When I took the Space over that is now Urban Union, it was not so nice. The building outside looked good. Old building. Lots of Visual Charm. Inside the place was, shall I say… “a shit hole.” Walking through the place, I did feel that it had good bones, you know? Wood floor, lots of brick, right size layout. So I took a chance and signed on the dotted line. I only had one investor at the time and no money. I rolled the dice that I could raise the funding and I did. I tore the place apart and began the transformation into what is now Urban Union. I had lots of help from family and friends. I designed the restaurant myself. I put this here, put that there… all feel and instinct, no set of plans, just ideas from my head. I knew right away how the space would flow. I combed eBay and craigslist for old tables and cool things that are now in the restaurant. My eleven and a half foot long Chef’s table next to the kitchen came to me for the whopping price of a hundred bucks! I’m serious. It was a mess, but a couple days with a belt sander and look at it now! A good friend of mine donated to me a bunch reclaimed Douglas fir from a Chicago tear down to build the benches, back bar, wine hold and plate holder in front of the kitchen. The restaurant is full of cool salvaged items that I got from several places. I think the feel is right with all of the industrial pieces. Six months of back breaking build out and what emerged is now Urban Union.
My Style and belief with food is pretty simple: Less is more, No Bullshit or tricks. Excellent raw product, simply prepared, done right. All of my food is seasonal, we change the menu about every three weeks. Whenever I think up a dish for the menu, it has to be able to go well with wine. Wine is always thought #1, food #1b. To me, there is nothing better than a great dish pairing perfectly with a bottle or glass of wine. At Urban Union, my food is inspired by my love affair with Europe. My style is unique in a way. I’m not one thing but many – really depends on my mood. Sometimes the menu feels really French, sometimes it feels American. Other days it is Spanish, Italian, or maybe a mix of all of them. There are great cuisines across the globe, and I enjoy incorporating all of them from time to time – but the true core of my food is French and Italian. We have such a great amount of product to work with here in the states. We try and use local farms as much as possible and the best seafood purveyors there are.
On to the booze and Juice! About 90% of our spirits are from craft or boutique producers. We have all of the bases covered, I especially like things such as Fernet Branca, Campari, and American bourbon – all on the bar at Urban Union. Same goes for beers. All Craft producers, all change often. Beers go with certain seasons, so I like to change them up every few months or so.
1. They are the best wines to pair with food, usually never out of balance.
2. They are priced properly. No big mark ups here.
3. From German Rieslings to French Cabernet Franc, they offer the widest variety of quality for the price.
I have priced our list to be accessible to everyone. We have 30 wines by the glass, 6 wines on tap and 170 selections by the bottle. There is something for everyone.
When you visit Urban Union, you will feel like you have stepped into a familiar warm place. I’m always here, either running the kitchen pass or working my wood oven, so I look forward to seeing you. Thank you for sharing my dream with my staff and myself.
All the Best!