Ready to do some good, Chicago? We’re Jessica and Amanda, and we’re working with Groundwork Opportunities (GO) to help put an end to world hunger. Swing by River North’s Rockit Bar & Grill on May 16 from 6:00-8:00pm to drink, mingle, and support GO’s incredible mission: investing in groundbreaking ideas, empowering local leaders, and engaging communities to create a world beyond poverty.
All the proceeds of this event will go directly to a small village in Malawi, Africa, allowing them to purchase agricultural equipment, seeds, and any other necessary materials to start a farm. The fundraising goal is $5,000, which is enough to cover everything the village needs to begin growing food and providing jobs.
The event includes two hours of unlimited beer and wine, as well as two specially crafted cocktails. Food will also be available at a 50% discount. Cubs and Sox tickets, signed Blackhawks memorabilia, one-month fitness memberships, and several other items will be available through a silent auction.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. To purchase tickets, click here. You can also watch our video or donate here. If Chicago can help a village in Malawi, who knows the impact that the ripple effect will have!
Tags: africa, blackhawks, charity, cubs, empowering local leaders, fight hunger, GO for Malawi, Groundwork Opportunities, hunger charity in Chicago, local charity event in Chicago, Malawi, river north, rockit bar & grill, silent auction, Sox, world hunger
Hey, I’m Doug Simons, a restaurant broker who has been placing some of Chicago’s top restaurant and nightclub operators in business for many years and my partner, Ted Widen who owns ChicagoScene.com, and I are throwing a huge pub crawl in River North called Craft Crawl River North!
Chicago’s first ever Craft Crawl River North will be the largest pub crawl ever in the city’s hottest restaurant and nightlife neighborhood. This May 18th event will begin at noon and run til 9:00 p.m., and will encompass the city’s hottest venues—Rockit Bar and Grill, John Barleycorn, Public House, Bull & Bear, American Junkie, English, Mercer One Thirteen, Epic, Social 25, Moe’s Cantina, and Hubbard Inn.
The event is taglined “BEER-BOURBON-BURGERS”. Each of the 11 participating venues will offer two different Craft Beers at $4 for the day (a total of 22 different beers available) plus all the bars will also offer Gentleman Jack Whiskey drinks at $5 and each will feature its own special gourmet burger at one day only pricing.
This event is like no other—coinciding with the beginning of Chicago Craft Beer Week, this event is different than all others in that it encompasses an entire neighborhood and multiple venues, many of which will provide live entertainment and top DJ’s, or will feature grand openings of retractable rooftops.
Patrons will be encouraged to visit all participating venues and to get their “passport” stamped in order to be entered in a drawing to win a seven day Celebrity Cruise to the Caribbean or other cash prizes.
Don’t miss the first groundbreaking event in the country’s hottest entertainment neighborhood. Go to CraftCrawls.com now before Craft Crawl River North sells out!
Tags: American Junkie, Beer, Bull & Bear, burger, Caribbean, Celebrity Cruise, Chicago Craft Beer Week, Craft Crawl River North, Craftg beers, dj, Drinks, English, Epic, Gentleman Jack Whiskey, Hubbard Inn, John Barleycorn, live entertainment, Mercer One Thirteen, Moe's Cantina, night club, passport, prizes, pub crawl, Public House, restaurant, river north, rockit bar and grill, Social 25, venues
Does your big box grocery store just not cut it? Are you in the River North area and looking for a touch of class from your local grocer? Looking for a little ‘take-home’ gourmet? Looking to try any different kind of shopping experience?
Well, you’re in luck! Keep an eye out for a 4th location of the admired Chicago establishment. Look forward to seeing Chicago local favorite deli “The Goddess & Grocer” on the western edge of River North very soon. In this case, soon means…(drum roll please) … February!
The specialty shop is known for both made to order, ready to heat and eat entrée’s and delectable sweets (just to mention a few of their yummy abilities!) Guests should expect excitement over unique architectural design and delicious Goddess specialties as well!
I’d suggest maybe grabbing breakfast, lunch or even a gift basket (great Valentine’s Day Gift for Mom!!)
They also cater Valentine’s Day Dinner to your home! They suggest you to “Cheat on Dinner” by offering to make your life a little easier on lovebird’s day. Pretty cute and definitely tempting…everything just looks WAY to yummy to pass it up.
