ABOUT ONWARD & TEAM
• VICENTE ROMERO - GENERAL MANGER
• MORGAN OLSZEWSKI - DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
• ROBERT WALOWSKI - CHEF DE CUISINE
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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As the Pastry Chef for Onward, Karianne Soulsby oversees the pastry program from concept and creation to execution. She is also responsible for maintaining the ongoing quality and consistency of each dish. Soulsby brings over a decade of experience to her role of creating sweet and satisfying treats for guests at Onward.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Soulsby had an unconventional path to desserts, beginning with her career in theatre. After graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit, Soulsby went on a national tour of The Wizard of Oz where she spent time in cities across the United States – including Chicago. When the tour completed, she moved to Chicago to combine her two loves – theatre and desserts!
Though never losing her interest and passion for the performing arts, Soulsby went on to attend The French Pastry School and has trained with some of the world's most elite pastry masters and celebrated American chefs in the fine art of pastries, desserts and confections.
With experience in top-rated Chicago area bakeries and restaurants including the critically acclaimed TRU and Zealous, Soulsby, perhaps, was most noted as the opening Executive Pastry Chef at Seven Lions where she created “one of the most fun dessert menus we've encountered in recent memory” (Kailley Lindman, Tasting Table, 3-3-15) and “the best dish I had at Seven Lions, if not the best dessert I’ve had this year” (ref. Breakfast Cereal Bowl, Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out Chicago 3-27-15). Her desserts at Seven Lions were also featured in Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Tasting Table, Reader and Eater.
Most recently, Soulsby was the Executive Pastry Chef at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, a senior baker at Sweet Mandy B’s, and General Manager of Warm Belly Bakery in the West Loop and Lincoln Park.
In her free time, Soulsby enjoys a good home improvement project, spending time with her daughters and playing tuba in the DePaul New Horizons band. She also hopes return to singing and dancing again, Chicago cabaret style.
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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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