Beauty Bar | Bite Cafe | Empty Bottle | Empty Bottle Presents | Dusek’s | Longman & Eagle | MONEYGUN | Punch House |
Revival Food Hall | Saint Lou's Assembly | Tack Room | The Ruin Daily | Thalia Hall | The Promontory
A Chicagoland native, Bruce Finkelman’s celebrated path in hospitality began as a graduate of the University of Missouri’s inaugural Food and Beverage program. Working his way through school at Columbia’s storied Blue Note music club, he found a home for his love of music.
Returning to Chicago and he landed a job with Hyatt Hotels Corp but was stifled by the big-box corporate mentality and he decided to head out on his own. A late night drive through Ukrainian Village would foreshadow the launch of the Empty Bottle. Described by Finkelman as a “cat-ridden hole-in-the-wall,” musical acts from all over the globe were welcomed as Chicago’s music scene blossomed. Two decades later, it is the only Chicago venue to make Rolling Stone magazine’s "20 Best Rock Clubs."
Bruce then went on to launch joint ventures Bite Café and Beauty Bar before opening doors to Logan Square’s Longman & Eagle in 2010. Named a ‘Best New Restaurant in America’ by both GQ and Esquire magazines, Longman & Eagle is nationally recognized for its standout menu with a focus on seasonally driven cuisine and bourbon.
Finkelman’s manifold restaurant concepts are a function of his evolving palate. While bourbon took center stage at Longman & Eagle, and beer became the focus for Dusek’s, live music has always remained a relative constant in Bruce’s pursuits. Finkelman attributes his collection of diverse music venues to his love of live performances. “Create a place where you would want to be, and there are sure to be some others who will like it as well.” He spends what free time he has with his wife and daughter, perusing galleries and restaurants, discovering Chicago’s unique architectural history and neighborhoods, hopelessly rooting for its hometown football team and relaxing at home.
Dusek’s | Longman & Eagle | MONEYGUN | Punch House | Saint Lou's Assembly | SPACE | Tack Room | Thalia Hall | The Promontory
Craig Golden is the President of Blue Star Properties, a Chicago based commercial real estate company known for the acquisition and revitalization of urban properties. Before establishing Blue Star, Craig co-founded Sterling Bay Companies in 1986 with a high school friend. For over 20 years, they bought and redeveloped numerous properties, focusing on Chicago commercial opportunities in need of extensive rehab and redesign. Launching Blue Star allowed Craig to pursue a wider range of projects, utilizing his real estate knowledge and experience. Passionate for redeveloping older structures to fit the modern workplace, His portfolio currently contains over two million square feet of commercial space and he continues to seek new and exciting projects.
Having begun his post college life playing in bands, and after a number of financially unrewarding years, Craig learned the construction business out of necessity. The former musician also likes a good meal. Through his real estate endeavors Craig has been able to incorporate his love for music and dining into his projects wherever he can. In what can only be described as a stroke of luck he began partnering with local club-owner and music maven Bruce Finkleman. The two formed the company 16 On Center and almost a decade later, they have opened numerous restaurants and music venues in and around Chicago.
Craig is married with three wonderful children and lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Director of Operations
Dusek’s | MONEYGUN | Punch House | Saint Lou's Assembly | Tack Room | Thalia Hall | The Promontory | Revival Food Hall | The Ruin Daily
An events professional with a penchant for the creative, Elizabeth Tulipana is a Louisiana native who spent her childhood in Omaha, Nebraska before settling in Chicago after school.
Post-graduation from Miami University (Ohio), she traveled through Europe for two months before landing in a development position at Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium, rising from Manager of Donor and Special Events to Assistant Director of Donor Relations during her four years and 50+ annual events with the organization. Elizabeth then went on to open her own business, Anticipation Events, at the age of 27. She still serves as Creative Director & Principal of the company, which is now in its seventh year of business, currently contracts six event planners and facilitated 30 weddings last year alone.
Tulipana’s longtime love of live music is what initially drew her to the position of Events Director for the opening team of the Thalia Hall property in 2013, shortly followed by the launch of The Promontory the following year. Now as her responsibilities continue to increase with each new project, Tulipana has been named Director of Operations for 16" on Center, the newly formed and overarching parent group of the growing restaurant collective.
Tulipana stays busy in her free time with a variety of creative pursuits—she’s written pieces for the likes of Marie Claire Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler, enjoys bopping around Logan Square in pursuit of Bloody Mary's, and she continues her globetrotting adventures every chance she gets.
Director of Hospitality
Dusek’s | MONEYGUN | Punch House | Saint Lou's Assembly | Tack Room | Thalia Hall | The Promontory
A musician at heart, Will Duncan grew up playing drums in suburban Washington D.C. before moving to Upstate New York to study performance jazz. Rising from dishwasher to waiter at a small neighborhood restaurant set Duncan’s passion for food ablaze. He re-located to New York City to work as a waiter at the Blue Water Grill. The gig allowed him the flexibility to play drums several nights a week in the big-city music scene. Aside from his passion for music, Duncan found himself energized by the restaurant’s frenetic pace, and a hospitality career slowly began to reveal itself.
Duncan then relocated to Chicago, where he once again resumed his server-by-day, musician-by-night persona. Leveraging his Manhattan resume, he assumed a position which, under the guidance of One Off Hospitality’s Terry Alexander, proved an integral transition in his career. Soon after, he was drawn toward The Empty Bottle–the Ukrainian Village’s nexus of music and hospitality. His ambition at The Empty Bottle opened the door for him to train the opening staff at Michelin-starred Longman & Eagle. Duncan solidified his cocktail knowledge as Longman’s General Manager, which set up his role in creating the retro-chic Punch House concept. Duncan’s successful management of both Punch House and Thalia Hall and subsequent role as Director of Operations for the group led to his position as Director of Hospitality / Partner.
Though he’s since stopped playing drums (once the creative reward in formulating restaurant concepts surpassed that of drumming), he unwinds with his wife and son at his Logan Square home, where he built a home bar as a hobby carpenter.
Beauty Bar | Bite Cafe | Empty Bottle | Empty Bottle Presents | Dusek’s | Longman & Eagle | MONEYGUN | Punch House | Saint Lou's Assembly | SPACE | Tack Room | Thalia Hall | The Promontory
Victor David Giron is a CPA with over 15 years of experience working in finance. He’s worked in a variety of industries including financial services with PricewaterhouseCoopers, energy with Exelon Energy, and most recently spirits serving five years as Controller of Jim Beam Brands North America where he was responsible for the financial close of a $2 billion commercial segment.
Besides being a numbers guy, Victor’s appreciation for the arts and culture has lead him into various pursuits, including founding Curbside Splendor Publishing, named "Best Independent Publisher in 2014" by Chicago Magazine and one of ”Chicago’s Top Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2013” by Time Out Chicago. Curbside has published over 30 books achieving regional and national press and awards. At 16" on Center he’s found a home that allows him to apply his corporate finance experience, and be part of a team of culturally like-minded folks.
Victor is also a member of 826CHI’s Board of Directors, a not-for-profit based in Wicker Park that provides free writing tutoring in an engaging fashion to Chicago’s inner-city youth. Victor is a Chicago native, and has two rascally boys whom he enjoys skateboarding and guitar playing with.