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Our Team

Marc Jacobs

Executive Partner and Divisional President

Marc Jacobs is the President and Partner of Aba, Antico Posto, Bar Ramone, Beatrix, Beatrix Market, Ēma, Rotisserie Ēma, Foodease, Foodlife, L. Woods, Mity Nice Bar & Grill and The Dalcy.

Marc began his career with Lettuce Entertain You (LEYE) in the fall of 1991, as a banquet server and busser at Bones (now L. Woods) in Lincolnwood, Illinois. After being cross-trained as a server, host and line cook, Marc became a manager of the restaurant upon his graduation from UIC in the summer of 1995.

Two years later, Marc was transferred to R.J. Grunts, LEYE’s first restaurant, and was quickly promoted to General Manager. It was there that he first worked alongside Rich Melman on the re-development of the restaurant, which went on to launch what would become Marc’s lifelong career in restaurants and hospitality.

In Marc’s 14 years as Partner at LEYE, he has led the creation, design and re-concept of more than 16 restaurants across Chicagoland including Beatrix; a restaurant and coffeehouse located in River North, Streeterville and Fulton Market, Beatrix Market; a quick and healthful grab and go experience, Ēma; a Mediterranean and California-inspired restaurant with Top Chef CJ Jacobson, Aba; the sister restaurant to Ēma, featuring a 400-seat restaurant and rooftop patio, The Dalcy; LEYE’s private event hall in Fulton Market, and Bar Ramone; a wine bar featuring Spanish tapas.

Marc’s passion lies in restaurant design, menu development, and team building. His restaurants and chefs have earned many accolades including a Michelin Bib Gourmand recognition as well as a spot on Chicago’s top restaurant lists from Zagat, Eater and the Chicago Tribune.

Marc sits on Lettuce Entertain You’s Executive Board, is an Advisory Council member and the Executive in Residence at DePaul’s School of Hospitality Leadership, often speaks on restaurant panels and seminars, and enjoys giving back to the restaurant and hospitality industry in Chicago.

Marc enjoys spending time with his wife Vanessa and their three children, Samantha, Alexandra and Gabriel, visiting new restaurants, and traveling.

Michael Giles

Partner

Michael Giles is a Partner and operator for Aba, Beatrix, Beatrix Market, Ema, Rotisserie Ema, and The Dalcy. With a strong passion for food and operations, Michael has worked for several restaurant groups in multiple cities including Minneapolis, San Diego and Portland.

Starting with Lettuce Entertain You in August 2010, Michael worked at Scoozi in River North, and quickly was promoted to the General Manager. Just three years later, Michael led the opening team at Beatrix River North, a neighborhood coffeehouse and restaurant. After finding success in the concept, Michael became a Partner in August 2015, and has continued to rise with Lettuce Entertain You ever since.

Michael has since been influential in the opening of Beatrix Streeterville, Beatrix Fulton Market, Beatrix Market, Ēma and Rotisserie Ēma. Most recently, Michael led the opening of Aba, a Mediterranean restaurant and rooftop patio featuring a light, California style of cooking and The Dalcy, a 6,000-square foot private event hall in Fulton Market.

Michael oversees daily operations, food quality, and the ongoing training and development of the management team. Working closely with the chef team to facilitate new and creative ideas, Michael is constantly focused on hiring and developing his management teams and growth.

As a Gold Coast resident, he enjoys checking out new bars and restaurants, exploring the city and playing ice hockey. He also enjoys travel, especially visiting his native hometown of Edina, MN., and spending time with family and friends.

John Chiakulas

Chef Partner

John Chiakulas is Corporate Chef of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and Chef Partner of Aba, Antico Posto, Beatrix, Beatrix Market, Ēma, Rotisserie Ema, Foodease Market, Foodlife, Mity Nice Grill, L. Woods and The Dalcy.

His journey with LEYE began at Ambria in 1981, rising through the ranks from fish butcher to becoming Executive Chef of Scoozi! when it opened a decade later. His experiences traveling through Italy awakened his imagination and enthusiasm for Italian cooking; these skills translated well to his extensive experience at more than three dozen LEYE restaurants, including Tru, L. Woods and Wildfire.

John was instrumental in the redesign of Foodlife in Water Tower Place and pushed the envelope in developing Foodease into what he now considers a “chef’s playground” because of its diverse offerings. In 2011, he teamed up with the Lettuce Consulting Group to bring his creativity to clients nationwide.

