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  • ZAGAT: Good Stuff Eatery Opens First Chicago Location in The Loop

     

    By Sarah Freeman

    Top Chef contestant and burger expert Spike Mendelsohn opens a Chicago outpost of his popular Good Stuff Eatery tomorrow. The opening marks the beginning of a national expansion for the farm-to-table burger chain that already has three locations in DC and one in Philadelphia. Mendelsohn chose Chicago because he fell in love with the city during the filming of Top Chef, and it's also where his sister went to college. “It’s a meat and potato town with great culinary stars, and we want to be part of the scene,” he says.

    The menu will be the same as at the other locations. Highlights include the Farmhouse burger, a farm-raised beef patty that can be topped with cheese or bacon, while other signature items include the Good Stuff Melt, the Steakhouse Burger, a muenster- and cheddar-stuffed portobello burger and a free-range turkey burger. Orders of hand-cut fries can be paired with an assortment of sauces from the dipping bar. Shakes made with custard are available in creative flavors like toasted marshmallow, red velvet and Vietnamese coffee.

    Down the road, Mendelsohn may add a Chicago-style hot dog or burgers named after local celebrities. During the 2014 Chicago Gourmet Hamburger Hop, Good Stuff Eatery won the judge’s choice award with its Prez Obama Burger, which also appears on the opening menu.

    The space will feature hardwood floors, whitewashed wood paneling, a marble barista station, a communal table and country-inspired chandeliers. Hours are Sunday though Thursday from 11 AM to 9 PM and Friday to Saturday from 11 AM to 10 PM. Flip through the slide show for a look at a few of the burgers.


  • Time Out Chicago

     



  • The Hottest Restaurants in Chicago Right Now, February 2015

     

    Good Stuff Eatery

    Former Top Cheffer Spike Mendelsohn has joined the local burger wars and the early word is positive. Try the Hamburger Hop-winning Prez Obama Burger.


  • What You Need to Know About the Chicago Dining Scene This Week

     

    Burgers, big moves, and a very literal dive bar.
    BY CARRIE SCHEDLER

     

    OPEN NOW: We may not know if the city will be home to President Obama’s library yet, but we do now have his burger—the first Chicago location of D.C.-based Good Stuff Eatery (22 S. Wabash, Loop, 312-854-3027) is open and serving their Prez Obama Burger (bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort, horseradish mayo) and Michelle Melt (a turkey burger with swiss, caramelized onions, and herbed mayo) in the First Family’s hometown.


  • A New Place You Can Eat Burgers Inside Of

     

    The Obama Presidential Library may or may not ever come to Chicago.

    But one thing is for certain: his presidential hamburger will.

    Cue Good Stuff Eatery, the DC-based maker of burgers, the likes of which are favored by a certain leader of the free world (in case you give a sh*t), opening tomorrow in the Loop. (See the slideshow here.)

    The man behind this is one Spike Mendelsohn, the affable Top Chef alum who has made a name for himself with his take on the humble burger and fries.

    The inside’s nice, but nothing too fancy. Tall ceilings, whitewashed barn wood, leather-lined booths. The kind of place you just kind of tumble into whenever you want a lunch that requires the use of multiple napkins and/or malt vinegar.

    You have 13 burgers to choose from. The Spike’s Sunnyside is all bacon and eggs and brioche bun, but start with the basic Farmhouse burger and work your way up. Your fries are topped with rosemary and thyme. There are Creamsicle floats and milkshakes with flavors ranging from red velvet to a toasted-marshmallow gelée.

    Which sounds suspiciously French.


  • Eater: Inside Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery, Opening Tomorrow in the Loop

     

    by Brett Hickman , photos by Barry Brecheisen Jan 27 2015

     

    The first 50 customers in line will be gifted with one free mini milk shake per month for a year.

    Spike Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery will join the growing number of interloping burger shops invading Chicago when it opens at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow in the Loop. Mendelsohn, a former Top Chef contestant, began Good Stuff in Washington D.C. and is intending to take the burgeoning (currently at 5 locations) chain national in time.

    When customers enter Good Stuff Eatery, they will be greeted by a giant cowbell along with an even bigger portrait of Mendelsohn before being herded into line. From there they can order from the 13 available burger choices (priced between $6.50 and $8.50). The selections include Mendelsohn's Hamburger Hop-winning Prez Obama Burger (applewood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo sauce).

    Additionally, any burger can be turned into a chicken sandwich and they also feature 4 different wedge salads, as well as onion petals, chili and fries. There's a dip bar for those fries, featuring mayo "spiked" with Sriracha, chipotle and more flavors.

