What's On Tap is a video podcast created for restaurant & bar industry professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal is to provide information on resources available to the service industry, shine a light on the positive things people are doing, retain the camaraderie during this time of separation, and raise funding for those in need.
A Chef’s Journey Leads to Giving Back when it Mattered Most - Chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya
Everyone knows the restaurant industry is difficult. From long, stressful shifts, to working the majority of nights, weekends, and holidays, to hyper-competition and low-profit margins, it takes a special breed to stick with it and succeed. Then try doing that during a pandemic while having to open and close your business to react to ever-changing mandates! Keeping inventory and staff while strategizing on the various programs and grants available is draining at best, crushing to most. A recent report by the National Restaurant Association compiled the data and 110,000 US restaurants have permanently shut down in the past year! And many others are hanging on a thread. One Chicago chef found a way to not only survive but to give back to those in need.
Chef & Owner Diana Dávila of the Logan Square neighborhood’s Mi Tocaya Antojeria has been staying extra busy by turning her popular restaurant into a food bank for the hungry for half of the week, with a focus on feeding undocumented hospitality workers. The James Beard-nominated, Michelin-recognized, one-time “Chef of the Year” (by the Chicago Tribune), had one more lesson to learn and overcome - how to lead during a pandemic. We sat down with Chef Diana at her creative Mexican concept to learn more about the experiences that shaped her, what her team is doing with the Todas Ponen project, and what’s next for this restaurateur who seems to always rise to the occasion.
If you're a bar or restaurant, TappedIn is here to help. We offer free consulting to help you think through your options, strategies, technologies, and other restaurant solutions. Send us an email at email@example.com and take the first step in growing your businesses as we emerge from the pandemic.
This episode featured:
Diana Davila, Chef & Owner, Mi Tocaya Antojeria
Website: https://www.mitocaya.com/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/mitocaya/ Instagram: @mitocaya Instagram: @dianalachef Joseph Sheahan, Cofounder & CEO, TappedIn; Host, What’s On Tap
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/get_tapped/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/get.tappedin/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGfXXYruaQeVjOfejwN3Dgw/featured?view_as=public Twitter: https://twitter.com/Get_Tapped Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/whats-on-tap-industry-talk/id1509838638 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3kHK1oLknYMS6h90tELq9j?si=WSJkvnUnS9alHndxi11z0w LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/tappedinnovations
Innovation In The Industry - Part I: From Distillation to Hand Sanitization with @MRDistilling
No one looks forward to times of adversity, but we all face difficult challenges at some points in our lives. COVID-19 brought a systemic shock to not only the hospitality industry but to the entire world this year. As devastating as the pandemic has been to bars and restaurants, it has also been a call for us to innovate, bond together, and solve problems. In this new series, “Innovation in the Industry,” we will be exploring just that. This first episode of the series explores the massive shift many distilleries underwent in converting their production facilities into hand sanitizer factories to supply the world with this crucial product at a time when we were running dangerously low. We sit down with our good friend Sam Bergren to talk about how Mississippi River Distilling Company got into the hand sanitizer game.
In the second half of the episode, we talk with Brian Krajack, Director of Operations of Forbidden Root Restaurant & Distillery in Chicago, Illinois; which is where we recorded at. In addition to learning more about how they became the premier botanical brewery in the States with food so good they are equally known as a restaurant, Brain shares how they have faired during the era of COVID, their expansion to Columbus, Ohio, and the crowler craze.
We hope you enjoy this series as we continue to explore how the service industry has adapted when their backs were up against the wall!
This episode featured:
Wisconsin & Illinois Sales Rep, Mississippi River Distilling Company
Joseph Sheahan, Cofounder & CEO, TappedIn and Host, What’s On Tap
Find us on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Apple Podcast, Spotify, LinkedIn
Nightlife Under COVID Pt. 2 - The DJ Perspective with Chicago-based DJ Silkee (Shannon Curry)
Everyone is well-aware of how hard the restaurant industry has been hit from government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions. Bars have even more restrictions, and the nightclub segment has been impacted the most. Even if they have great food, clubs aren’t thought of a dining meccas, so offering carryout and delivery isn’t the financial crutch that it can be to restaurants. And limitations on capacity and social distancing requirements make it extremely difficult for these establishments to do what they do best - create experiences where people can get lost in the music and dance the night away in a sea of like-minded revelers. This is the second episode in our “Nightlife Under COVID” series where we’ll sit down with club owners, DJs, and promoters to better understand what they’ve been experiencing.
