ROGERS PARK — After 30 years of working for some of Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurants, Christopher Sullivan decided to open his own spot.
Sullivan’s idea was to open a neighborhood bistro, a welcoming take on a restaurant one might find on a Parisian corner.
But that was before the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, Sullivan pivoted to something hopefully more pandemic-proof. That birthed Twilight Kitchen, a Rogers Park-based business that does catering and food delivery plus special events, dinner pop-ups and cooking classes and hosts a cafe on Sundays.
“This is the opposite of a restaurant in some ways,” Sullivan said. “It’s a lot of aspects of the business rolled into one. It’s an ever-changing thing as I see what works.”
Twilight Kitchen opened in November at 7135 N. Clark St., near where Sullivan lives with his family. The business is the culmination of three decades in the restaurant industry.
Sullivan has worked as a waiter, dish washer, bartender, baker and executive chef. He worked at acclaimed Chicago spots Blackbird and Avec, waiting tables during the week and taking on apprentice shifts in the kitchen on the weekends.
That experience led Sullivan to help open Ikram Cafe, a Gold Coast eatery attached to the boutique retail shop Ikram, where Sullivan served as executive chef 2011-2018.
After leaving Ikram, Sullivan wanted to go into business for himself. He began hosting pop-up events called Twilight Dinners at various spots, including Rogers Park’s Picnic Wine & Provisions.
While Sullivan worked toward opening his version of a neighborhood bistro, the COVID-19 pandemic swept in and devastated the restaurant industry.
Sullivan knew he had to change his idea — and his business had to adaptable to the ever-changing times.
“The old restaurant model doesn’t work anymore,” he said. “This can morph into anything it needs to be.”
Sullivan calls Twilight Kitchen a “food emporium.”
It offers catering to large offices and parties, plus food deliveries and meal kits for families, including Christmas dinners to-go. It hosts private events at its Clark Street space for things like holidays and retirement parties, where Sullivan will create custom menus.
The storefront houses cooking classes, the next one being a seafood class Jan. 13. It also hosts pop-up dinners in its space, where Sullivan prepares specialty and themed meals for the public.
Twilight Kitchen’s most public-facing facet is its Sunday market, when 10 a.m.-3 p.m. the space acts like a cafe, offering coffee, breakfast sandwiches and other foods inspired from what Sullivan has been making during the week. By the summer, Sullivan is hoping to have cafe seating along Clark Street during market hours.
The idea is to offer a bit of everything and see what is a hit with the public — and what works best during the pandemic, Sullivan said.
“It’s about figuring out what works best and focusing on that,” he said. “The Sunday market won’t keep this place alive. Everything put together can hopefully help me provide for me and my family.”
For my about Twilight Kitchen’s events and offerings, click here.
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