With lengthy resumes and notable industry accolades spanning the course of the last decade, longtime friends Nancy Silver (Blackbird, Firefly, Charlie Trotter’s) and Chris Pappas (The Winchester, Sepia, Mia Francesca, Soul Kitchen, Red Light, Old Town Social) once again reunite to create an inviting, European-inspired concept, which will be located in the former Birchwood space on North Avenue in Chicago this spring.
Although their experience has taken them down very separate paths over the past 15 years, Silver and Pappas originally met as neighbors 2001 living across the hall from one another in Wicker Park while working at Terry Alexander concepts MOD and Soul Kitchen, respectively.
Silver went on to spring board her career helming the pastry program for Michael Altenberg’s farm-to-table restaurants Campagnola in Evanston and Bistro Campagne in Lincoln Square, during which time she was nominated for the Jean Banchet “Rising Pastry Chef” award. After spending a few months in Florence, Italy, mastering European pastry techniques, Nancy moved to Los Angeles to become pastry chef and wine director at Studio City’s popular Firefly restaurant. Returning to her hometown of Chicago in 2009, Silver launched her ice cream company, Snookelfritz, when Chef Paul Kahan asked her to help out in Blackbird’s pastry kitchen. She began selling handcrafted ice creams at The Green City Market, as well as crafted original frozen desserts for Wicker Park’s Big Star and The Violet Hour.
Pappas has played an integral role in opening and operating many known hospitality projects throughout Chicago. Possessing a knack for entrepreneurialism from the get-go, Pappas learned the ropes of all facets of restaurant operation from mentors in the field including Terry Alexander (One Off Hospitality Group). Going on to serve as General Manager for a number of Chicago establishments including Mia Francesca, Soul Kitchen, Red Light, Old Town Social, Telegraph, Bluebird and Sepia, where his eclectic wine program was recognized as a “Best New Wine List” by Food & Wine in 2008. As Owner of The Winchester, Pappas has created an inviting locale ideal for lively conversation, undisturbed work, sharing a cup of coffee or glass of wine over a good, clean meal in a casual neighborhood setting.
Now after many years establishing their reputations in the industry, the two friends re-unite to contribute their respective expertise on this new project—Chris, in operations and developing an evening bar and wine/aperitif program, and Nancy in exceptional hand-crafted pastry offerings. The concept is currently unnamed and additional details will be released in the weeks to come.