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Posts by Sarah Nardi

The staff relaxes with absinthe after a long night of fueling geniusCafe Sperl, in Vienna's 6th districtCafe Ritter, in Vienna's Mariahilf neighborhoodCafe Museum, Vienna, where form has followed function since 1899Cafe Bellaria, Vienna's Old CityDillmans Coffee Bar, today, Chicago's River North neighborhoodArt begets art... Why would you ever take it to go?

“It is not given to every man to take a bath of multitude,” Baudelaire wrote. “Enjoying a crowd is an art.” And while the poet may have written this line as we are tempted to picture him, alone and shivering in some candlelit garret, Baudelaire enjoyed an active social life in Parisian cafes in the company of other artists like Edouard Manet and Nadar. Though we tend to think of art as divorced from the social realm, an artist needs […]

Ikaria:  The Island Where People Forget to DieIkaria:  This is What Subsistence Architecture Looks LikeIkaria:  This is What Subsistence Fishing Looks LikeIkaria: This is What Subsistence Restaurants Look LikeBeer: Subsistence Drinking in HollandGin:  Industrial Drinking in England

In the fall of 2012, the NYTimes magazine ran a piece by Dan Buettner with the catchy title The Island Where People Forget to Die.  It was about the Greek island of Ikaria and, yes, it looks just like all those Greek islands, with the whitewashed walls, the turquoise sea and the nostalgic haze suggesting that this slower, simpler life must be a better one.  The difference is, at least when it comes to human lifespan, life on Ikaria really […]

Ragnar Kjartansson, Ragnar Kjartansson,

I tend to seek out in art what I seek out in people – qualities that I don’t have, or don’t have enough of. In my social life, I’m drawn to ebullient optimists, people with punishing work ethics, and anyone who can still do math in their head. Through them, I can patch up the little deficiencies in my own being. In art, I have long been drawn to performance work – both because the idea of putting oneself on […]


The room is full of beautiful people, their faces bathed in candlelight. The teeth are white, the skin is clear, the hair is nearing perfect. They bob their heads to music, air kiss and make a toast. Held up against the amber light, their ice cubes gleam like jewels. Across the bar, in an open kitchen, a line cook stands in profile. His hair is matted black with sweat, held back by a red bandana. A thick tattoo begins at […]


Three Years ago, a group of chefs left the glamor of Vegas and bet it all on a farm in Central Illinois.. Part I of a two-part series.   Make the drive down I-55 from Chicago to Bloomington-Normal, and in those two hours, the city and its outlying industrial blight will give way to a sea of rolling farmland. Rain clouds pass quickly across an unobstructed sky and old rural graveyards crop up among the fields, as feral and untended […]


This is the first in a weekly series of Shift Drinks where we catch up with different groups from restaurants across the city and see what’s on their minds. Its kind of a chicken and egg question. Did we come this way or did the job make us this way? Angst is an undeniable aspect of the human condition but never have I seen a group of people grapple with philosophical uncertainty as I have working in restaurants. My first […]