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Charles Joly Takes Over At The Aviary

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jun 28, 2012 2:30PM

2012_6_28_Joly.jpg When The Aviary fired Craig Schoettler, it was only a matter of time before they announced who would be taking over his job - an operation so high-profile can't go without a boss for long. We had no clue who they would choose, since the job is so unique and Chef/Owner Grant Achatz doesn't seem all that fond of hiring traditional "bartenders" to make drinks. Yesterday afternoon, we found out; Charles Joly, most recently of The Drawing Room, is taking over the bar at The Aviary in late July.

In a statement released yesterday, Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz announced Joly and simultaneously confronted and avoided the chef/bartender contradiction. "Charles will no doubt proudly call himself a bartender while we made the distinction to utilize 'chefs' in the Aviary 'kitchen'. Therein lies the allure of working together. Charles is one of the most talented, knowledgeable, and accomplished bartenders in the country. Combining his experience with the Aviary's staff, resources, and culinary focus will allow both Charles and the Aviary to stretch in new, creative directions."

We've been a huge fan of Joly's for years, and we've profiled more than one of his cocktail recipes in the past. We suspect that he'll bring a needed touch of tradition to such a radically innovative restaurant.

Yesterday night, after the announcement came out, Joly spoke about his feelings on the change. "A little over six years ago, we sat in our office and began to envision a venue that would eventually become the Drawing Room. The creative energy in the room, the warmth and excitement of our guests and the feeling of community have sustained and driven me...I couldn’t be more proud to continue my journey as a professional bartender in Chicago, accepting the role of Beverage Director at the Aviary. The opportunity to work with Grant Achatz and his team, in order to continue to drive the evolution of the concept, is an future I’m looking forward to facing head on. Our shared love for food, drink, our guests and the experiences that come with them will undoubtedly lead to wonderful results."

We can't wait to see what he comes up with.