WBEZ | Rich Varnes http://www.wbez.org/tags/rich-varnes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Rich Varnes: RL's leading man http://www.wbez.org/series/kitchen-close-ups/rich-varnes-rls-leading-man-102491 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Rich Varnes thumb 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="406" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/49687312" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: left; ">&ldquo;Rich has a phone call,&rdquo; an attractive young hostess calls out from her podium&nbsp;inside&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rlrestaurant.com">RL Restaurant</a>&nbsp;without looking up from the day&rsquo;s reservations. &nbsp;</p><p>It&rsquo;s 10:30 on a Wednesday morning and the elegant mahogany dining room is already a flurry of activity as the staff, handsomely dressed in crisp white shirts and boldly-colored Ralph Lauren ties, preps for the lunch clientele of well-to-do power-lunchers who will soon trickle in.</p><p>I don&rsquo;t actually see manager <a href="https://twitter.com/richvarnes">Rich Varnes</a> when he darts behind me to take the call, but I feel the breeze he leaves in his wake. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s Michael Sneed&rsquo;s office calling to shake me out,&rdquo; he laughs; <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/index.html">the <em>Sun-Times</em> columnist</a> will often hit up Varnes for the names of local celebrities who have recently dined at the restaurant.</p><p>Varnes has managed RL since Gibsons Restaurant Group took over management responsibilities in 2001, and says he runs the place &quot;like a private club that everyone&rsquo;s invited to.&quot; RL&rsquo;s loyal patrons would probably agree; it&#39;s this philosophy &mdash; and the simple but satisfying American fare&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;that keeps them coming back.</p><p>You can see for yourself, as WBEZ visits the restaurant manager who wears his Ralph Lauren suit like a smile.&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/kitchen-close-ups">Kitchen Close-ups</a> offers an intimate introduction to characters in Chicago&rsquo;s food and dining scene. The series runs weekly at wbez.org.</em></p></p> Wed, 19 Sep 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/kitchen-close-ups/rich-varnes-rls-leading-man-102491