David has lived all over the world. He’s worked in restaurants and bars in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Greece, and owned his own restaurant in his native Croatia. He has a passion for wine, which he inherited from his grandfather. After a life in the army, David’s grandpa bought a little piece of land and made his own wine, grappa, salumi, and prosciutto while his grandmother ran the restaurant. A fun fact about David: he has over a decade of scuba diving experience.
After serving in the United States’ Navy, Harmony came home with a love of food and fire cuisine. She went to culinary school to learn about food, and her passion only grew from there. She’s worked in fine steak houses and currently works on her food and wine pairing skills through wine stewarding with Silvia’s cooking. At Merlo, Harmony has truly found a place to grow her skills to the next level.
Jesse is a debonair steward of Bolognese cuisine by night, and the 21st century’s greatest unsung poet by day. This shining lad was raised and hardened in the antarctic winters of Chicago’s suburbs, namely Deerfield, but has since lived and worked in such disparate milieus as London and Los Angeles, managing quaint pensions, falling in love with local mademoiselles, vacuuming popcorn off private screening room carpets, mingling with moody celebrities — but all the while cultivating his literary prowess through his practical experiences and theoretical coursework (B.S. from Florida State, M.A. from DePaul, way too much coursework at UCLA in between). Oh-So-So-So-So much more to tell about this one, but better you buy all his stories when they’re FINALLY in print.
Ed. note: Speaking of stories in print, here’s Jesse’s novel, The History of Now. Way to go, Jesse!
Kenn is your friendly neighborhood server, bringing you his charisma & knowledge of all things food and wine! He’s a lifelong Chicagoan and Cubs fan, and is also a recent cat papa to Luca Wilson. He studied the dying art of radio at Columbia College in Chicago and could probably write a book on the history of Windy City radio. Kenn has been with Merlo for 3 wonderful years and also enjoys a nice glass of Muller Thurgau.
Nicole has spent close to two decades in the restaurant business, working in various positions, including captain, maitre’d, bartender, cheesemonger, sommelier and wine director, at notable restaurants in both Chicago and New York City, such as Gotham Bar and Grill, Felidia, and North Pond. She got her start working her way through college and graduate school, where she studied politics, history, and film, but discovered a passion for food and wine along the way. Nicole’s heart lies in sustainable, seasonal cuisine and natural wine, although she does admit to a crippling reality television addiction.
Sam moved from Jerusalem to Chicago over 25 years ago. While attending The University of Illinois at Chicago, he was hired as a server and so began his first foray into the restaurant business. Since then he has worked at several prominent restaurants in Chicago. Sam has held various roles in the restaurant industry over the years; he has been a bartender, server, and manager. He is a voracious reader and enjoys a good Scotch. However, his one true love is the Chicago Bears.
Nikki is the Merlo on Maple Event Director. Whether you’ll have a handful of guests or 50+, she’ll take care of everything you need for your special night. Read her complete bio here.