Kevin Kelley is a man whose desire was to create an experience not only that he can be proud of but something his employees and guests can both be proud of. For a while, he was the guy in the background but after a viral video gained tracks, Kevin officially became the face of his brand. As the owner of Kitchen + Kocktails, which first opened in Dallas, Texas, he curated a brand that set a standard in fine comfort food dining that eventually led him to open up a second location in Chicago, Illinois. Throughout this process, he has been able to not only employ hundreds of minorities but instill in them the pride for themselves and the business that he does. The new Downtown Chicago location will feature an elevated experience in a 10,000 square feet facility.
Kevin had this to say about transitioning from law into the restaurant industry.
Being a lawyer is my day job but like anyone else, I like to eat, drink and have a good time as well. I've got friends and we've sat around the room or a table before and I think everyone's fantasized about how cool it would be to have your own place. The opportunity presented itself several years ago and I became 50 percent owner of a restaurant. That was a successful concept and I said I liked it enough to go 100 percent and create my own.
The new Chicago location is more elevated than the Dallas location, Kevin explains.
It's like when you build your first house. It's a beautiful thing and you'll never forget it. Dallas is my base but Chicago is a second opportunity and I want to do things better. For example, Chicago is a steak city. We aren't a steak restaurant, we are a comfort food restaurant but since we're in Chicago we have tomahawk on the menu. You can get it traditional, with our jerk seasoning or with our special Asian Hennesy sauce as well.
Hear more from Kevin in the full interview below.
If you find yourself in Chicago, make sure you visit Kitchen + Kocktails and tell them QG sent you.