Our guests today is Chicago-based Shannon Currie, AKA DJ Silkee. Like many of his fellow DJs, he found himself out of work when the government mandated that all bars and restaurants (and other businesses) shut their doors in mid-March due to the coronavirus. After two months and feeling a bit stir crazy, Shannon decided to dust off his turntables and throw a party for his neighbors in the South Loop by setting up on his balcony. His neighbors emerged on their balconies to check out what was happening, grab a mimosa, and dance along. For several months, this was something that we looked forward to - a DJ set from noon to 2:00 PM every Sunday. After realizing he had an audience that wanted to know who they were listening to, DJ Silkee put out a banner and decals on his windows; which is how we tracked him down for the podcast!
Shannon’s story isn’t very different from most people in the service industry, and especially those whose jobs revolved around nightlife. Chicago taverns were severely restricted if they didn’t serve food, and all other bars and restaurants had to stop alcohol sales at 11:00 PM and could have a maximum capacity of 25% indoors if they did serve food. Not a good recipe for having DJs. Fortunately, DJ Silkee was able to pick up a few gigs from his innovative and much-appreciated balcony party sets. He had time to sit down with us to tell us how he’s adapted and innovated to survive and hone his craft in the shutdown. If you’re looking for a DJ for your bar, nightclub, or private party, see below for his contact information.
Don’t forget to check out the other episodes in this series where we’ll interview Club Owners, DJs and promoters to hear how the coronavirus pandemic has affected them personally and professionally as well as their vision for what’s next. Stay tuned to What’s On Tap as we discuss the issues affecting the hospitality industry!
This episode featured:
DJ Silkee: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Chicago South Loop Day Party w/ DJ Silkee on Facebook or Instagram
Joseph Sheahan, Cofounder & CEO, TappedIn and Host, What’s On Tap, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Apple Podcast, Spotify, LinkedIn
Nightlife Under COVID Pt. 1 - The Nightclub Perspective with Chicago-based Le Nocturne
Everyone is well-aware of how hard the restaurant industry has been hit from government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions. Bars have even more restrictions, and the nightclub segment has been impacted the most. Even if they have great food, clubs aren’t thought of a dining meccas, so offering carryout and delivery isn’t the financial crutch that it can be to restaurants. And limitations on capacity and social distancing requirements make it extremely difficult for these establishments to do what they do best - create experiences where people can get lost in the music and dance the night away in a sea of like-minded revelers. This is the first episode in our “Nightlife Under COVID” series where we’ll sit down with club owners, DJs, and promoters to better understand what they’ve been experiencing. Our guests today are Francoise Crokaert and Miguel Castro from one of Chicago’s newest nightclub - Le Nocturne. Their nightclub focuses on house music and all of its derivatives, paying homage to the city where house music began - Chicago. They opened up one year ago and consistently pull in house legends and hot new DJs. Their residency list includes Ron Carroll, Randall Dean, Paul Johnson, and Victor R. Six months into their run, they, along with the rest of the industry and world, were punched by the COVID-19 pandemic and were forced to shut their doors for an extended period of time.
Le Nocturne has done everything they could think of to use the downtime the best they can, from making physical improvements to the club to launching a successful streaming channel, Nocturne Chicago Live (“NCL”). NCL features at least four live streams per week, all of which are available to watch and listen to afterward. “House Talk” is streamed Monday through Wednesday from 5:00 to 6:00 PM with host Ron Carrol where we get to hear and get to know the DJs. “Heat,” also hosted by Ron Carroll, is every Thursday night from 7:00 to 11:00 PM and features a rotating mix of up-and-coming and household name DJs. Paul Johnson anchors the Saturday night stream.
Stay tuned for other episodes in this series where we’ll interview DJs and promoters to hear how the coronavirus pandemic has affected them personally and professionally.
This episode featured:
Francoise Crokaert, Owner, and Miguel Castro, General Manager, Le Nocturne
4810 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640 YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter Nocturne Chicago Live can be streamed on YouTube, Facebook Instagram, Mixcloud, and Periscope Joseph Sheahan, Cofounder & CEO, TappedIn and Host, What’s On Tap
Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Apple Podcast, Spotify, LinkedIn A special thanks to Jayden Sheahan for his help with this episode!
