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Food & Drink

Food Informants: A Week In The Life Of The Tippling Bros. Paul Tanguay & Tad Carducci

Food Informants is a week-in-the-life series profiling fascinating people in the food world. We hope it will give you a first-hand look at the many different corners of the food industry. Know someone who would make a great Food Informant? Tell us why.

Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci are beverage consultants and partners in Mercadito Hospitality group. In this role, they create and manage the beverage programs at the group's concepts throughout the country, including Tavernita, Little Market Brasserie and Mercadito in Chicago as well as Mercadito in Miami and New York. Most recently, the Bros. and the Mercadito Hospitality group are currently developing Tippling Hall, a new concept in Chicago's River North neighborhood that will debut later this summer.

Read more about how Paul and Tad balance responsibilities among their growing empire.

Monday, April 15

7:00am TAD: Woke up with taxes on the mind. Will have to scratch my name on a check by the end of the day, and it's going to hurt. Two days back from a nine-day working trip in Northern Italy. Inbox is at critical mass and "reminder" alerts are going off around me like air raid sirens. My pregnant wife and 3.5 year old son are in the tail-end throes of noro or rhino or Bono virus thing that has kept them clutching Tupperware buckets. Between fits of dry-heaving, wife wants to discuss "Craftsman" paint color schemes for exterior of house. Going to be an interesting day.

8:00am TAD: Quick diversion. Five minutes of CNN and Peter Dinklage highlights from SNL. Funny guy. About to tackle the remainder of construction on gargantuan Ikea wardrobe for bedroom. Giving the finger to the little jovial stick figure man with pencil behind ear on wordless instruction sheet. Thinking that there should be a maximum age limit imposed for purchasing DIY Swedish furnishings. Contemplating whether I need to shave today.


9:40am TAD: Answering questions for the first round of follow-up to a phone interview that I gave to Plate Magazine. At least I'm able to do it via email. I sound infinitely more erudite now than when journalists catch me at 8:00am before having coffee.

11am PAUL: Prepping checks for personal taxes and crying.

12pm TAD: Writing folder insert copy for a venture we recently partnered with. Trying to make terms like "hot-fill," "tetra-pack" and "macro-batch" sound sexy and exciting. Never let them know you can write.

12:30pm PAUL: Meeting with Chef Greg at Tavernita to review menu for our monthly Dinner Series. Pairings are set and the wine is ordered.

1pm PAUL: Reviewing the wine list at Tavernita and determining which changes need to be made for spring.

2pm PAUL: Reviewing weekly beverage costs for all the Mercadito Hospitality properties.

Tuesday, April 16

7:11am TAD: Drinking coffee and watching the sun come up through the blinds. It's distracting me, slightly, from writing my portion of a seminar outline. Refocusing. The seminar is on speed and efficiency behind bars in San Francisco later this week. Need to practice what I preach. My son will be up soon and work will be curtailed by Chugginton and turkey sausage.


9:30am TAD: Phone call with editor of cocktail book project to determine "specific reader benefits" for proposal version 13. Isn't the whole thing a specific reader benefit? Still contemplating shaving.

10:30am PAUL: Researching bar equipment for Tippling Hall, our newest project to open in August 2013. Sketching out by hand first, then will submit to architects to include in the official plans.


12:30pm PAUL: Lunch at Little Market Brasserie. Grilled Chicken Caesar instead of my typical sandwich.

12:45pm PAUL: Reviewing the beverage menu with Erin, our in house marketing coordinator at Little Market Brasserie. New wines arrived yesterday and are being added the menu.

12:50pm PAUL: Tasting a potential chardonnay that a wine rep dropped off. A good wine, but too pricey for what we are looking for at the moment.

1:00pm TAD: Finished a meeting and construction walkthrough for a potential new hotel client. They want the world on a shoestring.

2:20pm PAUL: Wine tasting with winemaker Rollin Soles of Roco in the Willamette Valley. Tasted three of his Pinot Noirs. Will add one of his wines to the list at Little Market.

