893

Esquire Champagne Room

58 E Oak St, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 846-6575 Visit Website


614 North 2nd Street, , PA 19123 (267) 324-5224 Visit Website


1639 South Wabash Avenue, , IL 60616 (312) 360-9500 Visit Website