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Meet Martin Murch and John Mclean of Good Eats Restaurant Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Martin Murch and John Mclean.

Good Eats Restaurant Group was created to develop various restaurant concepts led by John and Martin. First launched in August 2010, the brands showcase the collaborative, chef-inspired partnership between the owners. Currently, the brands operating under the Good Eats Group umbrella are:

 Burger Bar Chicago – Lincoln Park & South Loop locations
 Sono Wood Fired – Lincoln Park
 café Press – Printers Row
 Sociale – Printers Row
John has been in the restaurant industry for 30 years with a resume consisting of Vice President and Chef d’ Cuisine for Levy Restaurants for the 20 years. John was an integral part of growing the company from a humble $50,000,000.00 in annual sales to $750,000,000.00 over his tenure with Levy Restaurants. John has been involved in over 80 new business openings, takeovers and consulting engagements around the world. During his tenure with the company, Levy Restaurants was honor to win many industry awards including the prized James Beard Award. The company also received the Ivy Award for the best of the best in the industry.

Martin has followed his entrepreneurial and hospitality roots incorporating his vast global experiences over 28 years from his time with Hilton Worldwide, Levy Restaurants, Starbucks Corporation, Starwood Hotels and various independent restaurant operations. A graduate of the distinguished culinary institution, Johnson and Wales University, Martin graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Associate of Occupational Science degree in Culinary Arts. He complimented his studies with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Foodservice Management. The University also recognized his exceptional culinary skill and leadership skills by appointing him as a Teaching Assistant in the Culinary Arts School. Additionally, Martin received an Associate of Science in Business Finance from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. Of particular note, Martin held the Banquet Chef position for the White House [1994 – 1995] serving his distinguished fare to Presidents Reagan, President Bush, President Clinton and dignitaries from around the world.

Over the years, high-quality food, great service and a laser focus on delivering true hospitality has been the winning formula that John and Martin passionately believe in. From busboys to managers we share these standards every single day with each team member. These philosophies engender long-term guest satisfaction and repeat traffic. Regardless of economic conditions, restaurants delivering great quality food and service at a fair price will continue to prosper. By the same token, delicious food at affordable prices in a comfortable setting never goes out of style.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
All business sectors have their perspective challenges and the restaurant industry has more than its fair share. As the leaders of Good Eats Group, we face challenges daily with sourcing qualified labor, increasing wages, rising leases, Federal, State and Local tax burdens and physical plant maintenance. Margins are very low so to mitigate difficult times and situations from arising we revisit our Strategy & Business Plan and attempt to keep our focus on delivering results against these business obstacles.

Please tell us about Good Eats Group, Burger Bar Chicago, Sono Wood Fired, Sociale Chicago & cafe Press Chicago.
Our dedicated focus to delivery guest experiences has allowed the team and our company to build a loyal following which we are very proud to have these guests support our locations.
The staple of the Good Eats Group brands. As the name suggests, we feature craft burgers and craft beer with several fun, contemporary menu items to fill in the gaps. The food is fresh, interesting and delicious. These are hand-crafted unique burgers using fresh, wholesome, politically-correct proteins such as chicken, turkey, pork, shrimp, tuna and American hormone and antibiotic-free ground beef. Snacks and sides are a significant part of the menu with choices such as fresh-cut truffle fries, sweet potato tots, Bacon Lollipops, grilled Sassy Wings, our famous Fried Pickles and three varieties of incredible mac and cheese. Large chopped salads and hand-spun shakes round out the food experience at Burger Bar. Cool, edgy, fun and inviting, we serve simple but unique familiar foods with an urban twist that anyone can sink their teeth into.
Authentic Tuscany-influenced Italian cuisine featuring house-made pasta’s, hand-crafted wood-fired pizza, antipasti and an inviting wine bar. Seasonal flavors of fresh ingredients set the tone in the welcoming rustic décor. This concept is set for the true Italian food and pizza connoisseurs, and since our opening, we have received 4 Michelin Recommendations that simply reinforce our focus on quality and thoughtful preparation of our food, wine selection, and handcrafted cocktails.

