Two of Chicago's most beloved restaurateurs have decided to part ways. But don't worry it's on good terms!
Chef Kevin Hickey, the culinary mastermind behind The Duck Inn will no longer be in partnership with Billy Dec's Rockit Ranch Productions, a Chi town restaurant group that operates the popular restaurants including–Sunda, Bottlefork and the Underground.
Brandon Phillips, Hickey's business business and bartender will remain at The Duck Inn and will no longer be a Rockit Ranch mixologist.
Last Friday, Hickey made the announcement through a letter that was circulated by the PR firm Kinship.
The decision for Hickey to go off on his own was mutual and he assured that the restaurateurs will always remain friends.
"In October, The Duck Inn will become independent. I will operate the restaurant as my own and I will focus my time and energy on my two families: my wife & son, and The Duck Inn. My partner, and Barman, Brandon Phillips continues to and will always be, an integral part of The Duck Inn," wrote Hickey.
"Rockit Ranch Productions and I have made the mutual decision to separate so that we can focus our energies on what we each do best. The partnership has been an honor and a privilege. We have learned, grown and been challenged. We know our friendship will carry on and we will always be there to support and enjoy in each other’s successes, as I am confident there will be many."
Rockit Ranch, as always, has aggressive growth plans in the works.
"We are currently launching our biggest expansion in our company’s history, starting with the opening of Sunda in Nashville, at the beginning of the year. This is a huge opportunity with enormous growth potential, and it will require a tremendous amount of attention, to make the national impact we are aiming for.
That being said, we’ve made the decision to intensely focus on our bigger brands and venues with the most potential for growth right now. Sadly this means we need to move in a new direction from some of our other beloved venues. Our first step will be closing Otto Mezzo to the public today; Otto Mezzo will continue to be available for private parties.
We’ve also made the decision, along with Kevin Hickey, to separate as business partners so we can each focus on what we each do best, and where we are most passionate. Kevin will therefore now be able to put all his focus behind his amazing creation The Duck Inn, allowing him to be in the best position possible to grow his already great success there," wrote Rockit Ranch in a press release.
Hickey cited that he needs to be more "present" at his concepts. Apparently, there will be soon another exciting announcement about The Duck Inn that Hickey will be sharing in the upcoming months, as he teased in his letter.
Check out the whole letter here.