Matthias Merges is the chef and proprietor of Folkart Restaurant Management, a craft-driven hospitality group focused on operational excellence, state of the art design and a deep-seated commitment to locally sourced ingredients. Founded in 2010, the conceptually diverse organization includes Hyde Park neighborhood eatery A10, award-winning cocktail bar Billy Sunday, Wrigley Park beer pub Lucky Dorr, craft brew house Old Irving Brewing, West Loop bar and small plates destination Gideon Sweet, and cocktail bar and restaurant Mordecai in Wrigleyville.
Merges began working in restaurants at the age of 14 and formalized his training at the Culinary Institute of America. He went on to refine his skills and direction at iconic Chicago restaurants including Carlos’, the 95th, LaTour at the Park Hyatt, Charlie Trotter’s and Gabriel’s. Inspired by the leadership and enriching experiences of these kitchens, Merges opened Metropolitan in Salt Lake City as chef and co-owner. Metropolitan received several accolades, including “Best Restaurant Inter-Mountain West” and a nomination at the James Beard Awards. Merges was lured back to Charlie Trotter’s from Metropolitan and spent the next 14 years directing all culinary, service and strategic operations.
A longtime contributor to Chicago’s culinary and hospitality community, Merges is deeply passionate about giving back and leveraging the industry’s resources for philanthropy. He is the co-founder of Pilot Light, a locally-based charity that connects chefs and teachers, using food to support effective classroom teaching and learning.
Merges is the proud husband of fcSTUDIO designer Rachel Crowl and father to Kaitie, Gretl and Tatum. In his free time, he’s an amateur photographer and climber. For reasons unclear to everyone else, he studies sailing routes and oceanic currents but doesn’t own a boat.