Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!
Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/138854
RIGHT: Marc Schulman (with Stephen Kerrigan and David Cusack) cuts a 500-pound Eli's cheesecake commissioned for President Obama's inaugural gala. such as Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Sean Connery, and Frank Sinatra. It wasn't long before Eli decided he wanted to create a signature item, something he could sell outside the restaurant—and Marc is awfully glad it went the way it did. "I always say that I feel very fortunate that it was cheesecake. My dad's restaurant was known for steak, calf's liver, chopped liver, and potato pancakes—and I don't think they would have had the broad base appeal that cheesecake did." In 1984, Marc took a leave of absence from practicing law to help develop the newest family business—Eli's Cheesecake Co. "My parents always wanted my education to come first, and they were so proud of me for going to college and to law school. I enjoyed representing others, but it was a real honor to continue the legacy." Today, Marc and his team have helped elevate Eli's signature dish to new heights of popularity. You can find it at the Taste of Chicago, Eli's Cheesecake World bakery and café on the city's northwest side, its location in the United terminal at O'Hare airport, or shipped anywhere in the world from the website. It is a Chicago icon known internationally. While the recipes for the original and chocolate chip cheesecakes haven't changed over the years, Eli's has stayed fresh with hundreds of new, tempting flavors and a handful of handmade fruit tarts and luscious layer cakes—all created in small batches (not industrialized production) and with only wholesome ingredients (no artificial ingredients and no preservatives). Eli's also uses local ingredients: The Honey Mediterranean Cheesecake is made with Wisconsin ricotta and honey produced by the student beekeepers from Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. A portion of the sales go toward a college scholarship fund for deserving seniors. That is one of many ways that Eli's Cheesecake Co. gives back. Marc is a former chairman of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association and was the founding chairman of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. He also works closely to support other local organizations whenever the opportunity arises. Says Marc, "One of the initiatives I'm really proud of is that at the holidays we give all of our 210 employees the opportunity to take cakes to the charity of their choice. The only thing we ask is that they deliver it themselves." When asked about his decision to leave law behind, Marc has no regrets: "If I had stayed practicing law, somebody might ask me: 'Who was Eli? I hear he had a cheesecake— can you make it anymore?' I'm very fortunate that the story continues today." MA SLICE OF LIFE Marc Schulman shares his Chicago inspirations. Morning Routine "The bakery is a 24-hour business, so I get up to watch Morning Joe at 5 AM and play with our two cats, Pip and the Baby, before leaving for work." Summer in the City "I live in Streeterville, so [I'm] very happy to have a day when my wife, Maureen, and I can walk around the neighborhood. [We] enjoy lunch at NoMI Garden, walking the Magnificent Mile, and strolling on the lakefront or to Museum Campus." Architecture Expert "If I have guests from out of town, [I take] them on Chicago's First Lady for the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. I became a docent for the foundation when I was a senior in high school." PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIM KLEIN (FACTORY, OPPOSITE PAGE); MAUREEN SCHULMAN (INAUGURATION) Sweet Spot ABOVE: All of Eli's cheesecakes are made in small batches with local ingredients. RIGHT: The lemon mixedberry cheesecake. "Seneca Park is across the street from what was the site of Eli's The Place for Steak and is now the home of Lurie Children's Hospital. In 1988, Eli M. Schulman Playground was named for my father, and we led a campaign to reconstruct the park and build the playground. Twenty-three years since it was completed in 1990—who could imagine that it would now be bordered by American Girl at Water Tower Place, Prentice Women's Hospital, and Lurie Children's?" MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 054-055_MA_SP_VFT_SUMMER13.indd 55 55 6/18/13 12:13 PM