Here at the Duck Inn, we employ only the most talented, fun, creative, driven young professionals in the business. We're a family. And that's why when you dine at The Duck Inn, we treat you like family.
Kevin Hickey | Chef-Patron
In 2014, Chef Hickey, partnered with Rockit Ranch Productions and opened Bottlefork; a concept that offers locally sourced and globally inspired cuisine & cocktails and displays Chef Hickey’s penchant for big, bold flavors showcased in modern interpretations of both familiar and new American dishes. Continuing Chef Hickey’s farm-to-table philosophy, Bottlefork features key collaborations with local Midwestern brewers & Distillers, farmers and more. Bottlefork has received numerous awards and accolades including been named one of the “Best New Restaurants of 2014” by Travel + Leisure.
Chef Hickey’s highly anticipated Bridgeport venture The Duck Inn opened in 2014. The Duck Inn, a neighborhood Tavern and Dining Room that is housed in a pre-prohibition era tavern that has continuously operated for almost a century, showcases Chef Hickey’s signature ingredient and seasonally driven modern American cuisine as well as an extensive beverage program filled with craft beers, contemporary cocktails and creative wine service.
In November 2015, The Duck Inn was named as one of the “Best New Restaurants in America” by Esquire Magazine, awarded a coveted Bib Gourmand by Michelin inspectors, named to the Top 10 restaurants in America by USA Today and chosen as Restaurant of the Year by Eater Chicago. The Chicago Tribune named Hickey, Chef of The Year for 2015.
Kevin Hickey lives in Bridgeport with his family on the street he grew up on.
Chef Hickey is also actively involved in several philanthropic organizations including Global Act, Growing Power and Common Threads.
Kris Delee | Executive Chef
To further his ambition, Delee enrolled in California Culinary Academy in 2003 and embraced his new career with passion. Upon graduation, he returned to Las Vegas where he accepted a position as a line cook at the famous Eiffel Tower Las Vegas, a popular tourist attraction and French dining venue. From there he went on to work as a chef de partie at Alize at the top of the Palms Hotel
Delee later went on to serve on the opening culinary teams of various restaurants all over the country. Possessing a self-proclaimed “soul for the soil”, he has spent the last decade traveling the US and opening venues in cities such as Los Angeles (The Frontyard), Cincinnati (Local 127), Austin (Olivia) and Chicago (Stout Barrel House, The Portage).
In February 2017, Delee accepted the offer to serve as Executive Chef at The Duck Inn, a Michelin-rated dining venue originally opened by Chef Kevin Hickey in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. He brings the inspiration of his travels, personal experiences and professional endeavors to his new role and has created several new innovative menu items for the venue that reflect all these components of his interesting life and quirky personality.
"My new menu is playful, technique-driven and unapologetic,” says Delee. “It reflects Bridgeport’s down-to-earth feel and Chicago’s collective attitude. I’m inspired by this city and its culinary scene, and look forward to sharing my new dishes with this great community."
Having dubbed his new menu for The Duck Inn as “working-class fine dining”, Delee has embraced the culture of the Bridgeport neighborhood and implemented its eccentricities into his dishes. For example, his Foie Gras Mousse is inspired by the childhood classic “Ants on a Log”, which features celery, peanut butter and raisins but with the surprise element of nasturtium and Lego-shaped mousse.
Brandon Phillips | Beverage Director
Upon completing a rigorous apprenticeship at one of Chicago’s most renowned cocktail bars, The Drawing Room, in 2014, Phillips earned the title of Master Bartender catching the eye of industry professionals all over the country, including Chef Kevin Hickey. Serving as Head Barkeep, Phillips would, one year later, open Bottlefork with Hickey, a stylish New American concept in Chicago that was almost immediately heralded by Wine Spectator & GQ Magazine as having some of the most innovative cocktails in the city.
Inspired by the success of their first partnership, Phillips & Hickey opened The Duck Inn in 2014, which would later be named one of the “10 hottest Bars in Chicago”, as well as given numerous “Best Restaurant” accolades from publications such as Eater Chicago, Esquire Magazine and USA Today.
Phillips went on to represent the United States in the 2015 Global Beefeater MIXLDN Competition where he triumphed against 30 finalists from around the world with his “Hackney Handshake” cocktail. Included in Zagat’s prestigious annual 30 Under 30 roundup, Phillips was also honored by The Chicago Tribune which named him “Bartender of the Year” in 2016.
Most recently, as Principal Bartender, Phillips has assisted Rich Melman, and Lettuce Entertain You, in the opening of Booth One, a posh vintage restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel, which formerly housed the famed Pump Room.
John Pickens-Green | Senior Operations Manager
Studying under Chef Luigi De Nunzio, John learned everything he could about Italian wine & cuisine. He continued his training with Chef Paul McMillion, learning the art of French traditional service and Pacific Northwest farm-to-table culture.
"'Elevated’ and ‘Inviting’ are not at odds in the dining experience. On the contrary, they are both essential to what people look for in a restaurant, and The Duck Inn is testament to that."
After returning to Chicago, John spent time in Loop restaurants before joining The Duck Inn shortly after its opening. Since his arrival, he has strived to synergize downtown fine dining with neighborhood hospitality.
Beth Salentiny | Operations Manager
"Too much of anything is bad. But too much Champagne is just right." — F. Scott Fitzgerald
Wanting to contribute further, Beth joined the management team in 2017 and is carrying on in her mission to inspire guests with great service and hospitality and, through the wine list she curates, inspire them to drink more bubbles!
Zoey Linnea Chiasson | Events Coordinator
“Celebration is my attitude, unconditional to what life brings.” — Rajneesh
Zoey has dedicated most of her young adulthood traveling around the world learning the art of hospitality and the craft of celebration.