Dustin Drankiewicz / Partner
Dustin Drankiewicz began his path in hospitality at age 13 when he worked at his town’s only sit-down restaurant as a dishwasher and busboy. Over the last 20 years, he’s worked every position in bars and restaurants all over the country. At the age of 21, he began his professional career behind the bar at a rock-n-roll club in Milwaukee called Vnuk’s Lounge, under the tutelage of Dave Vnuk. Guided by Vnuk’s and Dale Degroff’s “Craft of the Cocktail,” Drankiewicz fully immersed himself in the bar world, honing and refining his craft for the next 12 years. As an accomplished beverage director, Drankiewicz has led bar operations for groups like 16 On Center and Well Street Market, a new food hall in Downtown Chicago. After launching Bar Harvest, a bar consulting group, Drankiewicz opened his own bar concepts, Pink Squirrel and Deadbolt – both in Chicago’s trendy Logan Square neighborhood – in 2017.
Dustin has been recognized alongside the country’s top bar professionals for his work. A few notable awards include: Seven’s “Young Guns” award, National “Nail or Fail” (Drambuie), GQ & Bombay Sapphires Award for “Most Imaginative Bartender”, Shake It Up National finalist, Jean Banchet nominee for “Best Mixologist” and included in “People To Watch 2016” by Chicago Magazine.
Dustin is the co-author for “Cocktails for Ding Dongs” released under Curbside Splendor Publishing.
Lamar Moore / Chef
Chef Lamar Moore was born and raised in Chicago, IL and began showing his love for culinary arts as early as age 8. In his formative years, Chef Lamar learned the importance of cooking with love, taking care of people, and giving back to those less fortunate while spending the summers and cooking alongside his grandmother in Tupelo Mississippi. Today, he maintains a progressive culinary career with more than 15 years of experience working in sports stadiums, restaurants and hotels. As the Executive Chef of the all-new Swill Inn – a 30-40 seat, food-driven bar with a chef’s counter and basement dancehall in River West — Moore adds a soulful flair to bar food classics including original flavors and heirloom recipes specifically from the South’s “All American City.”
As a qualified Professional Chef, he holds a degree in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. He has traveled the world to Europe, Greece, and throughout the United States extending his knowledge and expertise of international cuisine — ranging from Latin American to Peruvian as well as American and French fine dining. As a proud member of the American Culinary Federation, Chef Lamar has leveraged the platform to mentor aspiring chefs and serve as the keynote Speaker at the National Restaurant Association Show. He is also a chef mentor and leader for ProStart, a two-year educational program for teens through the National Restaurant Association, where he shares his culinary experience with local Chicago Public School students by conducting demonstrations and workshops.
Previously, Chef Lamar has worked at Smoke Daddy, and hotel CHICAGO. He was named NewCity’s Top 50 Chefs of 2018. He has also been featured in media outlets including Zagat News Weekly, Chicago Reader, PlateOnline.com, and the Chicago Tribune and will be featured on a national Bravo TV show in Fall of 2018.
Roy Appukuttan / Partner
Born and raised on Chicago’s north side, Roy Appukuttan has always had a passion for the hospitality industry. As a first generation immigrant from India, Appukuttan followed in his father’s footsteps to become an entrepreneur focused on the building industry. In 2009, Appukuttan launched Zar Construction & Development, Inc., a company that remodels, designs and builds commercial and residential spaces. While working on Deadbolt, a bar in Logan Square, with Chicago cocktail expert, Dustin Drankiewicz, the two found common ground on their approach to designing spaces and soon worked on the famed Pink Squirrel bar next door together.
Roy’s strength in his partnership with Drankiewicz comes from his ability to not only see the potential of a space from the perspective of a builder but also have the tools to fully utilize its capacity for optimum use of a venue and thus, a more aggressive strategy for revenue generation.
Given Roy’s background in construction and development with the addition of his love for hospitality, he is the mastermind behind the buildout and design of The Swill Inn. After coming across the abandoned space in Chicago’s River West neighborhood, Roy saw the perfect opportunity for him and Drankiewicz to invest in building as their first formal project together. His role in this project has been pivotal in transforming the space while preserving the historical aspects and elements of this once hidden, alcohol-prohibited bar. Roy has maximized the experience for all guests with his expert crafted design and build out of Swill Inn.