    This is just the first Good Stuff Eatery Mendelsohn and franchisees Brian Dralle and Glenn Steinberg have planned for Chicago. There's already a location targeted to launch late summer in Lincoln Park. It's also possible that Mendelsohn's We, the Pizza may land in Chicago at some point.

    Look over the space in the slideshow and get ready to sample the burgers, fries and shakes at Chicago's newest imported burger shop. And if you're the type that loves freebies, the location will reward the first 50 customers in line with a gratis mini milk shake every month for a year when they open tomorrow morning.



  • Good Stuff Eatery Promises 'Farm Fresh' Burgers in the Loop

     

    DOWNTOWN — Former "Top Chef" contestant Spike Mendelsohn may have a Michelin Star background, but the burger joint he's bringing to Chicago will keep it casual.

    Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery will open its first Chicago restaurant Wednesday at 22 S. Wabash Ave. in Jewelers Row.

    Mendelsohn, 34, grew up in Quebec and Florida with restaurateur parents who specialized in fine dining. He began visiting Chicago while his sister attended Columbia College, and told DNAinfo Chicago he's always admired the "great foodie scene" here.

    He even competed against Chicago's own Stephanie Izard during the fourth season of "Top Chef."

    Yet after the show — and stops at Michelin-rated restaurants in France, Vietnam, and New York (among other locales) — Mendelsohn says he grew tired of high cuisine.

    He opened the first Good Stuff Eatery in 2008 in Washington, D.C. The Jewelers Row restaurant opening Wednesday is the fifth store in the minichain, which he hopes to expand aggressively soon.

    "We're trying to go national," Mendelsohn said. "We love our brand and what we do."

    With so many upscale burger concepts entering Chicago, Mendelsohn said he hoped to distinguish Good Stuff Eatery with locally-sourced ingredients, including Illinois cattle and Wisconsin cheese.

    He ages a childhood favorite, quebecois potatoes, for six months to give them a sweeter taste, and leaves the skin on the fries for more flavor, he explained at a preview Tuesday.

    Additional selling points the Top Chef is banking on include gourmet milkshakes and a "mayo bar" with Sriracha and Chipotle-infused flavors.

    The burgers range in price from $6.50 to $8.50. Guests can add a fry and soda for another $4.45, or $6.45 for fries and a shake.

    One of his creations, the Prez Obama Burger with applewood bacon and Roquefort cheese, won the judges' prize at September's Hamburger Hop in Chicago.

    "There's so many burger places, it's hard to compare all of them," he said.

    Mendelsohn has since scratched his fine-dining itch by opening Béarnaise, also in Washington.

    With that out of the way, he says his next step will be taking his fast-casual concepts national.

    For the first time, he sold Chicago rights to franchisees Brian Dralle and Glenn Steinberg.

    Mendelsohn also has a pizza concept, "We, The Pizza," that he says he hopes to import here.

    Dralle said he's a Mendelsohn fan, and hopes to open more of the restaurants in neighborhoods like River North, the Gold Coast, and other Loop thoroughfares like LaSalle Street.

    "I watched his show and visited D.C. quite a bit," Dralle said. "The food was amazing."

    Doors open at 11 a.m. Wednesday.


  • Splash - Sun Times

     

    Splash - Sun Times 

    Thanks to a slew of shows like “Top Chef,” “Life After Top Chef,” “Top Chef All-Stars,” “MasterChef,” “Iron Chef America” — the list goes on and on — celebrity chefs have become the latest superstars.

    But when Spike Mendelsohn, 34, decided to enter the culinary scene, foodie stardom wasn’t on his mind at all. “I became a chef the old, traditional way, before reality TV competitions,” he says. “My aspiration was to open up one restaurant and have a couple Michelin stars. … Then ‘Top Chef’ came along and crushed all those dreams.”

    ‘Crushed’ is hardly the right word: After finishing fifth on “Top Chef’s” Chicago-set season 4 in 2008, Mendelsohn headed to Washington, D.C. to parlay his burgeoning fame into a burger joint, Good Stuff Eatery. He’ll open the spot’s first Chicago outpost at 22 S. Wabash Jan. 28 — a stylish 72-seat diner — and follow it up quickly with a second shop in Lincoln Park at the end of summer. The all-American concept has garnered waves of praise and press coverage, most notably when Mendelsohn debuted the Prez Obama burger — a combination of applewood bacon, red onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo that won top spot at Chicago Gourmet’s Hamburger Hop last year.

     

    Following his first success, Mendelsohn proceeded to cut the ribbons on several other D.C. spots, including We, The Pizza, an aptly dubbed pizza parlor; The Sheppard, a speakeasy; and Béarnaise, a chic French restaurant. He’s also swung open the doors to three other Good Stuff Eatery locations on the East Coast. But Chicago remains a sweetspot for Mendelsohn: His sister went to Northwestern University and his development partner for Good Stuff, Brian Dralle, is a Chicago native who was itching to set up shop in the city. “[Chicago is] a meat-and-potatoes kind of town,” says Mendelsohn. “It’s got a great food scene.”

