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Kinderhook Tap to be sold; new owners hope to reopen in March

Time:2017-02-04 15:25wine - Red wine life health Click:

chef Tavern owner Oak Park Kinderhook

Kinderhook Tap

Kinderhook Tap

Caitlin Mullen / Pioneer Press

Daniel Vogel, chef/owner of catering company Food Obsession, is set to purchase The Kinderhook Tap, 800 S. Oak Park Ave. in Oak Park, seen Feb. 1. Vogel said he plans to keep the restaurant and bar's neighborhood feel and craft beer focus while changing the business name, updating decor and emphasizing fresh, farm-to-table dining.

Daniel Vogel, chef/owner of catering company Food Obsession, is set to purchase The Kinderhook Tap, 800 S. Oak Park Ave. in Oak Park, seen Feb. 1. Vogel said he plans to keep the restaurant and bar's neighborhood feel and craft beer focus while changing the business name, updating decor and emphasizing fresh, farm-to-table dining. (Caitlin Mullen / Pioneer Press)

Caitlin MullenPioneer Press

The owner of a local catering business is set to purchase a popular neighborhood restaurant and bar in south Oak Park.

Daniel Vogel, chef/owner of Oak Park catering company Food Obsession, said they'll close on the purchase of The Kinderhook Tap on Feb. 6. According to a Facebook post, Kinderhook shuts it doors at the end of the business day Feb. 5. Vogel hopes to reopen at the beginning of March.

"This is not a close-for-six-months kind of thing," Vogel said.

Messages left for Kinderhook's current owners were not returned. A Facebook post from Jan. 30 announces the business' closure and their desire to sell the business — which opened seven years ago — to focus on Starved Rock Brewing in LaSalle.

Vogel said they had been talking about the purchase of the business on Oak Park Avenue since June 2016.

Although Vogel and his wife, Tricia, plan to keep the business' neighborhood feel and craft beer and spirit offerings, they plan to make some changes to the bar-restaurant, including updating decor, focusing on farm-to-table offerings and introducing more wines, and changing the business name.

A strong emphasis on great food and amazing service is important to Vogel. He didn't know if any staff from Kinderhook would continue working for the restaurant, as they hadn't yet talked to any employees.

"It's a great neighborhood place, so we're not going to reinvent the entire wheel; we just want it to fit more our style," he said, adding that after seven years, change isn't a bad thing.

Vogel, a self-described Iowa farm boy and trained chef with 25 years of experience in restaurants and the hospitality industry, said he envisions the restaurant being an extension of Food Obsession to some degree.

As of now, he plans to keep the catering space at 809 South Blvd. which he's occupied for four years, although they'd like to move everything to one location eventually.

"We're trying to build our brand," he said. "We have been looking to do the next thing for Food Obsession, but we didn't know what that was. … It's just the perfect size for what I wanted to do."

While Vogel has run countless restaurants, he said this will be the second venture where the buck stops with him. Actually, he corrected himself, it stops with Tricia, who works at Blue Plate Catering in Chicago, where they met.

Vogel said the yet-to-be-renamed restaurant will be open for dinner only, with brunch on weekends, and those hours will be revisited in the summer. Prices will be somewhat similar to Kinderhook's pricing, he said.

"We just want it to be a fun, warm, welcoming place," Vogel said.

Viktor Schrader, the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation's economic development manager, said he hopes Vogel can refresh the business in creative ways while maintaining its reputation as a go-to place for locals and families.

"They've done a good job of becoming the local spot in south Oak Park," Schrader said.

He appreciates that Vogel is trying to turn things around quickly, because "when things go dark for a little while, that's when people find somewhere else." He added Vogel brings a level of quality and familiarity that benefits the business.

"I'm sure when people find out he's behind this, they'll be receptive," Schrader said.

According to the Facebook post, those with gift cards for Kinderhook should use them by Feb. 5.

Caitlin Mullen is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

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