ABOUT ONWARD & TEAM
• VICENTE ROMERO - ASSISTANT GENERAL MANGER
• ROBERT WALOWSKI - SOUS CHEF
• KEVIN MCCORMICK - PASTRY CHEF
• EMILY PRASSAS - SOUS CHEF / KITCHEN MANAGER
Executive Chef Patrick Russ brings more than 10 years of experience working in some of Chicago’s best-known restaurants to the Onward kitchen.
Shaped by his many experiences, Russ offers a unique and captivating cooking philosophy. He focuses on the reinterpretation of simple, rustic cuisine by practicing complex methods and playful presentations and by always emphasizing the importance of balance between flavor and texture. Russ is highly committed to his craft as chef, upholding the highest standards of operations in the kitchen and thriving in environments that allow him the freedom of incorporating new ingredients, menu items and techniques.
As a resident of Rogers Park, Onward is a unique opportunity for Russ to shine a bright culinary light on his neighborhood. Onward will offer a fun and playful take on new American in an elevated neighborhood setting. The menu will feature unique, yet accessible and delicious, varieties of both small and large plates for diners to share.
Most recently, Russ was Executive Chef for Seven Lions. Prior to Seven Lions, he served as Executive Chef at The Dawson, and previously as Chef de Partie at Next when it received the prestigious James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. Russ also held roles at restaurants in Miami, Indianapolis and Seattle.
Russ has an Associate of Science Degree in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu College in Miami. When he isn’t in the kitchen, he focuses on family and friends.
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Onward Owner and Investor Michael Olszewski has built a successful career as a prominent real estate developer, both servicing non-performing real estate for institutional lenders, governmental entities and Wall Street firms, in addition to having expertise in the residential real estate arena. Following one outstanding dining experience with his wife, Olszewski realized his passion for dining and how an exceptional restaurant can change someone’s life. He aims to deliver experiences like these to diners across the City, particularly those on the North Side, as the Owner and Investor of Onward Chicago.
Upon falling in love with hospitality, Olszewski entered his first foray into the restaurant industry as Owner of Chicago’s former Grace, where the restaurant earned a coveted 3-star rating by Michelin Guide, among numerous other accolades.
As Owner of Onward, Olszewski’s goal is to create a destination for great food and exceptional service at a place that residents of Rogers Park can call their own. A Loyola Chicago alumnus, Olszewski is committed to making sure Onward stays true to the inclusive, innovative spirit of Rogers Park.
Olszewski is proud to open the restaurant with the exceptional Onward team which includes his daughter Morgan Olszewski as Director of Operations, and Executive Chef Patrick Russ.
As the financial backer of Onward, Olszewski is proud to support the team’s creative ambitions.
Olszewski also instituted working with Waste Not Compost to assist in recycling decayed organic material into plant fertilizer. Waste Not Compost’s organic fertilizer reduces the need for chemical fertilizers which results in healthier food consumption. Onward has partnered with Waste Not Compost Chicago to ensure environmental responsibility.
Olszewski is dedicated to creating an environment that will be special for everyone to enjoy, allowing for a memorable experience each and every time. As a goal-oriented professional, he thrives off the opportunity to combine restaurants with finance, as business is another driving force presenting an exciting outlet for creating a successful endeavor. Outside of his career in real estate development and restaurant ownership, Olszewski loves spending time with his wife, children and a large network of other family and friends.
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