Top Seeds with Josh Zadikoff

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Josh Zadikoff, Brand Operations Manager for Cornerstone Restaurant Group, has crossed all spans of positions in the restaurant industry. “I started out baking cookies and bussing tables in high school. That was my first experience.” In college, Josh discovered his passion for management when he completed a management internship training program at Wildfire in Glenview.

Even though Cornerstone was owned and operated by his family, Josh’s passion for the industry led him to other corporations and opportunities. “When I graduated from college, I worked for Hyatt for four years. I wanted to see a different side of hospitality and really get a feel for more than just our group. Eventually, we decided to open Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse and I transitioned into the opening management team.”

Cornerstone continued to grow as they partnered with Bill Kim on Urbanbelly, Belly Shack and Belly Q. Since Josh’s feet were officially wet, he moved into the Brand Operations Manager position, which encompasses working with restaurant teams and the Cornerstone marketing department. “My job is to really oversee the ongoing success of our restaurants and to make sure that there is positive execution among each individual restaurant team.” Based on the success of their restaurants, it seems that Josh is achieving his goal.

Josh’s Top Seeds

The Perfect Ramen

It’s really all about the broth. The source of the stock doesn’t matter to me because I eat it all, but it has to be well balanced with a silkiness and a good slurp.

Date Night with the Wife

Being in the restaurant industry rarely affords us a date “night”, so we actually tend to do a brunch date. More times than not, we end up at Birchwood Kitchen in Wicker Park. Emily {my wife} loves the beet and goat cheese sandwich and I usually get something seasonal. We love their patio in the summer and they always have a stellar quality of ingredients.

When we do get a date night, it’s usually on a Monday, so we’ll go over to La Sardine for 50 percent off bottles of wine. It’s just a classic, killer French bistro.

Next Big Trend in Food

Ramen is obviously huge right now and I think that will continue to grow and evolve. When you think about it, there is really very little moderately priced Asian food in Chicago outside of chains and fast food. I think restaurant groups are going to start taking a healthier, more casual approach to that region, particularly with Vietnamese food.  Think bolder, more undiscovered flavors.

Speaking of trends, it seems there is a new barbecue chain on every corner. What is the best of the best?

The original Smoque will always be my favorite. I get the sliced brisket, St. Louis ribs and coleslaw. The Sorkins are great friends and they participated in Ramen Fest this year. They did a brisket ramen that was insane.

The Air and Water Show took over the city last weekend. Love it or hate it?

If you do it the right way, it can be great. You need to hop on a boat and just take it in from the water.