One of the more amazing parts about this job is having the chance to meet creative, intelligent people working to create their own brands and products. Alexis and I had the chance to brunch with two app creators who are on the forefront of changing the way restaurants create and manage wait lists.
John and James Yi, brothers born and raised in Chicago, have created the app, NextMe. NextMe is an application that allows restaurants to create a digital waitlist for tables during busy dining hours. This is useful for many reasons. Firstly, the app notifies patrons as to their place in line and sends them a text message when their table is ready for them. This allows patrons to not be tethered to the restaurant and instead gives them a chance to explore the neighborhood the restaurant is located. And secondly, the app benefits the restaurant by allowing the restaurant to track how long people are waiting and how many people stay on their waitlist or opt out of waiting in line. These statistics are very valuable for restaurants and will allow them to modify their business practices to make sure they retain customers.
Southport Grocery is both a European-style cafe and a small grocery store that sells a variety of local goods and wine. Some of the merchandise sold is also used in the restaurant’s confections, which is fun because you can take what you like home with you!
Southport grocery offers a fun and eclectic menu, taking well-known classics and creating its own version. For instance, most people are familiar with Poptarts. They’re the breakfast pastry that you had as a kid that always tasted like cardboard to me. Well, John ended up ordering the Southport Grocery’s grown up Poptart that’s completely different than the pastries you had as a child. This sophisticated take on a Poptart was actually a folded Challah bread filled with local fruit preserves, mascarpone, and vanilla walnuts and dusted with powdered sugar on top. Now, I’d had that option as a child, I would have eaten more Poptarts.
James opted for the smoked fish platter that included smoked salmon, Rushing Waters trout spread, house-made cream cheese, Bialy pickled asparagus, and sliced hardboiled egg. It reminded me of a classic Bagel and Lox plate, but the trout spread and pickled asparagus were unique, tasty additions.. I’ve always been partial to entrees that make it possible to assemble your own sandwich or dish as you like it.
The Bitches say: A. Southport Grocery is a quaint neighborhood spot that everyone in the Southport should hope stays quiet and homey. But, this is a place that every Chicagoan should try at least once. And you can do some grocery shopping while you’re at it!
3552 N Southport Ave,
Southport Grocery serves brunch every day from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.