Pictured here are our friends, wholesale partners & James Beard Award Winners Johnny Clarck and Beverly Kim, owners of Parachute and Wherewithall. I first met Johnny back in 2015 after a brief call about our wholesale program and soon after we ended the call, a visit was arranged at their newly opened restaurant parachute- At the time, both Darko and I performed most of the duties within our company and this particular lead was mine to pursue. Of course, being so small at the time meant having to juggle childcare and by child care I mean, when my wife was at work, I'd have to watch after our now eldest son Julian. So, when the time came for us to meet up and do the tasting at Parachute, we couldn't manage to find anyone to cover for me and I wasn't about to cancel which meant- Julian was coming with me to the tasting. Once I showed up, i had the usual butterflies that one gets with meeting new people and also worried that they'd think that bringing my kid along was "unprofessional" but not long after I arrived and started setting up, they clearly noticed a child sitting on the corner trying to quietly not interrupt whatever dad was doing and not even a few minutes into setting up, both Johnny and Beverly mentioned that they had a boy about the same age and invited Julian to peruse through his toy box at the restaurant. These are the types of interactions and memories that will always stick with me and tell of who they were as professional chefs, as restaurant owners, as parents and as people.
The first time we had the pleasure of visiting Parachute, as customers was nothing short of magical. When you walk into their restaurant, you quickly take notice of the simplicity of the build because the intentionality is palpable. Their focus is the service and food- it's meant to be a no frills place that focuses on who they are as individuals and as a couple and every bite of their food represents them beautifully. Since then, they have opened their sister restaurant Wherewithal that is equally as amazing and a welcome step to the evolution of their story.
Today, the hustle and bustle of their nightly service has come to a lull. Like many restaurants in the city, they have been forced to explore new ways to keep air parachute and wherewithal lungs because this is Johnny and Beverly's nature- to embrace the challenges of the moment and find creative ways to feed the people. With that said- what can we do to support independent restaurants like Parachute & Wherewithal? With the impending winter approaching and in-dining limited, small independent restaurants will face an entirely new challenge that could likely put a great deal of them out of business. Our appeal to you, the reader, is to encourage you to find ways to support your local, chicago-based, independent restaurant by pre-ordering. If they offer gift cards, buy them. If they have apparel, buy it and proudly sport it.
The next few weeks and months will prove to be a challenge but we must not give up imn finding ways to support not just restaurants, but small-independently owned businesses here in Chicago which are at the core of what makes this city beautiful and amazing to live in.
Parachute is open from Wednesday - Saturday : 4pm - 8pm and closed on Sunday through Tuesday. To check out their full menu and order click here to visit their site.
PS- Check out this wonderful video produced by The Abundance Setting: a project founded by James Beard Award-winning chefs Beverly Kim, Sarah Stegner, and Johnny Clark, The Abundance Setting provides meal relief, career mentorship, and networking opportunities.