Being Black in the Hospitality Industry - Pt. 3 with Black People Eats and Food On The Run
To close out What’s On Tap’s "Black in the Hospitality Industry” series, we sit down with Jeremy Joyce, founder of Black People Eats, and Kristal Long, Business Manager at Chicago Food on the Run, a newly opened black-owned restaurant. Although the end of the series doesn’t mean our listening phase is over, we do hope that we now have a better understanding of the experiences of our friends and coworkers. We are humbled by our guests’ openness to share their personal experiences and perspectives. Episode 7 brings us to a Chicago neighborhood that many “foodies” normally wouldn’t seek out, and we are glad we were able to experience it!
Jeremy Joyce is the founder and face of Black People Eats, a restaurant directory and media company that shines a light on black-owned restaurants that he started in December of 2017. Joyce would vlog his meals and experiences hoping to boost traffic and attention for the under-appreciated and rarely recognized Black-owned restaurant community. Despite the slow start, he persisted and focused on consistency and the mission. In June of 2018, he changed his Instagram handle from his personal name to @BlackPeopleEats and his videos exploded. Joyce’s restaurant directory has now expanded to six cities across America. In light of the heightened Black Lives Matter movement, Joyce continues to promote Black-owned businesses to a wider audience than ever. Using its platform, Black People Eats raised over $75,000 for their Black-owned Restaurant Relief Fund, a fund that gives financial support to restaurants in need. We filmed this episode at one of the restaurants that Black People Eats featured - Chicago Food on the Run.
Chicago Food on the Run is a soul food restaurant on Chicago’s Southside. Their talented Chef & Owner, Jonetta Holloway, creates flavorful plates that remind customers of Grandma's cookin’ complemented by unmatched customer service in a beautiful setting. We sat down with their Business Manager, Kristal Long, and discussed everything from defining soul food to the lack of restaurants making home-cooked meals in their neighborhood, to why they chose to set up shop in an area that doesn’t draw much attention for its culinary scene. If the line out of the door wasn’t enough to convince you, we can attest to their delicious food, warm service, and unique and beautiful decor. Go check them out!
This episode featured:
Jeremy Joyce, Founder, Black People Eats
Find and follow on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter
Kristal Long, Business Manager, Chicago Food On The Run
Find and follow on Instagram or Facebook
Joseph Sheahan, Cofounder & CEO, TappedIn and Host of What’s On Tap
Find and follow on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter
Being Black in the Hospitality Industry - Part II
In our second episode in What’s On Tap’s “Black in the Hospitality Industry” series, we sit down with Kurtis Lott, Co-owner & Chief Operator of the four-location restaurant concept Cajun Boil & Bar (@cajunboilandbar), and Brian Jupiter (@chefjup) award-winning Executive Chef & Partner of two Chicago restaurants, Frontier (@frontierchicago) and Ina Mae Tavern (@inamaetavern). They both have been in the bar and restaurant industry since they were teenagers and share with us their unique experiences and perspectives on what it is like coming up “black in the hospitality industry.” We also discuss the challenges of having black-owned restaurants, the change they see happening in America, and they give some simple tips on what we can all do to make the world a better place. “Soul Food Sundays” anyone?
Chef Jupiter was named as a finalist for the James Beard Award Best Chef - Great Lakes and has been on multiple television shows and news channels including Cooking Channel’s America’s Best Bites, Check, Please!, NBC Chicago News, NBC’s 1st Look, Fox 32 Chicago News, WGN-TV News, and the Food Network. Frontier, known for their “whole animal experience” (including alligator!), was Chef’s first foray into restaurant ownership after having led many other kitchens. Ina Mae Tavern, named after Chef Jupiter’s great-grandmother, is a New Orleans-style concept inspired by recipes passed down through generations in his family.
Kurtis Lott is not only a successful restaurateur, but he’s also the first client of TappedIn (the restaurant marketing company that creates the What’s On Tap video podcast) that has been on the show. Kurtis is the Chief Operator & Co-owner of Cajun Boil & Bar - a Louisiana-inspired restaurant built around seafood boils, amazing sauce, and a lively atmosphere. They opened up four Chicagoland Cajun Boil & Bar locations (Oakbrook Terrace, Orland Park, Oak Park, and Joliet, IL) within one year! It has been amazing to see what he was able to accomplish in such a short period of time.
We had a great conversation with these two inspirational restaurateurs and we hope you enjoy it as well!