About Last Knife Names Dan Weiland Executive Chef
About Last Knife, the new bar and steakhouse concept adjacent to the ground floor lobby of the Hotel Julian Millennium Park in Chicago, Oxford Capital Group’s latest luxury lifestyle hotel on North Michigan Avenue, announces the appointment of Dan Weiland as Executive Chef.
Formerly of Chicago icons such as Blackbird and Avec, and most recently at Forbidden Root, Weiland’s deep love of food has led him to some of the city’s most formidable kitchens, in addition to private chef roles and Chicago’s first botanic brewery – a true passion project for Weiland. He learned the importance of food early in life; his Mexican grandfather would take him to large family functions with overflowing tables and introduced him to the best menudo and horchata that could be found in the city. In the kitchen, Weiland could often find his Czech grandmother and great-grandmother rolling their own noodles and creating potato dumplings and sauerkraut. Weiland attributes much of his early love of food to the sheer diversity of the dishes he ate growing up, without ever having to leave home.
“We’re excited for Chef to bring his ingenuity and long history of creating unique dishes to this new concept,” says Piers Smyth, Oxford’s Director of Food & Beverage for ALK and Hotel Julian. “Our guests expect more out of restaurants than simply a meal, and we agree that a meal should be about more than just food; ALK is incorporating these “more” values of modesty and innovation into every aspect of the steakhouse experience. Chef Dan’s rare ability to create a menu that is both approachable and carefully curated with the guest in mind is a key part of that.”
Weiland is no stranger to the restaurant world – he knows that each day presents its own challenges and understands the importance of working to make each day better than the one before.
“I like to take a classic dish and create my own version based on technique, philosophy, sustainability, and creativity,” says Weiland. “The first thing modern restaurants often lose sight of is that the food and the menus have to make sense – there has to be synergy and a strong connection to the rest of the restaurant.”
At ground level, a two-story façade with a folding glass wall set within a terra cotta portal opens to About Last Knife and the lobby to Michigan Avenue. The back wall of the restaurant includes original bricks from the historical Atlantic Bank Building, as well as an homage to original architect Benjamin Marshall. The intimate space will emphasize the camaraderie of a social lifestyle hotel lobby and the energy and luxury of a steakhouse bar.
With Weiland, Smyth, and Food & Beverage Manager Gigi Brooks, who has thirty years of hospitality and management experience in Chicago, at the helm, ALK’s powerhouse front and back of house are slated to open the new social hotspot from Oxford Hotels & Resorts, LLC on the Magnificent Mile this fall. ALK is set to open in early October.
Hotel Julian Millennium Park is joint venture development of Oxford Capital Group and Quadrum Global.