One Year Later…

I suppose when we set out to create Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar back in the Spring of 2010, we knew that it would be one of the great journeys of our lives, which is why we were compelled to blog about it.

I was still spending my days in a suit and tie, and Chao was working 16-hour days at a West Loop restaurant – but one of the first things that we did was set up @mikeandchaochow… I think that we knew we were going to have some stories to tell. It took us one year to go from sitting on my Madison Street couch – dreaming up the barbeque bar and other details of our sushi restaurant – to opening our doors in May of 2011. And now it’s one year after that.

Owning a restaurant has exceeded every one of my expectations. Our guests are so much fun—they order crazy things, allow us to experiment and re-invent ourselves, and they keep coming back for more! It doesn’t hurt that Chao is a master at upping the ante. (Really, I am luckiest one of all. I eat his food almost every day.)

I feel like a band that has just wrapped up the world tour. The band knows it’s going out on the road again, soon. But for now, it’s time to reflect… and release a Greatest Hits
album. And so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.


This month, we’re celebrating the Greatest Hits of 2011-2012. Every night from May 14-19, we’re featuring one of our favorite items of the year, along with a special drink pairing.


$5 Truffled Tuna
$5 Glasses of Sauvignon Blanc

$1 Oysters all day
50% off bottles of Sparkling Sake

$3 Alligator Skewers
$5 Hand-Crafted Yamato Sling Cocktails

$8 Old City Market Sushi Rolls (Full 8 piece)
$5 Glasses of Snowflake Sake

$3 Duck Wings
$5 Hand-Crafted Skinny Geisha Cocktails

$1 Fried Oysters all night
$5 Hand-Crafted Night Scene Cocktails
BONUS TRACK: $4 Pumpkin Mochi Cheesecake


And THEN, we’re throwing a party…

We’re celebrating in a really big way with out partners at Zagat on Sunday, May 20, 2012 with a 5-course menu and an open bar for $75 per guest. Every course will feature one of our greatest hits paired with a “2012 remix” by Chef Chao. Make your reservations here.


And lastly, thank you for everything. Thanks for following us online, for reading our blog, and for coming back to our little restaurant, again and again, with your insatiable appetites.


The Kids Are Alright: Kiddie Bentos Launch at Union


(Urban) kids today. They have closets that boast concert tees from The Ramones and The Police. They love the nightlife at Baby Loves Disco. They know their way around an iPhone, practically from birth. And they expect more from their dining experience than they used to. After all, their palates have evolved… they are looking for a happier meal.

Enter the Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar Kiddie Bento Boxes:


For $10 each, these mini, two-tiered boxes boast a bowl of Vegetable Soba Yaki Noodles, a small serving of Barbequed Eel garnished with carrot and cucumber in a sweet soy sauce, a Sweet Potato “Tater Tot” and a choice of Chicken Teriyaki, Wagyu Beef Teriyaki or a Breaded Pork Cutlet with Tokatsu Sauce. Scroll down to learn how your little one can enjoy a FREE bento box at Union!

Union Sushi Duck Wing Eating Contest Recap

They came, they ate piles of our “Duck Wings” and a winner was crowned!


Kenny Kobe-Achi, Todd Stewart, Sharon Shi and Rob Mowry stepped up, wolfed down Chao’s legendary “Duck Wings,” drank water, got messy, ate more duck wings, drank more water and, at the end, the largest pile of picked-bare bones clinched victory for Todd Stewart!

If you missed it (how could you?), check it out in this quick, action-packed video!


Introducing Our Spring Cocktails at Union

Whole-2At Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar, we pour a LOT of creativity into our cocktail programming, and this spring is no different.

Those of you who joined us at our Duck Wing Eating Contest got a sneak preview, and now they’re available for all to enjoy! So, without further ado, we’d proud to introduce our Spring Cocktail Menu at Union!