    It’s tough to imagine a restaurant more American than Good Stuff — think burgers, hand-cut fries, hand-spun milkshakes, farm-fresh ingredients and a selection of local brews on tap — which is ironic, given that Mendelsohn was born in Montreal and cut his teeth working at Pepin Restaurant, his parents’ Spanish fine-dining hot spot in Florida. “I grew up in restaurants,” he explains. “I was a dishwasher, I did all the nitty-gritty [jobs]. But becoming a chef was the last thing I wanted to do growing up. It wasn’t as glamorous as it is now.” Mendelsohn laughs: “It was long hours — still long hours. It was working holidays — still working holidays, too.”

    That early reluctance to become a chef shifted when Mendelsohn’s grandfather became ill, and his parents left the then 18-year-old in charge of the kitchen. A year later, the kitchen ran more smoothly than ever before. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do [with my life],” he remembers. “[My parents] said, ‘Why don’t you stick around another year and we’ll send you to culinary school?’… I thought it was a joke, but they held up their end of the bargain and I held up mine.”

    The deal was enough to seal Mendelsohn’s fate. He attended The Culinary Institute of America in 2004, which he credits for giving him the confidence to pursue cooking. “It made me feel like I had something a little different,” he says.

    It’s yet another understatement from Mendelsohn; while he’s built a brand slinging burgers and fries, he’s proved his mettle in some of the toughest gourmet kitchens in the world. During his culinary school years, the young chef jetted off to Europe to work at the famed Château Les Crayères, tucked away in a castle in northern France. “That was an intense experience, big time,” he remembers. “I begged for eight months on the phone with a French chef to get that position. I’m the only American walking through the door, and they instantly called me ‘L’américain.’ They really put it to me. They didn’t let me just stroll right in and think I was awesome, they put me in check and embarrassed me and made me learn a lot of those hard lessons. But after about two months of initiation, they accepted me as [one of] their own.”

    In 2005, the globetrotting gourmand left France for the California countryside, working in Napa Valley at Bouchon before switching coasts to join the famous Le Cirque in New York.

    But it was “Top Chef” that unlocked Mendelsohn’s full potential: Though he began as a culinary purist with no eyes on fame, he’s since carved out a niche for himself, thanks to his charming personality and trademark fedoras. Now, his rock-star status continues to rise: He’s launched a private events company in D.C., where he currently resides, and is simultaneously taking his burger empire global. “We just signed an international expansion [deal] for Good Stuff Eatery in Saudi Arabia,” he says. “There happens to be a huge burger boom going on [there] right now.”

    Mendelsohn hasn’t given up on TV, either. Last year, he moved from show competitor to figurehead, helming programs like FYI’s “Midnight Feast” and “Late Nite Chef Fight.” But, female fans, prepare to be disappointed: The wunderkind chef is spoken for. “I am seeing somebody,” he admits, before adding a humorous aside: “If you can’t be near the one you love, love the one you’re near. … I’m just playing! My grandfather used to say that to me, [it was] one of his little schticks.”

    Despite already earning accolades here at the Hamburger Hop and garnering a fawning female fan base (Cosmopolitan magazine even spotlighted his dating tips), Mendeslohn is determined not to get a big head. He never saw fame coming and recognizes the spotlight’s fleeting nature, so he stays focused on the food, saying, “You never know when the idea of rock-star chefs is going to go away.”


  • Eater Chicago

     

     

     

     

     

  • Chicago Tribune


  • Spike Mendelsohn on CBS The Dish

     

  • Chicago Magazine

     

     


  • Drexel to Host Second Philly Chef Conference

     

    By Arthur Etchells  |  November 13, 2014

    Drexel University’s Center for Hospitality and Sports Management is hosting its second Philly Chef Conference. The two-day event takes place on Sunday and Monday, January 11th and 12th and will bring renowned chefs, restaurateurs, purveyors and food writers from across the city and region to come together to discuss issues facing the restaurant industry as well as new food trends, products and techniques.

    The second day of the conference will be dedicated to hospitality and restaurant professionals. Participants will learn about writing a cookbook, opening a second restaurant, rebounding from a bad review, developing a menu and more. Panelists will include Craig LaBan (Philadelphia Inquirer), Bill Mignucci (DiBruno Bros.), Bryan Mayer (Kensington Quarters), Kristina Burke (Drexel), Joe Beddia (Pizzeria Beddia), Spike Mendelsohn and many others. Check out all of the panels on Drexel's Philly Chef Conference web site.

    Read more.

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