Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 75

interview: the melmans
By Alia Akkam Photography by Anjali Pinto

perspectives

the kids are alright
“As a kid, you don’t realize your dad’s not like other dads. I just remember thinking he was pretty special,” reflects Jerrod Melman. For Jerrod, older brother R.J., and younger sister Molly, growing up with Rich Melman as a father meant a vibrant childhood where visits to restaurants were as commonplace as play time. “We probably ate out more than average families,” R.J. jokes. Surely they enjoyed a number of restaurant meals, considering the senior Melman is the man who transformed Chicago’s dining scene with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (initially with the late Jerry A. Orzoff). The influential restaurateur first made his mark in 1971 with R.J. Grunts, then went on to spawn such well-known concepts as Big Bowl, L20, Tru, and Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! that he continues to oversee today. “Lettuce Entertain You was such a part of ourselves; another part of the family. Dad was always talking about restaurants,” says R.J.

Dark, atmospheric French bistro, Paris Club.
Perhaps it was inevitable then that the brothers Melman would be so seduced by the energetic mélange of menus, crowds, and ambiance the restaurant life inspires that it would prompt them to embark on their own hospitality ventures. And in a few short years they have proven they are just as resourceful, hard-working, and detail-oriented as their dad. “Both of us had jobs in the industry since we were in our early teens (R.J. bussed tables and ran food at the former Bub City; Jerrod started off as a busboy at the original Maggiano’s). By the time we ended college we knew there was nothing else,” says R.J. “Jerrod was managing Osteria Via Stato [a LEYE restaurant] and I was managing a restaurant in Las Vegas. I had some downtime, so I started working at Osteria. We just had a good time and it led to a discussion.” For three and a half years they hatched a plan to open a boisterous

Rich Melman’s ambitious kids: Jerrod, Molly, and R.J.
River North restaurant serving modern American cuisine. Hub 51 made its debut in 2008, under the Lettuce Entertain You brand banner—like all their projects—with the nightclub Sub 51 below. Next, they set their sights on Santa Monica, California, opening the seasonally driven M Street Kitchen (“Our partner had a location; that’s how we ended up in LA,” says R.J.) before returning to Chicago to unveil the urban bistro Paris Club a few doors down from Hub 51. “Everything we’ve done is to pursue what we are passionate about. Hub was everything we wanted a restaurant to be; Paris Club was because we wanted French food,” says Jerrod. After heading back to Santa Monica to open Stella Rossa Pizza Bar, the Melmans decided to keep the Italian streak going back home with RPM Italian. “In Chicago there are plenty of long-time red sauce

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August 2012

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hospitality Design - August 2012

Hospitality Design - August 2012
Contents
Online Contents
From the Editor
From the Show Director
People
Sketchbook
Trends
Competition
Interviews
Jason Wu
Kenneth Cobonpue
HD Boutique Preview
Lighting
Seating
Mirrors
Design-Driven Chefs
Tori Tori
Inbi
Brio
Churrascos
Balena
Back Space
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Intro
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Hospitality Design - August 2012
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Cover2
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 1
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 2
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 3
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 4
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 5
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 6
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 7
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 8
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 9
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 10
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 11
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 12
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 13
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 14
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 15
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 16
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 17
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 18
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Contents
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 20
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 21
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 22
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 23
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 24
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 25
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 26
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Online Contents
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 28
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 29
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - From the Editor
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 31
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - From the Show Director
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 33
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 34
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 35
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - People
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 37
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 38
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 39
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 40
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 41
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 42
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Sketchbook
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 44
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 45
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 46
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 47
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 48
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 49
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 50
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 51
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 52
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 53
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 54
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 55
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 56
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Trends
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 58
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 59
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 60
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 61
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 62
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 63
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 64
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 65
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 66
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Competition
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 68
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 69
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 70
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Interviews
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 72
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 73
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 74
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 75
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 76
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 77
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 78
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 79
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 80
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 81
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 82
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 83
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 84
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Jason Wu
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 86
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Kenneth Cobonpue
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - HD Boutique Preview
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 89
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 90
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 91
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 92
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Lighting
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 94
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 95
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 96
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Seating
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 98
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 99
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 100
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Mirrors
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 102
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Design-Driven Chefs
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 104
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 105
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 106
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 107
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 108
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 109
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Tori Tori
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 111
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 112
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 113
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 114
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 115
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Inbi
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 117
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 118
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 119
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Brio
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 121
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 122
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 123
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Churrascos
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 125
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 126
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 127
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Balena
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 129
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 130
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 131
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 132
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 133
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 134
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 135
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Back Space
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Cover3
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Cover4
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