The Tribune recently sat down with founder Taki Kastanis:
Q: How did you get started in the restaurant business?
A: I grew up in it. In college, I attempted to get out of the restaurant business, and I went pre-med for a couple years. Then I decided to do some real estate, but the restaurant industry was in my blood, so when I had an opportunity to purchase the land and a restaurant out in the suburbs, I jumped at the chance. It was called Egg'lectic Cafe. I opened that one, putting my doctor aspirations behind me, slowed down on the real estate and went back in full force to the restaurant industry.
From there, we experimented with the menu and different systems, which turned into the first Yolk. The original store in the South Loop opened Nov. 21, 2006. River North opened next in line, then Streeterville, West Loop and Lakeview up on Diversey.
Another interesting question and answer in the interview pertained to why Yolk has been so well received:
Q: What is the secret to your success? A: I think the secret is that we created something different that appeals to a broad range of customers. We're kind of a new-age diner, if you will. I don't really like using that term but same idea where people from all walks of life — businessmen, tourists, families — feel comfortable at Yolk. We're not trying to be too fancy, we're not trying to be too "hipster" or something we're not.While we know he's specifically talking about Yolk, the sentiment also seemed to pertain to the Sloop. People often ask us "what is the Sloop like?" and while we are able to define it, for whatever reason it seems to be long-winded.
But maybe the best way to sum up the Sloop is that it just has broad appeal to people from all walks of life? Thoughts?