How do you make a GreenRiver? One way is to dump that orange stuff in the river on St. Patrick’s Day. Another way, the operative one for Chicago food and drink news, combines the efforts of the modestly named hospitality company The Best Bar in the World and Danny Meyer’s (no relation to the Meyer half of this item’s byline) Union Square Events.
GreenRiver’s location hasn’t yet been revealed, even though its scheduled opening comes this summer, but we do know it will carry an Irish theme, more authentically filled with Gaelic charm because it has actual Irishmen running it, and it will specialize in whiskey. Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, who opened the Dead Rabbit in New York after garnering international recognition at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, run The Best Bar in the World, whose trophy case actually backs up its boastful name.
“Danny Meyer’s groups paid attention about what we did [at the Dead Rabbit],” Muldoon says. “They asked us about six months ago if we would like to do [GreenRiver] with them. He already had the place in mind for sure.”
Muldoon says GreenRiver’s decor slants modern, with old-school touches, especially in the print design. “The Dead Rabbit looks old with a lot of modern things going on,” he says. “This will be the opposite.”
Chef Aaron Lirette (Acadia, Celeste, MK) will run the kitchen, turning out contemporary, locally influenced food.
To hear Muldoon tell it, a catalyst of his success was a guy named Harry Harrison. Here’s the story in Muldoon’s (condensed and edited) words:
“One of our regular customers, Connor, was aware of the awards we were winning for the bar in Belfast. He worked for the stock exchange in New York. He had never had a cocktail before, and I had just won this competition with a Ketel One cocktail I called the Mr. Harrison. I used to work on a cruise ship and Mr. Harrison was a lovely, funny character named Harry Harrison from Colorado. He was a vodka drinker, and he loved Ketel One.
“I made the drink for Connor, and he came in every night for it. And he brought his Wall Street guys with him. You always knew Connor was in the room when you got a big order for Mr. Harrisons.
“He came in over the next three years. He was taken aback that we could do this in Belfast. He wanted us in a better place where we would be rewarded more: New York!”