ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

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!

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Page 61 of 147

TALENT PATROL Sommelier Don Sritong expands into the dining scene with Coppervine. Sritong is banking that Chicagoans will embrace Coppervine, his comfort-food destination in Lincoln Park that features suggested beer, wine, and cocktail pairings with every dish. "I want to bring food pairing to the masses," Sritong says. "I set out nine years ago with Just Grapes to make the wine-buying process simple, fun, and functional. I want to do the same with food and beverage pairings." Although high-end local restaurants like Tru and Alinea already do such pairings, Sritong says it's hard to find at the $50 price point for a meal and a couple of drinks. "I want this to be the neighborhood restaurant where people come three days a week," says Sritong, whose two-story restaurant will feature a test kitchen upstairs for customers to try out pairings under consideration for the Wine website: main menu. "Had we done this concept 10 "I really like Cellar years ago, it would have fallen on deaf ears Tracker. It's the or we would have had to make it very highlargest database end. With the explosion of food shows on of private wine TV, everyone is labeling themselves a foodie collectors, who post notes on these days." To develop the pairings, Sritong what they think has collaborated with former Zealous chef/ about wine." owner Michael Taus, resulting in dishes like Favorite Thai: Maine lobster mac and cheese paired with "I love Anna's a Qupé Y Block Chardonnay, Delirium Asian Bistro & Tremens ale, or a cocktail made with Milagro Sushi Bar. It's Silver tequila, Aperol, lemon, and honey. super-authentic. When you say The son of Thai immigrants, Sritong says Thai spicy, he constantly craved hot dogs and hamburgit's Thai spicy." ers in an effort to assimilate. "My mom didn't know how to cook American food," Sritong says. "Her hamburger had Thai spices and chili paste. I look back and say, 'Shame on me,' since I was exposed to so many great foods at a young age." Years later, Sritong learned about food and wine pairings while waiting tables as a student at University of California, Davis. A chance encounter with a job recruiter from KendallJackson changed everything. After moving through the BOUTIQUE WINE STORE OWNER DON SRITONG BRINGS HIS ranks at Kendall-Jackson, Sritong sold wine to ZagatEXPERTISE TO THE RESTAURANT WORLD. BY DAWN REISS rated restaurants for Kobrand Corporation. Then he rode the Australian wine wave with Constellation Brands before opening his wine boutique Just Grapes, ike many wine connoisseurs, Don Sritong is also a passionate foodie. which recently relocated from the West Loop to the Gold Coast. "If it were up to me, I would have done it a year ago," Sritong says of open"I've always felt strongly that wine should never stand alone—it's always better with great food," says Sritong, who honed his skills as a ing Coppervine. "The economy has finally taken a turn. Chicagoans have sommelier at Kendall-Jackson, Kobrand Corporation, and Constellation really evolved their outlook on dining and are ready to take on the concept Brands before opening the wine shop Just Grapes. "But it takes more than that wine, beer, and cocktails can be paired with food to elevate both." 1962 Halsted St.; MA passion to jump over the line and make it a business." INSIGHT L 60 PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANTHONY TAHLIER Pair Master MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 060_MA_SP_TP_Winter2014.indd 60 11/19/13 4:43 PM

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