As Chef Partner, John is constantly testing new dishes, updating and perfecting existing items and using his creativity and skill to push the envelope with healthful, yet tasty ingredients. He is always “hungry for more” in his leadership role, and is always thinking how he can bring his current concepts and other projects to the next level.

 

Rita Dever

Chef Partner

Rita Dever is Corporate Chef of LEYE and Chef Partner of Beatrix. A native to the Northwest, Rita grew up surrounded by an abundance of natural food and beauty. Her early years as a chef had her traveling all over the world.

Rita completed culinary school in Paris, trained with her mentor, Madeleine Kamman in New Hampshire and opened restaurants in Los Angeles, Maui, New York and Seattle as a Sous Chef at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

In 2008, she came to Chicago and joined LEYE as Corporate Chef. Working closely with Rich Melman in the test kitchen, the two collaborate daily on creating new dishes and innovating existing menus for all LEYE restaurants. It was Rita’s creations in the “Lab” that sparked the fire for Beatrix.

Now, as Chef Partner, her culinary experience has come full circle. Her Pacific Northwest whole-foods mentality drives each dish at Beatrix, bringing a “taste over trend” philosophy and healthful twist to each dish.

Susan Weaver

Chef Partner

Susan is the Chef Partner of Beatrix, Mon Ami Gabi, Café Ba-Ba-Reeba, Stripburger and Community Canteen. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, her passion for food and travel developed early in life when she spent two years traveling in Europe and working at quaint restaurants in the Mediterranean.

After her travels, she spent time working in kitchens in Boston, Houston, Chicago, Toronto and New York. She joined LEYE in 2003 as the Culinary Director for Mon Ami Gabi and Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

In 2012, she partnered with Marc Jacobs to build LEYE’s newest restaurant, Beatrix. Together, they created Beatrix’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with unique ingredients and profiles with many dishes influenced by her past travels.

Yasmin Gutierrez

Associate Partner & Executive Pastry Chef

Yasmin studied Culinary Arts at the Illinois Institute of Art, and quickly realized her passion was in pastry. Looking to gain more experience, she became an intern at the Bittersweet Bakery on the north side of Chicago where she perfected her cookie decorating techniques and learned about traditional, American pastries.

In 2005, Yasmin joined Lettuce Entertain You as a pastry cook at Foodlife in Water Tower Place while also finishing school. Just two years later, Yasmin was promoted to pastry chef, where she also oversaw the pastry programs at both Mity Nice Bar & Grill and Foodease. In 2010, Yasmin furthered her education and pastry knowledge by attending The French Pastry School.

Three years later, Yasmin led the pastry team in the opening of Beatrix River North. She was instrumental in developing the bakery program and menu. In 2015, she was promoted to Executive Pastry Chef and most recently was named Associate Partner. Yasmin now oversees the pastry program at all three Beatrix locations, Beatrix Market, Foodlife, Foodease and Mity Nice Bar & Grill.

Her specialties include cupcake creation and design, coffee cakes and birthday cakes. Outside of the bakery, Yasmin enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and playing soccer.

Ismael Silva

Kitchen Manager

Ismael Silva is originally from Mexico, and moved to Chicago in 2000. After working a few various jobs, he quickly learned his passion was in restaurants when he joined the Lettuce Entertain You family in 2001.

He began as a dishwasher at L.Woods in Lincolnwood, and quickly worked his way through the line and up to an Expo position. After 16 years of experience with LEYE, and ready for more growth and challenges, Ismael joined the Beatrix team at its newest location in Fulton Market and is now the Kitchen Manager. His favorite part of the job is learning new things every day!

When he’s not in the restaurant, Ismael enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors.

Dan West

Sous Chef

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Dan’s passion for the restaurant industry developed when he was in college. Dan attended Michigan State University majoring in electrical engineering. While in Michigan, Dan worked as a line cook for a local restaurant and immediately knew this was what he wanted to do for his career. He transferred to Schoolcraft College to pursue a degree in culinary arts, and graduated in 2013. Upon graduating, Dan was the Garde Manager Chef at the Detroit Athletic Club where he oversaw a large banquet facility.

