Brendan Sodikoff has gone from a no-name chef in a Chicago-based restaurant empire to an entrepreneur with some of the most buzzed-about restaurants in the Midwest. He honed his skills at Lettuce Entertain You, which has opened more than 100 restaurants in a handful of states. Now, at age 34, he's already expanded his growing restaurant empire across the pond. Mr. Sodikoff's got a London spot, Electric Diner, and it's likely a few more will open there.
Stateside, he's the hottest restauranteur in Chicago, with nearly all of his concepts -- Donut Vault, Bavette's Bar & Boeuf, Au Cheval, Gilt Bar and Maude's Liquor Bar -- managing to top year-end best-of lists. And there's no sign of a slowdown: On the horizon are a pizzeria, a Jewish deli, a barbecue place and a Japanese noodle spot. And he's expanding beyond restaurant concepts with Hogsalt -- also the name of his company -- an editorial website dedicated to the "preservation of food culture."