Joiners

In Joiners, hosts Tim Tierney and Danny Shapiro take a casual stroll through the world of hospitality by chatting with its most colorful characters.

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Episodes

2 days ago

In collaboration with Tales of the Cocktail for our first entirely remote episode, we're on the horn with New York City's Harrison Ginsberg. He's a world-class bartender and bar director who cut his teeth at renowned establishments in Providence and Chicago before heading back to the Big Apple to help curate one of the finest hospitality experiences on the planet: Overstory, a 64th-floor cocktail bar that spoils visitors with a breathtaking view and equally memorable libations. He tells us all about his journey in a conversation covering the key differences between Chicago and NYC cocktail scenes, watching the first season of "Cheers" as training, the challenges inherent to memorizing an extensive repertoire of drinks, and so much more. 

Monday Jul 15, 2024

It’s happy hour on Joiners this week as we sit down for a booze-infused conversation with Luke DeYoung. He's a bartender and cocktail craftsman with decades of experience at some of the city’s finest bars, including Scofflaw, where he worked alongside the one and only Danny Shapiro. Together, they have been hard at work on Sip Sip, a video cocktail series that seeks to lower the barrier of entry for handcrafted cocktails with engaging tutorials and educational content. To top it all off, he's the beverage director behind Oliver's, a 1930s speakeasy in the South Loop that opened earlier this year to much fanfare. This is a man who knows his way around a good pour — we get into the nitty-gritty of technique, deliberately finite dining experiences, the best spots for heavy petting at Scofflaw, and, as always (because we can’t help ourselves): so much more.

Monday Jul 08, 2024

This week, we're excited to sit down with Thomas Oh who recently opened his newest restaurant, Perilla Korean American Steakhouse with his partner Andrew Lim. It's a fine dining joint dedicated to creatively reinterpreting Chicago steakhouse staples with a modern twist -- and delivering with the commitment to hospitality Thomas clearly champions. We explore what it's like to collaborate with one of the world's largest food corporations, the best way to make instant ramen (and why it matters), the unique challenges and opportunities of being a second-generation restaurateur, and so much more.

Monday Jul 01, 2024

This week, we delve into the world of Michael Muser, a charismatic veteran sommelier who has played a pivotal role in shaping Chicago's dining scene. With his characteristic showmanship and deep passion for hospitality, Michael guides us through a captivating array of topics, his raconteur's charm on full display. From his beginnings as a self-described "baseball brat" to his influential positions at prestigious venues like the Peninsula Hotel and Grace, Michael's journey is a fascinating one. Now a partner at award-winning establishments Ever, After, and The Canvas, his story offers rich insights into the world of fine dining. In this episode, we explore what draws people to the hospitality industry and examine the challenges and changes in a post-COVID landscape, particularly the exodus of mid-career professionals. Michael regales us with tales that range from Olivia Colman's near-miss as a scullery worker at Ever, to the intricate "Russian dolls" of wine knowledge, to rubbing shoulders with Chris Nolan's complicated brother, and so much more.

Monday Jun 24, 2024

This week, we're strengthening the Chicago-Cleveland connection by chatting with one of The Land's kind titans of hospitality: Andrew Watts, the proprietor of the renowned Cordelia, a restaurant named for his great grandmother. Known for its delicious, elevated, sharable takes on American classics (conceived by Andrew's right-hand man, Chef Vinnie Cimino), Cordelia was named Cleveland Magazine's best new restaurant of 2023 and was honored as a 2024 James Beard Award finalist. Andrew was kind enough to stop by the studio while he was in town for the awards, and we had an amazing chat about his fascinating journey across the hospitality landscape and how he realized his dream of opening his own restaurant. We cover the delicate dance of feedback, opening a hotel in Cleveland while their baseball team was in the World Series, tactfully bouncing celebrity guests, and a clandestine chef hang, replete with banana leaf exfoliation and bandsaw steaks for those lucky enough to be in the know.

Monday Jun 17, 2024

This week, we sit down with Ria Neri, the creative force behind the acclaimed Four Letter Word Coffee and a certified Cicerone with an unwavering passion for craft beer, made crystal clear by her founding of Whiner Beer Company. Inspired by the vibrant coffee culture in Istanbul, Ria and her partners opened their first café on Burgaz Island before bringing their vision to Chicago. Ria shares the fascinating origin of the Four Letter Word name, their journey to creating a haven for coffee lovers in Logan Square, and her love for both beer and coffee. We also learn how a simple excuse to travel can turn into a thriving business and get to the bottom of the distinction between gose and gueuze (yes, they're different kinds of beer.) This is an episode you don't want to miss: Ria is a true connoisseur of sensory experiences, and it's clear that she loves to share her passion. 

Monday Jun 10, 2024

This week, we speak to another member of the growing Highland Park mafia — Adam Pollack, a cook turned farmer, responsible for supplying some of the best restaurants in the city. Adam grows his produce right here in the heart of Chicago at Closed Loop Farms. He tells us about his journey, from discovering his passion for food and fresh ingredients, and ultimately expanding his culinary horizons by learning how to grow his own produce. We dig deep into the soil with this one, exploring the art and science of urban farming and how it's reshaping our city's culinary landscape.

Monday Jun 03, 2024

Do tropical drinks actually make for gnarly hangovers? What have been the major advancements in distilling in the last century? What happens when a college kid has drink-slinging know-how and unfettered access to booze? In this week’s episode of Joiners, we explore big questions with none other than Kevin Beary, the sagacious beverage director behind River North tiki treasure Three Dots and a Dash. He tells us about his journey from underage bartending in Philadelphia to working towards his master’s degree in distilling science. Listen now for a history of the perennial tiki fascination, a deep dive into what makes good rum, beverage direction wisdom, and much more.

Monday May 27, 2024

For our latest episode, we sit down with the inimitable Cecily Federighi to explore her fascinating path from the fashion world to the culinary scene. Cecily takes us through her early days being scouted at Six Flags as a teen, globe-trotting adventures in the modeling world, and learning the ins and outs of the restaurant industry from the ground up with Eat Free Pizza. She shares behind-the-scenes stories from opening Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream with Ed Marszewski and Won Kim, the joys and challenges of taking over an old school pizza joint with Kim’s Uncle Pizza in Westmont, and her latest venture -- Pizz’amici in West Town. Along the way, we dive into the nitty gritty of dough hydration, the perfect martini, an impassioned defense of Taco Bell, and as always, so much more.   

Monday May 20, 2024


For episode 101, we are sitting down for a master class on hospitality with one of its most innovative and fastidious practitioners. Chris Gerber is a front-of-house guru whose attention to detail and commitment to guests at places like Trio, Alinea, and currently Smyth + The Loyalist have helped earn those establishments scores of well-deserved accolades, including a third Michelin star for Smyth. He comes to the studio to tell us all about how he helped manifest such a coveted title, what Jeff Buckley taught him about excellence, going the extra mile to give guests an unforgettable experience, and so much more.

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