Chris Pandel Owner and Executive Chef
Chris Pandel’s food is rooted in classic French technique highlighting seasonal, local ingredients. An Illinois native, Pandel began his culinary career working at a restaurant in his hometown of Riverside. From there he moved on to Courtright’s in Willow Springs, a favorite fine-dining spot for Chicagoans. Next, Pandel attended Johnson & Wales University, during which time he interned at Chicago’s Tru for Chef Rick Tramonto. Pandel then headed to New York where he worked at Café Boulud under Chef Andrew Carmellini. He eventually returned to Chicago, and to Tru, which eventually led to a position as corporate chef for three Tramonto restaurants. Of his mentors, Pandel says Carmellini molded him into a cook, and Tramonto, gave him a “sense of self” in the kitchen and the know-how needed to run a business. In 2008, Pandel opened The Bristol with partners John Ross and Phillip Walters. His menu focuses on locally-sourced, seasonal dishes with a Mediterranean influence.
David Johnston General Manager
Dave Johnston owned and operated his first wine bar, La Cave du Vin in his home of Cleveland Ohio, at the early age of twenty-two. It was here where he honed his knowledge and developed his passion for food, wine and craft beer. Soon thereafter Johnston was chosen by acclaimed Chef Jean Joho to manage the dining room and wine and beverage programs at the James Beard Award winning Brasserie JO. Here, he learned the intricacies of wine service and share his knowledge of the wine regions of France with guests. In January 2007, Chef Joho hired Johnston to fill the Wine Director/Sommelier position, left by acclaimed Master Sommelier Alpana Singh, at the legendary Everest. Here he managed a 16,000 bottle wine cellar. Under Chef Joho’s tutelage, Johnston learned how to build and manage an award-winning wine list and hone his leadership and management skills in one of the country’s finest dining rooms. In 2008, he was promoted to general manager in addition to his responsibilities as wine director/sommelier. Throughout his career, Johnston’s goal has remained constant – providing his guests with their ideal wine – regardless of the label. Some of his favorite wines are obscure, inexpensive treasures known to few. With this sense of discovery and fun, and his knowledge and appreciation of wine, Johnston continually engages guests at The Bristol. When he’s not working, Dave enjoys collecting vinyl records, playing old guitars and skateboarding. He lives in the Logan Square neighborhood with his wife, Leah, and their two cats.
Phillip Walters Owner and Partner
Phillip Walters developed a yearning for restaurant life at an early age. Inspired by his mother’s cooking, his father’s backyard barbecues, and chefs on public television, Walters, a native of Iowa Falls, entered the world of hospitality at the age of thirteen, serving as a line cook at a local restaurant. Ten years later, he graduated with a Master’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Iowa State University. After serving as executive Sous Chef of Brix in Des Moines, he traveled throughout the U.S. gaining valuable front- and back-of-the-house experience at a variety of restaurants. It was during this time that Walters first began exploring wine. Walters eventually settled in Chicago where he served for four years as Assistant General Manager and Beverage Director for N9NE. Here he grew his knowledge of wine with the help of Chef Michael Kornick who educated Walters about wine and food pairings and provided access to thousands of wines, which helped hone his palate. After N9NE, Walters served as General Manager for Food and Wine Best New Chef (1991) Gabriel Viti at Miramar Bistro. Walters’ longtime friend and restaurateur, John Ross, introduced him to executive chef Chris Pandel and the concept for the Bristol was born. Walters built the comprehensive wine, beer and cocktail program at The Bristol and recently, along with General Manager Dave Johnston revised the wine list, adding more depth and value. In 2012, Walters, Ross and Pandel created the concept for Balena, partnering with Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of the Boka Restaurant Group. This is the first joint venture between BRG and The Bristol Restaurant Partners. Walters spends his free time traveling, eating, researching wine, and spending as much time as he can with his wife, Shelby, and their Yorkie, Madeline.
John Ross Owner and Partner
Bio coming soon.