meet the team of lunatics that make this place a real hoot.
Not long ago, Alisha was working the cash register at her uncle’s pizza joint when the pantry cook called in sick. She stepped up and hasn’t looked back. Alisha’s been part of our fam since 2015, when she joined our sister restaurant mfk. as a part-time prep cook. She made sous chef a year later and executive chef the year after that, at 23. Her star keeps rising (and her Led Zeppelin tattoos multiplying). She was a finalist for the 2019 James Beard Rising Star Chef and nabbed a similar honor at the Jean Banchet Awards. So yeah, keep your eyes on this one.
Neal’s Instagram handle is @goodguyneal, which basically sums it up. Nonetheless, here is more about him: He learned how to toss pizzas in high school. He taught classes on spirits, beer and cocktails at The Kitchen and ran the beverage program and special events at Chop Shop. He was a beer tour guide, which is as rad as it sounds. Before Bar Biscay, he was front of house manager at mfk. If you happen to catch the psychedelic Afrobeat band Jaime Rojo and see a guy playing bass who looks like Neal, that is in fact Neal.
This is going to sound like a Wes Anderson script but… Archie is the son of a violin prodigy who played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He picked up the guitar at 11 and began writing songs (not very good ones) at 15. After college he started the band Archie Powell & The Exports. They still gig and write songs (pretty good ones, says NPR!). Archie got his start in hospitality tending bar at mfk., where he coined and began fine-tuning the concept of “extreme hospitality.” He sometimes spins at our Last Saturdays Discotheque under the name DJ Big Dumb Caesar.
Sari Zernich Worsham
Sari gets it done. A Culinary Institute of America grad, she was one of the first female line cooks at Charlie Trotter’s. She also: co-wrote 13 of the late chef’s Beard Award-winning cookbooks; was culinary producer for his PBS series, “The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter”; and launched his grocery line. Since 2007, Sari has been executive director and partner of the Art Smith Co. That’s what took her to Smith’s Art & Soul restaurant in Washington D.C., opened and managed by one Scott Worsham. Romance, travel and marriage ensued, yada yada, mfk. and now Bar Biscay!
Scott has more than 25 years of hospitality experience. He left Chicago for Sonoma County in 1985 to immerse himself in the business of food and wine, which led to positions with The Ritz-Carlton Hotels, The Palm Steakhouse Group, BLT Steak and Campton Place Hotel. He opened Art Smith’s Southern Art & Bourbon Bar in Atlanta and Art & Soul in Washington D.C., where he met Sari, his future wife. Thus began a yearslong campaign to talk her into opening a restaurant, which they did in 2014 with mfk. Scott is the nattiest dresser among us. He will eat all the sardines.
People who follow the Chicago food scene know Joe as the Chicago Food Snob. He wrote a blog by that name for years. He is not a snob (he might argue with you on that point) but he knows food, having gone to culinary school and worked both front and back of house alongside such renowned chefs as Charlie Trotter and Graham Elliot. He left restaurants in 2008 to take over his family’s merchant services business, which he still runs, but he returned to partner with Scott and Sari on Bar Biscay in 2018. Joe has twin daughters; wish him luck.