Joe Flamm’s Rose Mary will celebrate surviving the pandemic with a special birthday dinner

For Joe Flamm, there have been many times since April 2021 where he doubted his Fulton Market restaurant, Rose Mary, would survive the pandemic. Worries are nothing new for restaurants trying to survive the tumultuous first year; few break even under normal conditions. But COVID has added extra layers with concerns about its health and staff, while deciphering the government’s pandemic rules.

Rose Mary had an edge – a posh Fulton Market location and Flamm, the former Spiaggia chef who learned under legendary chef Tony Mantuano. Flamm also won national recognition after his 2018 Excellent chef triumph.

But COVID, in many ways, has leveled the playing field, as all restaurants — from independents to large corporate chains — have faced similar conditions. Not to create a false equivalence, President Donald Trump’s administration didn’t exactly include independent restaurants in the White House Restaurant Economics Council.

While navigating this difficult terrain, Flamm and his wife, Hilary Delich, also welcomed their second child into the world. As pandemic rules ease, 2022 is shaping up to be bright: “We want to celebrate, it hasn’t been a typical year for an opening, that’s for sure,” says Flamm.

To mark these occasions, Flamm and seven chefs — close friends who have supported Rose Mary from day one, Flamm says — will collaborate on a special anniversary dinner on Wednesday, April 20. It’s a two and a half hour affair. with special dishes. Locally, diners should know pastry chef Leigh Omlinsky from her work with Boka Restaurant Group. There are also two close friends of Flamm, Detroit chiefs Joe Giacomino and John Vermiglio. The rest of the list consists of Excellent chef alumni: Los Angeles chef Joe Sasto (Lazy Bear); Colorado Chief Carrie Baird; New York chef and Hyde Park native Adrienne Cheatham; and Connecticut Chief Tyler Anderson.

The absence of an elder will be felt by Flamm and his friends. Fatima Ali died in January 2019. Rose Mary will donate 20% of ticket sales to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a charity that focuses on helping families with young cancer patients. The cancer that afflicted Ali as an adult is mostly found in pediatric patients; his diagnosis was an anomaly. Flamm says the charity has experience helping those who suffer from this specific cancer. Flamm’s mentor, Mantuano, was also involved with the charity. Flamm attended group events and was hooked on their mission, which helps families with unexpected costs accrued during treatment.

Excellent chef formed a lasting relationship with Flamm, a Beverly native. He remembers sitting in a garden with Anderson, hanging out and talking. The conversation shifted to Flamm sharing the ideas in his head for his dream restaurant, one of the first times he’s done it in public. It was the basis of what would become Rose Mary. Alumni will talk to him about financial details and give honest feedback. These chefs have made themselves available even while dealing with the same COVID pressures in their restaurants that Rose Mary faces: “They’ll talk to you when things are good, when things are bad, when shit hits the fan,” Flamm says.

The property planned to open Rose Mary in early 2021, but the date was moved due to pandemic uncertainty. The restaurant finally opened in April 2021, but it’s hardly been smooth sailing. Flamm contracted COVID in December, needing to isolate himself from colleagues and family when Omicron emerged.

“This year has been very difficult,” says Flamm. “Luckily I have a really good core of people. I have an amazing staff when we hit bumps in the road… But I really believe in what we’re doing.

Rose Mary, One Year Anniversary Dinner, Wednesday, April 20, 932 W. Fulton Market, tickets available through Tock.

About Jonathan Bell

Check Also

Logan Square’s Mini Mott is replaced by the second generation, a tribute to the owners’ Asian-American heritage

LOGAN SQUARE — Asian-inspired burger joint Mini Mott, the little sister to popular Wicker Park …