Krista Talley has wanted to put her last name on a restaurant’s sign for a long time.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., native’s father died 10 years ago, and her mom and three sisters have changed their names with marriage, leaving Krista the last remaining Talley.
“I’ve been on this mission for some place to have for this family,” she said.
Mission accomplished, it appears.
, Talley has taken over ownership of in Clarendon Hills, where she has been the general manager since last fall, and in June will rename the restaurant Talley’s Kitchen + Bar.
Along with the new name will come a new menu and a new look at 31 S. Prospect Ave. The restaurant will close on June 3, when a brief transition will begin before the place reopens on June 7.
Roger Herring, who opened the restaurant in 2010, wants to focus more on his Chicago restaurant Socca, Talley said, but the two chefs remain friends.
“[He] knew I always wanted open my own restaurant and it was a great time to do it,” Talley said. “It was a really great opportunity for everybody.”
Talley, 35, was exposed to the restaurant business when she worked as a server and bartender during her college years. She graduated and became an elementary school teacher, but after her father, Frank—a civil engineer and high school football and softball coach—died at age 52, Talley was inspired to enroll at the Arizona Culinary Institute.
“It was very sudden and very unexpected,” Talley said of her father’s death.
Frank, who was known simply as "Talley," had been diagnosed with cancer but died of an aneurysm. Krista said that since her dad died, her "purpose in life" has been to open a restaurant in his honor.
Since finishing culinary school, Talley has worked in different capacities with Houston's and Bar Louie, and helped found The White Chocolate Grill in Scottsdale.
She came to Redd Herring in September 2011 and has since played a major role in its day-to-day operation.
“I’ve kind of ran that place like I owned it the last six or seven months,” Talley said.
The chef lives with her husband and two daughters in Downers Grove and aims to turn a prime downtown location into a Clarendon Hills favorite.
Talley says the restaurant’s family-friendly new edition will feature fresh and healthy dishes, a lot of small-plate appetizers, and more of an emphasis on the bar. She aims to adjust the restaurant’s hours so that it is open for Sunday brunch and closed on Mondays.
Talley said she aims to make “craveable” food that will bring local families in multiple times per week.
Talley’s Kitchen + Bar is weeks away from fruition, and it’s hard to say anything definitive about a still-to-come restaurant. But one thing seems to be certain: the owner’s going to have some fun.
“I’ve always had this passion about the business,” Talley said. “I’m over-the-moon excited.”