The owners of some of Chicago’s most popular dining and nightlife destinations have decided to go their separate ways after their nearly 20-year partnership. Brad Young and Billy Dec, original partners at Rockit Ranch Productions, are well known for their concepts Rockit Bar & Grill, Rockit Burger Bar, Sunda New Asian, and The Underground nightclub. They will divide their properties so they can each focus on specific brands within their portfolio, and forge new opportunities in Chicago and beyond.
Dec and Young launched Rockit Bar & Grill as their flagship property in Chicago almost 15 years ago. Together they have developed some of the Windy City’s most popular destinations and received local accolades and national acclaim: Rockit Bar & Grill was named “The Best Burger” by Good Morning America, The Underground nightclub was called the “Hottest Nightclub” by Entertainment Weekly, while Sunda was awarded the “Best Restaurant” by the River North Association and has recently been called on of “the hottest restaurants in Nashville” by Eater.
The separation—which included Dec buying Young’s stake in all properties but Rockit Bar & Grill, where Young purchased Dec’s stake (all for undisclosed amounts)—will refocus the partners on specific brands within the portfolio, which will ultimately be best for the various businesses:
“I have truly loved concepting and developing all our brands and they will always hold a special place in my heart,” says Young. “I have lived and breathed Rockit Bar & Grill for longer than I can remember, even before we opened our doors almost 15 years ago. It was a lifelong dream, and I’m so excited to re-ignite that brand, along with my incredible coworkers, in the next couple of weeks, reopening over Lollapalooza weekend.”
Going forward, Billy Dec will remain CEO of Rockit Ranch Productions, and will now have control of the ownership at Sunda New Asian (Chicago, Nashville), The Underground nightclub, Rockit Burger Bar, and Rockit Ranch Productions: “My love and passion for hospitality, arts and entertainment, and on-screen storytelling, combined with my deeply rooted pride in Asian American culinary culture, will set the stage for this next chapter. I look forward to developing new opportunities and sharing more about these changes in the coming weeks and months.”
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