Looking for growth, Dan moved to Chicago in February 2017 to pursue new culinary opportunities. He joined the Lettuce Entertain You team in June 2017 where he began as an expo and line cook at Beatrix Streeterville. Now, Dan is the Sous Chef and loves training new cooks, modernizing old techniques and developing new menu items.

During Dan’s free time, he loves to play video games and try new restaurants in Chicago.

Steven Rosenblum

General Manager

Originally from Long Island, New York and a graduate of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Steven is excited to be in Chicago to continue his career with Lettuce Entertain You. Steven’s restaurant experience first dates back to his completion of the Management Internship with Restaurant Associates, to his time at La Bottega at the Maritime Hotel in New York City’s Meatpacking District. Steven moved to Chicago to begin his career with LEYE in 2013, where he was a summer intern at Foodease Market in Water Tower Place. Just a year later, Steven joined the management team at Beatrix, and is now proud to be the General Manager of the River North neighborhood restaurant.

Steven is passionate about restaurants, and loves the fast paced environment and meeting new people everyday. His favorite Beatrix menu items are the Mushroom & Quinoa Burger, Oh My! Caramel Pie and the Pineapple-Habanero Margarita.

Outside of work, you can find Steven trying new restaurants, learning about music, attending concerts and of course, cooking.

Jacy Jones

Manager

Jacy is originally from Chicago, and was immediately exposed to the restaurant industry as well as the Chicago dining scene as both of her parents worked in restaurants. Jacy went on to attend University of Illinois – Chicago, where she earned a degree in Political Science. After working in restaurants throughout school and upon graduation, she knew it was a career she wanted to pursue.

Jacy began at LEYE in 2010 as a host and server at DiPescara, and two years later joined the Do-Rite Donuts team. After seeking an opportunity in management in an urban setting, Jacy spent time as a Manager at Beatrix River North, and now is part of the Fulton Market team. Her favorite part of working in the restaurant is meeting new people, the fast-paced environment, and the opportunity to help others grow.

In her free time, Jacy loves to work out, read, cook, and bake double chocolate cupcakes- her specialty!

Patrick Callahan

Manager

Born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Patrick continued his education after high school at Salisbury University in Maryland with a focus in Exercise Science. Upon graduating in 2013, Patrick moved to New York City to follow his passion for food and restaurants, and began his career with HPH Hospitality Group. He began as a bartender at Pier A Harbor House, and was quickly promoted to a manager. It was there that he learned his true appreciation for hospitality.

In February 2017, Patrick moved to Chicago and joined Lettuce Entertain You, and was a part of the opening team of Beatrix in the Fulton Market District in the West Loop. As a manager, Patrick’s favorite part of the job is interacting with new guests, and having each day bring new challenges and experiences.

As a new resident to Chicago, Patrick is enjoying exploring what the city has to offer with his girlfriend Kait, and their French bulldog, Carl.

Kendall Zusman

Manager

Growing up in Vernon Hills, IL, Kendall knew at a young that she had a passion for both food and hospitality. She remembers growing up spending hours in her family kitchen baking cookies, pies and cakes for family and friends. Pursuing her passions, Kendall graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 2014, and held roles at the bakery in Mariano’s and as a pastry cook at Sweet Mandy B’s Bakery in Lincoln Park where she perfected her pastry skills and taught pastry decorating classes.

Looking for growth and wanting to utilize her love for restaurants and teaching others, Kendall joined the Lettuce Entertain Team as an intern at Café Ba Ba Reeba in Lincoln Park in Summer 2017. After falling in love with the pace of a busy restaurant, meeting new guests everyday, and learning about the business, Kendall was ready for more! Now, she is a manager at Beatrix Fulton Market and focuses on coaching, problem solving, supporting her team, and giving her guests the best experience possible.

In her free time, she loves checking out new restaurants and bars and keeping up with all of the new food trends Chicago has to offer. She also loves spending time with friends, family and her dog Fallon!

 

Sharlene Hobbs

Divisional Training Director

Sharlene Hobbs grew up in southern California, and went to school in both Santa Barbara and San Diego with a focus on becoming a teacher. Upon graduation, Sharlene realized her true passion was in the restaurant industry, and joined the team at Rock Bottom Brewery in 2000. Seven years later, Sharlene moved to Chicago to be the Assistant Manager at Rock Bottom in the Windy City.