Check out the website for more specific info on the opening, to order online, to view the menu or just to browse the enticing pictures!
PS: if you get a cupcake…get me one too, please!
- Mandy Stifter
I tweet, do you?
UPDATE 10/19/12- THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN! The most voted for concept for our next venue was a play on a “Mexican Dive Bar” at 39% of the votes- so as of right now, we will proceed now in that direction!!!!! Please help us spread the word to hire the best staff for this project, and for positions available at our other Restaurants/Bars/Nightclubs…at our Open Call for Jobs this Monday 10/22/12 from 2p-530p at Rockit Bar & Grill (22 W. Hubbard). See: http://bit.ly/SAOFyP & email HR@RockitRanch.com for info.
Thank you all so much for your valuable input! More to come!***
Surprise! We found a unique opportunity and bought Martini Ranch! Not only is it one of the few 4am licenses left in the city, and walking distance from our other River North properties Sunda, Dragon Ranch, Underground & Rockit, but tons of Chicagoans from all over (like my partners Brad Young, Arturo Gomez & I) have meaningful history enjoying this local gem w/friends for the last 20+ years! Haha- I even was a bouncer there when I was 21!
So… now what? What should we do with it? We figured you all have been so critical to our success with your insightful & caring suggestions on what we can do to serve you better, that we thought we’d let you have a say too! We’d probably open it around the new year, just in time to send our late night crowd & employees there from Underground, while we give UG a fresh new look during the slower winter months of 2013. Which means we need to know what route to take now!
We will tally all votes and announce our decision in early October! Thanks all and spread the word to all your friends via Twitter, Facebook, email (please use share buttons here too).. we want to hear what they think too!
AND since we are growing- WE ARE HIRING! Positions include experienced Servers, Bartenders, Managers, Hosts, Security, Cooks, Sous Chefs, Mixologists… At Rockit, Sunda, Underground, Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ and whatever this new concept will be! Email HR@RockitRanch.com if interested!
Tags: 4am, arturo gomez, Bar, Best, billy dec, brad young, chicago, Dive Bar, Dragon Ranch, facebook, late night, Martini Ranch, New concept, restaurant, river north, rockit, rockit ranch productions, sunda, the underground, twitter, Voting
Everyone grab a Chicago Social! There’s a 3 page, 9 photo huge spread on Rockit Ranch Productions’ 10 Year Anniversary – with really fun quotes and comment by the partners and friends! Scroll through the pictures for some of the great shots featuring the Stanley Cup, Barbara Streisand, David Beckham and more! – KatieRose Cronin
“The stretch of River North that fans out from Hubbard Street and runs west from the Mag Mile to the river is a far more happening place than it was in 2002. Back then, sparsely used parking lots and adult video stores abounded. True, there were some standout restaurants—Brasserie Jo and Rick Bayless’ mini-empire on Clark Street—but a lot of vacant buildings, too.
It could be argued that what set the neighborhood on its breakneck path toward being the dining and nightlife juggernaut it is today was the 2004 opening of Rockit Bar & Grill, the jacket-free place for a power-lunch/celebrity hangout/rock bar/Sunday brunch standby that was the brainchild of Rockit Ranch Productions. This month, the company celebrates its 10th anniversary as it prepares to launch its fifth establishment, a barbecue restaurant with Asian influences called Dragon Ranch that’s slated to open at 441 N. Clark St. later this summer.
Rockit Ranch Productions now employs more than 500 people, but in 2002, when the company was brought in as partners by Le Colonial’s Joe King to make a hit out of the velvety Gold Coast nightclub Le Passage, there was only the now-familiar trio: Billy Dec, the baseball cap-wearing celeb wrangler and ubiquitous face of the operation; Brad Young, the sharp-eyed money guy who quit his dad’s investment banking firm to found Rockit; and Arturo Gomez, the youngest of the three and a smooth, suited-up nightlife natural who veered into the business on his way to dental school and never looked back.
