Chagall’s Four Seasons

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Here’s what I’m thinking. I will upload the sample shots so that you can show Allison how cool it will be to take the Bride and Groom shots at the new Riverwalk. Fifty years down the line, “Look grandkids, we took our wedding photos here a week after this first opened.”

Photo Itinerary:

1:30PM / Allison and Janet / Macy’s Cosmetics Counter / Beauty shots

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Brien, Allison and Arthur take a cab to Walker and Clark

3PM / Brien and Allison / Riverwalk shots / CTA shots / Cab back to the hotel

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

4PM / The Family / Chagall’s Four Seasons / Mural shots / Fountain shots

445PM / Refresh for ceremony

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

530PM / Wedding Ceremony

600PM / Post Ceremony / just married shots / Group shots of all 46 guests

615PM / Shuttle bus to restaurant

630PM / Toast shots / Dinner shots / Dancing shots

dana dugan circus performer artist chicago badass 3rdarm

The Family: Brien Side

(father) David, 67, San Francisco, arriving late 

(mother) Terese Worrel, Dallas

(siblings, old to young)

Dana, The Boss, circus director, Montreal

Kevin, The Banker, 39, LA

Erin, 36, San Diego

Peter, 33, LA

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

The Family: Allison Side

(father) Bob Klimm, Ukrainian American, Falken Tire, Dallas

(stepmom) Tammy, A List, Dallas

(mom) Janet Beedling, retired teacher, Dallas

(stepdad) Gage, housing inspector, Dallas

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

***DO NOT TAKE TAMMY and JANET***

Brien’s fart saved Allison from being late.

Election Night

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Tuesday, November 8

Unconventional election night brought 900 a boost to our bottom line with a whole property buyout. It was an excellent learning experience as it was the first all 900 event since the JBF Awards party.  Kudos to Sarah and Lisa, who organized each quadrant (CB1 and 2, LB1 and 2) with a floor captain and lead bartender, meaning that clear communication was possible to all staff throughout the event. 

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

As a manager, I learned that I need to be even more vigilant about getting the staff properly prepared and maintaining presence both through and after the shift on all employees. In the setup we had a server go missing (subsequently sent home) and in the cleanup we had at least one support staff leave early (miscommunication.) That being said, even with some technical rough spots and the lurking election results slowly blindsiding us all, this night was an unqualified success. Team 900 crushed it.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

True Champions

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Thursday, November 3

Lanie B-S with inspiration from Kevin S-B had us playing an American Idol inspired game in preshift several days this week.  We had two servers or bartenders as the contestants, and a representative from the support teams and HC act as judges, as the contestants went head to head describing dishes, cocktails and wine pairings.  What a fun and engaging review for the staff, loved it.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

True Champions:  Today we had the crème de la crème of the American Idol game, Miguel (our newest bartender, an ace) up against Kelly (so polished and on point, server who also works at Blackbird.)  By the end of the game, the standard for the whole staff had been raised, and the winners are the guests who get to have their food served by these two True Champions.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Time Management

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Wednesday, November 2

World Series Game 7 and the downpours combined to mellow out the Lena dinner service: even Danny Meyer unfortunately was unable to make it in for dinner tonight.  That being said, Sarah did a great job staying on point with cutting staff, so that the staff who stayed on were actively engaged and kept their energy up.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Funny story… Kelly took the order for a Talla bass on table 42.  When the bass came out, the guests insisted they had actually ordered the Xik bass. Kelly handled it like a true pro, rather than argue at all with the guests, simply apologized returned to the kitchen and in a little bit of time the guests got the bass they claimed they had ordered.  Later, table 43 (the neighboring table) left a little note on the side of their check, “By the way, you DID get the order right at the table next to us on the Sea Bass! Thanks again!”

Bretzels

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Friday, October 28

Great Friday with the Cubs promotions taking root and driving business.  Appreciation to Jacob and Todd for putting so much thought to making Marigold. We love the complex balance of flavors. Matt showed the staff the MOPAT segment about Day of the Dead which added context to Jacob’s inspiration for the beer.  Big dinner push started early, just as folks were getting out of work (around 5PM) and the kitchen was absolutely crushed until 8PM. After that we had a full house of mostly drinkers watching the World Series game.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Mood Scale:  We have been getting 24 bretzels to sell every day and we are seeing the excitement for this menu item grow every day, as our guests discover how delicious they are.  To help them discover the deliciousness, at the end of my CB shifts, when there are still a couple bretzels remaining, I have started comping them and having the guys in the kitchen cut them into bite size pieces drizzled in mustard, then we hand them out (on tooth picks so easy to handle) when announcing last call, as a way to thank our guests who stayed until the end of the night.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Tom Skilling says… mild weekend for the World Series, Halloween.

