Employees own Chicago’s beloved kosher spot

 

A group of longtime employees is taking ownership of Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed, the popular kosher restaurant in Chicago that has been donating its profits to support local charities for seven years.

The restaurant is north of Downtown, close to Wrigley Field.

Within months of opening in 2013, Milt’s menu of home-smoked meats and barbecue dishes had made it a hit among both kosher and non-kosher diners. Chicago Magazine named it one of the best new restaurants in the city, and it has been a beloved institution.

A consortium of employees bought the restaurant for $1 in January.

“As I thought about the restaurant’s philanthropic purpose, I could not help but also think about how fortunate we have been to have a group of core employees over the past seven years [who] made this dream a reality,” said Milt’s owner and founder Jeff Aeder, who named the restaurant after an eccentric uncle (and a seminal Jewish text by the ancient scholar Maimonides).

Aeder, a property developer, has donated Milt’s profits to over 80 area charities, supporting a mix of Jewish and Chicago causes.

While the new owners plan some changes to the restaurant, they plan to keep the charitable giving as a key part of the business model.

— Yvette Alt Miller/JTA