With little more than a printer and a bank account to make things legit, the Rockit team transformed (the now closed) Le Passage from a nonstarter of a spot into the place to be by nixing the froufrou French house music in favor of mainstream music and hip-hop, switching out the staff, changing marketing tactics and finding a sweet spot between glam factor and hometown hospitality. “Not all of the owners were from around here, and they didn’t know what Chicago wanted,” says Young. “We did.” King agrees: “They were the missing link we needed, and our sales improved significantly.” Lines became a given outside Le Passage’s red-carpeted alleyway, and the Rockit guys began scouting a location for their own venture.
Young took Dec to see an old lamp factory on Hubbard Street. The place was gutted, the windows were kicked out, and there were male prostitutes lingering on the sidewalk. “When you’re used to being anchored in the Gold Coast’s plushest little room, that space seemed like a huge risk,” says Dec. “We’d take our investors to see it, and they’d keep going outside to check on their cars.”
It wasn’t like the Rockit guys didn’t know what they were doing, though. Dec was a nightlife veteran, having started as a bouncer while in law school at Kent. He later opened several nightspots, including the 17,000-square-foot Circus on Weed Street, a project Young was involved with (Gomez also came into the picture about that time, after working as a bartender in Lincoln Park and then approaching Dec for a job). They had all witnessed the inner workings of the industry, and together they realized that the clientele who’d shocked them by lining up 4,000 deep on Circus’ opening night was getting older. They were going to need a more sophisticated place to play.
Rockit Bar & Grill, with its industrial-chic design by a then almost-famous Nate Berkus, was conceived as a hybrid, “a one-stop shop,” Gomez says. Patrons could have dinner downstairs (better-than-basic comfort food like burgers with truffle fries and giant salads became Rockit’s signature), and then simply walk upstairs to play pool, drink and party in the bar. (Rockit’s Wrigleyville outpost recently evolved into “Rockit Burger Bar” to reflect the neighborhood’s ordering patterns.)
When it became clear that the concept was working, the trio decided to keep the train moving by quickly opening up spot No. 2, The Underground, a few blocks away. Since staying out until Rockit’s weekend closing times of two or three in the morning wasn’t late enough for some revelers, it made sense to snap up a nearby space with a rare 4am license that happened to be for sale at the time. Bunker-themed The Underground—inspired by a club Young had visited in Jerusalem—was an immediate hit, bolstered in part by Dec’s knack for bringing seemingly every celebrity who happened to be in Chicago through the club’s inconspicuous metal doors. A recent example: the night Jamie Foxx grabbed the mic at The Underground and belted out a tune while the cast of Glee danced around him.
Next came Sunda, the Illinois Street restaurant that marked Rockit’s leap into fine-ish dining. The exotic-looking room and the sushi-leaning menu both aim high, but with the sound system turned up and a glossy crowd that likes to hit the bar for pre-dinner cocktails, the vibe is more party than proper—unless you’re Barbra Streisand and you require a bit of privacy, in which case you’ll enjoy a quiet meal upstairs, as the singer/actress and her husband James Brolin did last summer….
To enjoy the entire article, click here!
Tags: arturo gomez, Barbara Streisand, billy dec, brad young, chicago, circus, David Beckham, Doug Wexler, Dragon Ranch, glee, Gold Coast, James Brolin, jamie foxx, Jess De Guzman, Joe King, le passage, Nate Berkus, river north, rockit bar & grill, Rockit Burger Bar, rockit ranch productions, sunda, the underground, wrigleyville
This full page picture of Rockit Ranch Partners, Billy Dec, Brad Young and Arturo Gomez, is part of a huge feature this Summer in Michigan Avenue Magazine celebrating their 10 Year Anniversary and how they led the creation of the coolest and most booming entertainment district in Chicago, which essentially means, in the world.
“When Billy Dec decided to open Rockit Ranch Productions 10 years ago with his partners Brad Young and Arturo Gomez, they tried to find something “as close as you could get to the Gold Coast without having to pay expensive rent,” Dec says. But they also wanted something distinctly different from the “sleek Euro nightclub feel” of the Viagra Triangle. While River North’s proximity to the Gold Coast, the Loop, public transit, and expressways made the area attractive, it was the sheer square footage available that made River North ideal for creative types who were trying to find unique spaces with high ceilings and lots of light. The trio found the space they were looking for in a former lamp factory on Hubbard Street, with a 75–foot skylight and unobstructed views. “Architecturally, it doesn’t get better than this,” says Dec, about the building that houses Rockit Bar & Grill.