In 2009, Sharlene joined the Lettuce Entertain You Family as a server at RJ Grunts in Lincoln Park. Just one year later, she was promoted to a divisional trainer for various concepts including Foodlife, Mity Nice Bar & Grill, Foodease, Scoozi, Beatrix and Ema. Now, Sharlene is the Divisional Training Director for eight restaurant concepts and is vital in new restaurant openings, staff seminars and outings, and the on-going development of current employees. With a true love for building the training department as the division continues to grow, her favorite part of the job is working with new team members, and being the first impression of a company she is so proud to be a part of.

When Sharlene is not in the restaurant, she enjoys reading, trying new restaurants, traveling, visiting her family, and spending time with friends.

Cara Yaffe

Divisional Marketing & PR Manager

Growing up in Long Grove, Illinois, Cara has always had a passion for food, writing, and technology, and knew she wanted to pursue a career one day that would entail all of those elements. Graduating in 2012 from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN., with a degree in Journalism and Business, she began her PR and marketing journey at a Chicago public relations agency focusing on restaurants and local businesses.

Realizing that her true passion and excitement was in restaurants, while also ready for more growth and opportunity, Cara joined the Lettuce Entertain You family in the summer of 2015. Since then, Cara has been a part of eight restaurant openings, and proudly oversees the marketing and public relations for Aba, Antico Posto, Bar Ramone, Beatrix, Beatrix Market, Ēma, Rotisserie Ēma, Foodlife, Foodease, L. Woods, Mity Nice Bar & Grill, and The Dalcy. Her favorite part of the job is how every day is different, as well as having the opportunity to express her creativity across multiple different brands that she truly believes in.

In her free time, Cara loves checking out new restaurants around the city, traveling, going to concerts, and spending time with family and friends.

Krista Rominger

Sales & Catering Manager

Krista joined the Lettuce Entertain You family in 2014 as an office manager in the Lettuce Parties & Special Events department. Originally from Naperville, and a graduate of Illinois State, Krista has grown up surrounded by the Chicago restaurant scene. Krista has learned so much about what it means to find the perfect space and atmosphere for a client and is excited to be sharing her expertise in special events at Beatrix, Beatrix Market, Bar Ramone, Ēma and Rotisserie Ēma.

As a sales and catering manager, Krista is able to utilize some of her strongest qualities – organization, planning, and execution of special events. Krista enjoys meeting new faces, forming relationships, and creating memorable experiences for guests.

In her free time, Krista loves to weekend brunch, attend sporting events, and spend time with her friends and family. Krista currently resides in West Town with her boyfriend.

Katryn Havlik

Office Manager

Katryn Havlik was born and raised in Algonquin, IL and moved to Chicago in August 2013 for college. While attending University of Illinois at Chicago, Katryn gained restaurant experience as a host at Lucky Strike. After graduating with a degree in accounting, she continued with Lucky Strike as an Administrative Assistant.

Looking for growth, Katryn joined Lettuce Entertain You in June 2017. She began as an Office Assistant at Beatrix River North and now is the Office Manager at Beatrix Fulton Market. She loves being part of the Beatrix team and also enjoys seeing the financial side of business while still being part of the upbeat environment of the restaurant.

In her free time, Katyrn loves to spend time with family and friends, and trying new restaurants.

Elsa Lucas

Sales and Catering Manager

Originally from Oak Park, IL, Elsa Lucas started working in the restaurants at just 15-years-old when she was a host at Avenue Ale House in Oak Park. After high school, she moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University where she studied English and Sociology. During this time, she continued to gain restaurant experience worked at Maya Del Sol, a Latin fusion restaurant in Oak Park.

Knowing that food and the restaurant industry was her passion, Elsa joined Lettuce Entertain You in 2012 as a host and office assistant at RPM Italian. In 2013, she joined the opening team at Beatrix River North as an office manager, and continued in this role as Beatrix Streeterville, Ēma and Beatrix Fulton Market opened in the three years that followed. Now, Elsa is the Sales and Catering Manager for Beatrix, Beatrix Market, Bar Ramone, Ēma and Rotisserie Ēma where she proudly executes and plans special events and catering for large groups. Her favorite part of the job is forming new relationships daily and making sure clients get exactly what they want.

In her free time, Elsa loves to spend time with her dog Quinn and husband, Kevin. She also enjoys working out and running, as well as checking out new bars and restaurants in the city with her girl friends.