Akuma’s Wind

Redemption Rye Whiskey, Galliano Ristretto,
Caraway Tincture, Honey, Lemon

Hana Awaka

Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Combier, Hibiscus,
Lemon, Deep Pine Forest Sparkling Sake

Second Language

Citadelle Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, St. Germain,
Orange Bitters, Sugar Cube

Surprise + Delight

Effen Cucumber, Pimm’s No. 1, Lemon, Simple Syrup,
Muddled Lemongrass, Muddled Strawberry, Seltzer

Yamato Sling

Plymouth Gin, Rock Sake, Green Tea Syrup, Lemon,
Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters, Seltzer

South of the Border, East of the Sun

Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila, Aperol, Blood Orange,
Agave, Lime, Hopped Grapefruit Bitters


Plantation 5yr Rum, Briottet Creme de Peche, Peach, Okinawan
Black Sugar, Lime, Fennel, Egg White, Bolivar Bitters

Kuro Smash

Evan Williams Single Barrel, Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac,
Lemon, Simple Syrup, Blackberries, Tarragon Tincture

Eastern Medicine

Yamazaki 12 yr Japanese Whisky, Kakushigura Shochu, Evan Williams
Single Barrel, Ginger, Lemon, Sage Tincture

Skinny Geisha

Hum, House Infused Citrus Vodka, Fresca, Yuzu

Morning Glory #2

Old Weller Antique, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Demerara,
Combier Orange Liqueur, Angostura Bitters, Absinthe

March Madness: The Duck Wing Eating Contest

March Madness, certainly at your age, is a spectator’s sport. You graduated years ago. And, while you still passionately cheer for your alma mater, you’re rooting from hundreds of miles away, from some sports bar, filled with people who you did not go to school with. It’s even a little sad, really.

Don’t you miss having a little skin in the game?

Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar is giving you a chance to re-live the passion and the glory of March Madness all over again. This time it’s all riding on you. Introducing: The Duck Wing Eating Contest.










Since opening our doors in the Spring of 2011, our Duck Wings have become a cult favorite—juicy, yet gooey, fall-off-the-bone-fried, and smothered in spicy sauce… It’s an addiction. Now, we want to know: how many can you eat!? C’mon. Push yourself!

Win a Dinner with Israel Idonije AND Support Your Favorite Local Charity


So, listed under the heading People We Really,
Really Admire
at Union Sushi + Barbeque
Bar is Israel Idonije. Sure, he’s been
running defense all season for the
Chicago Bears and he’s big time…
But in his spare time, he isn’t holding
court in VIP sections around the city
or dating a Kardashian; instead, he’s
trying to change the world with
The Israel Idonije Foundation. Israel
and his foundation are all about bringing
opportunity and hope to the community.

“The Israel Idonije Foundation exists to extend positive, life-changing opportunities to families and individuals in economically disadvantaged communities. We promote the pursuit of education and knowledge , while providing programs for our youth and community members, in hopes that they may actualize and maximize their full potential.”

…pretty amazing, no!?!

New Year, New You

New Year’s Resolutions. A time to quit… or start… A time to lose… or gain… It’s a lot of pressure. And, even if you don’t buy into the whole resolution nonsense, there is undeniably something in the air this time of year. It’s a hope that your life could just be easier, more satisfying, more organized… as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

We’re picking up what you’re putting down. And we have some ideas for you.

First, we know that you over-indulged in December. Actually, we encouraged it. But, it’s time to pull back on the reins a little. Eat a little less, exercise a little more.

Win Four Free Tickets to New Year’s in Tokyo at Union

Everyone’s starting to talk New Year’s Resolutions. What kind of better person are you planning on being in the new year? What are you going to quit… or start? We’re tired just thinking about it.

Sure, we’re all for self improvement… In fact, starting in January, we’re launching a low-carb/low-cal Black Rice program (read more about the benefits of black rice here) and introducing a number of skinny cocktails that have fewer than 100 calories each. It’s going to be a New Year/New You at Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar! But, that’s an entire three weeks away, and that means that we have nearly 21 days to go out with a bang.

So, we ask you: What are you doing to live it up before
the clock strikes 2012? Are you indulging in a
nightly cheese ball buffet? Are you
conditioning your hair with champagne
to achieve an authentic head full of
holiday highlights? Perhaps you’re test
driving Lamborghinis all month long?We want you to tell us about it—impress
us with your flair for hedonism and we’ll
reward you with 4 tickets to our New Year’s
Eve in Tokyo
bash on December 31, 2011!