Episode 8 - The Details
Frank Lehnen is an old friend that has been a big supporter of craft beer, great music and neighborhood taverns. I caught up with him during Grand Rapids Beer Week, and Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival. I’ve been a longtime fan and appreciate how he keeps a certain fabric of history in all of his projects, while connecting his neighborhoods and making people happy with fresh ideas and always plenty of good beer and awesome music.
The Drinks: Mad Hatter IPA, Throwback: Beer Barrel Bourbon, lemon and ginger beer, various Dragon’s Milk Variants from MBG Winter Beer Festival, Carhartt Woodsman - oak aged pale ale.
The Music: Wealthy Street (Instrumental), courtesy of and © Drew Nelson
Frank Lehnen, the son of public school teachers, grew up with his four sibling on Grand Rapids’ westside where his Grandmother from Poland immigrated to in 1915. Frank’s creativity was encouraged at a young age, often channeled through his love of music. His entrepreneurial spirit began in the high school years, complemented by studying energy conservation at Jordan College. His studies also included radio and DJing at WYCE in the early eighties. His career began in the corporate world at Michcon, before he took a leap and opened Radio Tavern on Bridge Street in 1998. Fire destroyed the Radio Tavern, yet Frank continued on to design and rehab historic buildings, opening Rocky’s Bar and Grill in 2001, Monarch’s Club in 2006 and Tip Top Deluxe in 2011. Frank is active in neighborhood development, currently serving as President of the Stockbridge Business Association and formerly serving the West Grand Neighborhood Organization. He has passion for sports, sportswriters and Jim Harrison.
Isaac Hartman is a fifteen year employee for New Holland Brewing and Key Account Manager for their Sales team. He has served as a board member of the Michigan Brewers Guild for eight years. He is married with two children Corinne (three) and Ezra (one). He and his family reside in Grand Rapids Michigan and enjoy the outdoors, music of all kinds, spending time with family, and friends. He is passionate about building a great team at New Holland, while striving to improve every day to be the best father, husband, coworker and team member he can be.
Episode 7 - The Details
Dave Jemilo, proprietor of the Green Mill Lounge, in Chicago is the real deal and one of a kind. Visiting The Mill is something special, and always throws me back nostalgically, not only through the twenty-some years I’ve been going there, but to classic times, several decades before I was born. He knows how to keep things old school, and remain as relevant as ever. Dave and The Green Mill are true Chicago classics, an I’m proud to share a glimpse into their world with you.
This episode includes a special third segment, a remarkable and personal conversation from behind the scenes.
The Drinks: Dragon’s Milk, Bourbon Barrel Stout, Mad Hatter IPA, Malort, Schlitz, Carhartt Woodsman
Dave Jemilo is a Chicagoan through and through. Born at Holy Cross Hospital in 1956, Jemilo spent most of his early years on the South Side with his mother. His father played an important role in Jemilo’s life, however, as he introduced young Dave to jazz via Benny Goodman, and regaled him as a teenager with romantic tales about a nightclub he frequented in the 1930s called the Green Mill. A Brother Rice graduate, Jemilo, who cuts an intimidating figure, attended the University of Dubuque on a football scholarship. His gridiron talents led him to play semi-pro ball as a defensive end/linebacker, eventually earning him a pro contract with the Chicago Fire in 1981.
The demise of the short-lived franchise and injuries forced Jemilo to turn to less glamorous ways of earning a living, but a strong work ethic soon had him simultaneously employed at the Chicago Park District, working as a teacher and performing evening duties at various nightclubs around town. Perhaps it was an adversity to authority that brought out Jemilo’s entrepreneurial side, but by the mid-eighties he was part owner of a nightclub, the Deja Vu, and within a few short years, he was sole owner and proprietor of the storied club, the Green Mill.
Today, under the clear vision and steady hand of Jemilo, the Mill is one of the most respected nightclubs in the country and plays host to some of the biggest names in jazz. As only the fifth principal owner in the Green Mill’s centenary existence, Jemilo exudes reverence for the legendary club and the good fortune he has had to serve as caretaker to such stuff as dreams are made on.