Peter Ranvestel and Bettina Chang | Chicago Magazine | June 19th, 2017
Don’t assume that Tapster (2027 W. North Ave., Wicker Park), the self-service drinking hole without bartenders, removes the human element from a business. If our recent visit is any indication, the opposite is true.
The bar was bustling this weekend, with some people stepping inside just to figure out how the heck it all worked. Customers pay by the ounce and can choose from 40 different beers, plus some wines, kombucha beers, and a dozen craft cocktails. Some have used this freedom to create their own tasty mixed-beer concoctions. And, the short pours and tasting-room feel gives people more of an excuse to mingle and chat about different brews with fellow patrons or a number of helpful employees on the floor. There’s also a small food counter in the back.
Chicago, IL – Anticipating an influx of restaurant product to hit the market in 2017, the SVN Restaurant Resource Group has tapped four new advisors to work within the specialty practice. This represents a two-fold increase in personnel over the last calendar year.
“We are very excited about the depth of our bench and the expanded diversity of our backgrounds.” states founding team member Marcus Sullivan. “We all know the restaurant business, obviously, but now can tap Advisors with particular expertise that best correlate with specific, niche assignments.”
“We anticipate a large influx of restaurant space to hit the market in 2017 due to markets trending away from sit-down towards fast-casual.” says founding team member Jim Martin. “The extra bodies will ensure we’re prepared to help our clients adjust and take advantage of the shifts in the marketplace.”
Here’s a rundown of the Restaurant Resource Group’s recent talent acquisitions:
Scott Reinish brings eight years of commercial real estate experience, formerly an Associate with Chicago-based Kudan Group, Inc., specializing in restaurant/bar leasing and brokerage. Mr. Reinish has overseen a wide array of niche retail transactions including nightclub venues, restaurant concepts and business sales.
Christian Peppler joined SVN in 2015 after five years at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank specializing in retail and office tenant representation. In early 2016, Mr. Peppler began working alongside the Restaurant Resource Group, with a focus on mixed-use and retail properties situated in upscale retail corridors.
Tim Anderson joined SVN Restaurant Resource Group in December 2016, bringing ten years of food & beverage management experience. A native to Phoenix, AZ, Mr. Anderson has developed numerous restaurant concepts, while also overseeing business development, resort management and beverage consulting.
Shane Sackett recently completed a part-time internship with SVN, going on to earn his Real Estate Broker’s License and accepting a full-time position as Associate Advisor. Shane is responsible for business development, marketing and financial analysis. Mr. Sackett is currently a senior at DePaul University, with concentrations in Finance & Real Estate.
(Chicago, IL) – SVN’s Restaurant Resource Group is on pace for another record breaking year of restaurant transactions. During the first half of 2016, the group consummated a resounding 19 lease and sale assignments. That trend is expected to continue throughout the year.
According to SVN Restaurant Resource Group’s Marcus Sullivan, “We absolutely anticipated this. An unprecedented number of inbound calls came in towards the end of 2015…Today, many of those calls are now executed deals.” According to Sullivan, there are no signs of this trend abating, adding, “And the phones are still ringing.”
Restaurant owners are seeking advisory due in part to pressure on rental rates originating from the 2000’s, when retail supply in prime locations (particularly in the ‘up-and-coming’ corridors such as the West Loop, Bucktown, Pilsen, Andersonville, etc.) was less scarce. Market data shows 2016 retail vacancy continued to contract throughout Chicago, marking three consecutive quarters of positive absorption. City retail vacancies are currently hovering around 7.3%, while suburban submarkets fared equally well, with 616k SF of positive absorption resulting in vacancies of 7.9%.
Legislation passed by the City of Chicago has further generated interest from restaurant operators and developers, looking to better understand opportunities and implications. For instance, many have applauding Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s approving the TOD ordinance, which allows for higher density developments within a quarter-mile of a public transit station and up a half-mile from “pedestrian designated streets.”
“We’re also fielding inquiries from clients who don’t necessarily have an immediate need, but rather just want to talk through some zoning changes or proposed incentives they read about in the paper,” Sullivan says, “many just have a sense that the iron is hot.”
If the first half of 2016 was any indication – all signs point to another landmark year for SVN’s Restaurant Resource Group.
The SVN Restaurant Resource Group provides first-in-class services to clients in the food service and hospitality industry. Landlords, restaurants, nightclubs, bakeries, caterers, hotels, food processors and manufacturers rely on the experience, local market knowledge, industry relationships and technology advantages possessed by this highly-specialized team of commercial real estate professionals. SVN has over 200 offices throughout the US, Mexico and Canada.
This isn’t a dream, West Loop wine lovers. Multilevel wine temple the Lunatic, the Lover & the Poet (736 W. Randolph St., 312-775-0069) comes to Restaurant Row in late August.
Managing partner/sommelier Tom Powers hopes his A Midsummer Night’s Dream-inspired spot will stoke as much passion for vino among Chicagoans as cocktails.
“At most places, either wines or cocktails take the lead,” says Powers. “We have elected to bring cocktails and wine to forefront together.”
The bar features 21 wines on tap, another 30 (15 upstairs, 15 downstairs) by the glass, and 200 bottles. Half are American wines, 40 percent are classic European, and the rest avantgarde. On the “provincial”-style first floor, with a 15-seat bar and 40-seat dining room, wines start at $10 a glass. Upstairs in the more posh lounge, which seats 50 (plus a 40-seat private dining room), wines start at $15 a glass. Got all that?
Steve Carrow (Naha, Brindille) is helming the cocktail program, which focuses on modern interpretations of the classics. And, in what Powers calls a likely first for the nation, each will list alcohol by volume.
The team tapped longtime Spiaggia vet Erik Freeberg (also of Bar Toma) as executive chef, whose small plates and a few entrées will be identical on both floors. Freeberg’s “devilish riffs on classic wine bar cuisine” may include Tunisian-style lamb meatballs braised in tomato and harissa, served with pomegranate molasses, schug, and minty yogurt.
There will be no dessert, only cheese—a mix of classic European and unique American styles, like the wines. “We all love cheese and don’t know much about it other than it’s delightful,” Powers says.
Call us lunatics, but did he just make “no dessert” sound enticing?