3:30pm PAUL: Meeting with Natalie Kalb, Marketing Director for Mercadito Hospitality. Brainstorming for a tagline we can use at Tippling Hall.

4:30pm PAUL: Pre-shift meeting with the staff at Little Market Brasserie. Tasting and discussing our new Sauvignon Blanc by the glass

5:20pm PAUL: Ordering ingredients to work on new soda recipes for Little Market Brasserie. Hibiscus flowers, lemon verbena, dried orange peel.


7:00pm PAUL: Helping expedite drinks at the Little Market Brasserie bar. Cold night in Chicago.

Wednesday, April 17

10:00am PAUL: Quick call with Tad. Catching up on all the events of the day.

10:30am PAUL: Scourging the web looking for different frozen drink machine options.

11:45am PAUL: Call with Stefanie Niebler of Seed Design Studios regarding the bar top design of the upcoming Tippling Hall.

1:30pm PAUL: Conference call with

2:30pm TAD: Skype call and screen share with partner in new website venture. Helping to create the first online community dedicated to bar professionals. Tippling Bros. enter the tech world...dangerous.

3:00pm PAUL: Tavernita food tasting.

4:15pm PAUL: Marketing meeting with Executive Chef/Partner Ryan Poli, Natalie and Jennifer at Tavernita.


4:30pm PAUL: Line up with staff at Tavernita.

5:20pm TAD: Going through the numbers of cocktails sold at the different Chicago restaurants via online reporting software. Holy $#%^!! do we sell a lot of drinks in Chicago.

6:00pm PAUL: Adding new wines to the cocktail menu.

8:00pm PAUL: Dinner with Chef Ryan at Little Market.

Thursday, April 18

12:00-3:00pm PAUL: Profit & loss meeting with the Mercadito Hospitality corporate management. Pouring over numbers.

3:30pm TAD: Working remotely on new spring soda recipes for Little Market Brasserie. Paul and I are in hot debate over steeping cucumber slices versus pureeing. Fiddlehead fern soda is a definite no-go.

4:00pm PAUL: Working on new cucumber syrup with Milan, head bartender at Little Market.


6:00pm PAUL: Meeting with James Feely of Wirtz Beverage Illinois to discuss expanding our spirits offering at Mercadito Chicago.

8:00pm PAUL: Book week-long London research trip.

Friday, April 19

9:00am TAD: Just heard that one of the hosts for the San Francisco seminar has backed out. He runs three bars in the heart of Boston and is overwhelmed.

11:15am TAD: Fresh off a conference call for above-mentioned seminar. Tavernita's keg cocktails are going to be a hot and somewhat controversial topic. Let me at 'em!!

3:00pm PAUL: Staff training at Little Market Brasserie.

4:00pm PAUL: Tavernita meeting with Scott Huth, head bartender and manager of our kegged cocktail system.

5:30pm PAUL: Tasting of Pahlmeyer Wines at Tavernita.

Saturday, April 20

10:30am PAUL: Brunch at Little Market Brasserie.

3pm PAUL: Corporate Offices. Pouring over numbers.

5:00pm TAD: Thought I was in the clear, but it seems the noro or roto or Bono thing has a fairly extended incubation period. Down for the count since yesterday's last entry.

11pm PAUL: Drinks at Double A, the lounge below Mercadito Chicago.

Sunday, April 21

8:00am TAD: Taking off for the West Coast. San Francisco bound.

8:30am PAUL: Check-in to flight to New York.

12:30pm PAUL: Lunch at Luzzo's Pizza on 1st with my daughter Kaley. It's our favorite New York pizza place.

1pm PST TAD: In rehearsal and going through final preparations for tomorrow's seminar. A hundred attendees are expected; the pressure is on and the client's are anxious.

1:45pm PAUL: Required pre-game milkshakes.


3pm PAUL: At Madison Square Garden with my daughter to see New York Rangers play New Jersey Devils. A great end to the week.

11:45pm TAD: San Francisco has the coolest fire hydrants of any American city. Enjoyed one of the best dinners in recent memory at Flour and Water.


See more Food Informants below:

Food Informants