Reflects the Good Eats Group DNA of fun, friendly, fresh, neighborhood inspired dining. Literally translated from the Italian word for Social, these concepts deliver bold flavors through small and shared plates accented by its community and casual dining setting. To accompany these seasonal flavors of our global travels will be our handcrafted beverages and wine offerings from around the world. To further leveraging the history of Printers Row, Sociale will entice the guests with delicious and innovative food in a modern, comfortable, fun, edgy, urban setting. The design incorporates earthy materials such as reclaimed regional woods, anodized metals, actual La Salle Street pavers and iron wrappings to name a few of the elements.
Staying true to the Good Eats Group vision of fresh, quality driven concepts, this historical driven style, urban-influenced micro-roasting coffee house incorporates the legacy of Printers Row. The café features BLOCK style lettering from antique printing presses, actual newspaper line the wall dating back to 1913 a while accenting true coffee brewing from the Pour Overs to French Press. The Teas are hand blended and perfectly steeped. Reflecting the Printer’s Row neighborhood, this concept will showcase General Store features of antique tin, wood tables & chairs, blackboards, box letter holders and woven baskets as key components. Collectively, these components create the inviting third place for coffee & tea enthusiasts or neighborhood residents to visit, mingle or conduct business.

AWARDS & ACCOLADES:
Good Eats Group
“Best New Business Near South Planning Board City of Chicago”
Time Out Finalist for all locations

Sono Wood Fired:
“4 years Michelin Recommended”
“Best Pizza” – Chicago Best
“Best Pizza in Chicago” – Chicago Magazine
“Hungry Hound Award”
Zagat Rated
“Top Pizza Restaurant Chicago” – Rewards Network
Time Out Love – Finalist

Burger Bar Chicago:
“Best New Burger Restaurant Chicago” –
“Top Burger” – Chicago Burger Review
“Best Burger Restaurant Chicago” – Chicago Best
“Best Fried Pickles Chicago” – Red Eye
“Steakhouse Stacker” – Reader
“Best Vegetable Burger Chicago” – Vegetarian Society of Chicago and Illumine Magazine
“Best and Most Outrageous Burger Restaurant Illinois” – Yahoo Travel
Top 38 in the Globe – Burger Business
“Best Mac & Cheese” – Chicago Tribune
“Hot & Smokey mixes my two favorite things and does it well” – The Chicago Burger Review
“10 Best Thanksgiving Burgers in the Country” – Burger Business
Time Out LOVE – Award Winner
Zomato – Best Resturants – Chicago

Sociale:
“6th Best New Restaurant Chicago” – CS Magazine
“Top Restaurants Chicago” – Cranes
“Top 10 Best Brunches” – Luxury Magazine
Chicago Gourmet – Chef Tasting Pavillion
Time Out LOVE – Runner Up

café Press:
Time Out LOVE – Finalist

What sets us apart from other company is our collaborative style engaging all of our team members to participate in all aspects of the business. Our group constantly cross utilizes anyone that expresses a desire to grow and learn other skills. We are honored that a few of our key managers left the company for potential better opportunities only to return and join the team again.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Spending time enjoying the outdoors, attending concerts, trying new food to taste and prepare. Sailing, Skeet Shooting, Camping. motorcycle riding and Kayaking were such “high on life” activities.

Pricing:

  • Join our exclusive Mug Club at Burger Bar Chicago today and start the “best beer day of your life”! Here is how it works: Fill this out, return it to us and we will add a $40 annual membership on your tab. $5 cash back for signing up today • $10 cash back for every $125 spend at any Good Eats Group location • Wednesday is “Mug Club Day” all Mug Clubbers get their mug filled with amazing beers on tap for only $4.
  • Join our exclusive Stem Society Club at Sono Wood Fired & Sociale today and start the “best wine day of your life”! Here is how it works: Fill this out, return it to us and we will add a $50 annual membership on your tab. $5 cash back for signing up today • $10 cash back for every $125 spend at any Good Eats Group location • Thursday is “Wine Flights and Little Bites” at the bar every from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. We offer three select wine tastings paired with three small plates $20
  • Join our exclusive Press Pass today and start your day with the finest brewed coffee, tea, fresh pastries, paninis, soups and baked goods in the city. Here is how it works: Fill this out, return it to us and we will add a $25 annual membership on your tab. • $5 cash back for signing up today • $10 cash back for every $125 spend at any Good Eats Group location

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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