While other restaurants and nightclubs have populated the district over the years, they were mostly one-offs. It wasn’t until Rockit Bar & Grill opened on Hubbard Street in 2004 that other restaurants took advantage of the attention it created and opened nearby, creating what today is a two-block strip of wall-to-wall restaurants. “We had trouble getting a cab those first two years,” says Dec, but the team hosted celebrity parties with partners like GQ magazine and the Black Eyed Peas “before they were big” to attract people. “And once people came out,” Dec says, “they realized the cab fare was the same as to the Gold Coast or somewhere else.”
Then Rockit focused its attention one block north to Illinois Street—opening The Underground at 56 West Illinois in 2006 (voted No. 1 nightclub in the country by Nightclub & Bar magazine in 2008), and Sunda at 110 West Illinois three years later. This ushered in the development of what is now another thriving restaurant strip on Illinois.
What they’ve done: Anchored River North as an entertainment district with the development of their trifecta of hot spots – Rockit Bar & Grill, Sunda New Asian, and The Underground nightclub – with a fourth River North venue opening this summer, Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ at 441 N Clark St., which will offer American-Asian barbecue alongside custom-distilled spirits.
Rule Breakers: Ten years ago, “There wasn’t anyone doing Kobe burgers or truffle fries,” says Dec of the vision behind Rockit Bar & Grill. “And no one was playing rock unless you were a college or sports bar. We saw the void in the middle-the highest quality of food presentation with a comfortable, cool atmosphere.” Says Young: “There really wasn’t anything like it in the city at the time, so we had a solid three years before the copycats started coming out of the woodwork. Some have come and gone, but we have stuck to our own game.”
A Perfect 10: As they celebrate their 10th Anniversary this summer, the trio is looking toward the future. “We are just really excited to launch our second decade,” says Gomez. “There are companies that have had 20, even 40 years in the industry to build, so after seeing how much we have learned, we just feel ready to blaze new trails.” Just don’t expect an anniversary bash: “When it comes to our own personal celebration, we’ll probably get the most joy out of just thanking our teams, our families for letting us be workaholics, and one another for total commitment to helping this dream come true,” says Dec.”
Tags: arturo gomez, billy dec, black eyed peas, brad young, chicago, Gold Coast, gq magazine, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Nightclub & Bar Magazine, river north, rockit bar & grill, rockit ranch productions, sunda, the underground, Viagra Triangle
Sarah Levy, owner of Sarah’s Pastries & Candies here! One of the few things I love more than a good pastry is a good party. And that’s exactly what we’ll be having on Thursday, June 7 at A Night of Summer Light, the first-ever event hosted by the Young Friends of The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation. For one night, the Ivy Room, easily one of Chicago’s most gorgeous historic spaces, will be transformed into River North’s hottest party spot. We’ll have delicious bites from Entertaining Company (their short rib potstickers alone are worth the ticket price!), plenty of cocktails and, the essential ingredient to any great event, fantastic music from Toast & Jam DJs. One of my favorite things about the night (other than the dessert table from yours truly)? Uber, the on-demand car service, is providing free rides to and from the event! At the end of the night, your feet will probably ache from dancing, but at least you won’t have to walk home.
While the night will be all about fun, the real reason behind it is a cause very dear to me and my family, that is, pediatric and adolescent bipolar disorder. It is estimated that more than a million children and teens are affected by early-onset bipolar disorder but, like many mental illnesses, there is still a stigma surrounding it. A Night of Summer Light will not only shed light on bipolar disorder for all who attend but it will also fund an educational program that will teach Chicago high school students, teachers and parents about the illness and its symptoms, prevalence and treatment options.
I hope you’ll join me at this fantastic event. Buy your ticket today and you’ll get more than just a fun-filled night – you’ll also help the millions affected by bipolar disorder see a brighter day!
Tags: A Night of Summer Light, cocktails, Cure, DJ's, Entertaining Company, fundraiser, Ivy Room, June, party, pediatric and adolescent bipolar disorder, river north, Sarah Levy. Pastries & Candies, Toast and Jams DJs, Uber, Young Friends of The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation