We first heard of mixologist Michael Simon at the ill-fated Black Sheep, though by that point he'd already spent two years at Graham Elliot. But like other staff at The Black Sheep (Phil Rubino, now of Moderno, pastry chef Sarah Jordan, now of Boka), he bounced from that train wreck to a higher-profile opening, Acadia, and really established himself as an ingenious and engaging presence at the bar with things like absinthe-flavored ice cubes. (It helped that he looks the standard mixologist's neo-1920s part better than almost anybody.) And now, during Mixologists Changing Jobs Week at Grub Street Chicago, he has been lured away to help another fairly new restaurant upgrade its bar program.
Simon tweeted yesterday that Saturday, before Acadia closes for a 10-day vacation, would be his last day there. A commenter at 312 Dining Diva suggested that he was going to the Carriage House, the new Southern restaurant from the team behind The Bedford, but we have learned that The Bedford itself is his main, or at least first, destination. The Bedford, though always solid (and always packed), opened as a pretty safe Wicker Park version of a downtown after-work drinking hole, but Chef Mark Steuer has been steadily making the menu more interesting and adventurous— and we'll be happy to see the cocktail program gain a similar seriousness of approach.