Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The O effect on Local Dining


We all know Oprah's got the golden touch when it comes to making other people big $$$.

Just look at the countless authors, talk show hosts and musicians who've benefited from an endorsement from the Big O.

The same goes for restaurateurs/chefs, such as the Mag Mile's RL, whose GM Rich Varnes tells Crain's Chicago Business the resto sees more business when she's in town taping.

For example, this week alone, RL had the pleasure of serving Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson not once, but twice. And Chris Rock, also in town to tape her show, hit up MK for dinner.

Oprah's also been instrumental, of course, in putting Art Smith of Table Fifty-Two fame on top when it comes to high-profile celebrity dining. A-Listers like Sarah Jessica Parker, Padma Lakshmi and of course President Obama and The First Lady have all been here.

Who'll be next to get the "O" treatment?! Chefs all over town had better start sending food by the truckload to the Harpo production staff stat!

Everyone Loves Chris!


Wonder what famed comic Chris Rock did to get major props from San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich, who bought his dinner at MK when he stopped in on Tuesday.

Executive Chef Erick Williams said Rock, who was in town for an Oprah taping to promote his new Good Hair documentary, dined on a number of seasonal dishes, including an eggless Caesar salad; petite market salad of Hillside Orchard peaches, Black Mission figs and toasted sunflower seeds; Block Island swordfish; and grilled halibut steak with summer corn and squash.

Sounds like one helluva meal, so it must be an interesting story behind why Popovich—who was just randomly hanging out at the bar—ponied up the $$$ for Rock's entire meal.

After dinner, Rock and entourage took the party over to The Pen, where they hung out for late-night cocktails and more. Patrons and staffs at both spots had nothing but good things to say about the comedian . . .