Ability to Say No

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Tuesday, October 25

The team rallied through the lack of POS and made it a special night for our many parties of significant guests.  Great to see that positivity shine through adversity.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Dear Tom, 
What was the weather like in Chicago for the Cubs last World Series in 1945?
Thanks,   Alan

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat
 
Dear Alan,
In 1945 the World Series was an “early October Classic” played in a three-four format with the Detroit Tigers hosting the first three games and  the last four games  were played at Wrigley Field  on October 6-7 and 8-10. The Cubs lost the series to the Detroit Tigers four games to three. The first two Chicago games were played in mild conditions favorable to the hitters with readings in 60s and 70s and the wind blowing out. The advantage shifted to the pitchers for the third game when it turned chilly with highs struggling to the lower 50s with strong, gusty north winds blowing in.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

The final game was played on a sunny, cool afternoon with temperatures in the middle 50s. The wind was light and not much of a factor in the game.

Prioritizing His Workload

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Saturday, October 22

Late night here – but for a good cause.  The onyx bar is now 75 percent sealed (back bar tomorrow) and will be easier to clean and protect.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Great energy in LB – and not just because the Cubs earned a ticket to their first World Series in 500 years – we had a big book with an even spread, and the team was focused on providing the best Lena experience for our guests.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

True Champion: Shawniece, from the pre-shift meeting where Shawniece addressed the team and let them know what to expect in terms of flow and significant guests, to her maintaining positive command of the HC throughout. We are lucky to have Shawniece.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat chad

Tom Skilling says… Below-normal sunshine could cause lack-luster Fall colors- no way Tom.

The Man with the Trash Can Plan

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Wednesday, October 19

DNL: Octopus (too tough), scallop (too cool. Not for school but in temp)

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

True Champion: Arthur Mullen (with an assist from J. Fite’s theatrical presentation) who was able to rally the LB troops into action without even being present in the 900 building and getting everyone behind the new trash can plan! J. Fite read Arthur’s “script” at the team education meeting today regarding the new SOP of trash cans for the building, cleaning, replacing to their station, etc. and it worked. It is so exciting to see us moving in the direction of more consistent cleanliness and closing standards. #themanwiththetrashcanplan

Awkward and Extremely Dry Humor

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Saturday, October 15

Saturday with a lot of action, from the big party of 20 in the afternoon (kudos to Lisa Carlson) and Joe Valdes with business folks in the evening, to the many smaller parties, Cruz Blanca was the place to hang out and catch the baseball game, or just enjoy the beautiful fall weather (we had full patio until the start of the Cubs game.)  CB1 and CB2 were both packed for the game, with a crowd that actually grew in intensity as the innings went on, until we just about blew the roof off CB2 as the Cubs opened it up in the 8th inning.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Mood Scale:  Big ups to the team for the return of the West Loop salumi sausage platters – this is seriously the best sausage I have had in my entire sausage memory and I have been recommending to all (not vegetarians of course.) When you see guests take that first bite – it’s solid gold.

Always Makes Me Smile in Hard Situations

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Wednesday, October 12

Big welcome to Wink Alan Stone to the 900 management team. As I understand, Wink will be doing part time management allowing Todd to focus on the fantastic brewery tours which bring so much good energy to Cruz Blanca.  Wink’s no doubt been developing his focus on the details, passion and deep knowledge for beer, warm hospitality with the guests and cultivation of regulars, and his genuine and dry sense of humor, for years, and yet it all comes across as natural leadership.  Great to have you on the team.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Mood Scale:  The use of foil for tacos to-go helps keep the meat hot much longer, and at the same time it remains aesthetically pleasing, a good move all around.  Please see attached photo from instagram user @justcluckinit.  It was great to see that their to-go meal was so enticing they shared on instagram.  The way the foil segments the meat filling from the tortillas reads very cleanly to my eye.  They received comments saying this, “looks ah-mazing!”