SofiTM Award Winning Brand Paves Its Way To Becoming A Bartender’s Favorite

Ingredient With Its Plant-Forward Natural Ingredients

CHICAGO (January 2018) – Milwaukee-based Top Note Tonics is aggressively expanding its presence in Chicago to meet the growing demand from the city’s discerning consumers for its award winning cocktail mixers. Founders Mary Pellettieri and partner, Noah Swanson created Top Note out of a desire to fill a gap they saw in the market for a high-quality, versatile, flavor first sparkling beverage. Top Note currently produces three tonics: a sparkling Ginger Beer and a Bitter Lemon Tonic, along with its core product, an Indian Tonic Water. Millennial interest in mixers, spirits, and craft cocktail culture is on the rise, making space for thoughtfully produced brands like Top Note. The mixer market has already taken notice, as can be seen from the brand’s recognition as a SofiTM award winning item as the best new cocktail mixer in the United States for 2017, a much-coveted honor from the Specialty Food Association along with a medal for Ginger Beer. Further, Chicago makes sense as a focus for expanded market share, as it already contributes to 25 percent of sales for the Midwestern brand.

While Top Note plans to strategically expand its Chicago footprint, many high-profile local retailers and restaurant partners are already utilizing the brand including Avec, Independent Spirits, Longman & Eagle, Northman Cider Pub, Soho House, Red Star Liquors and The Whistler. Pellettieri’s background as a botany major and 20-year veteran of the craft beer industry are apparent in the quality and complexity of the ingredients used to make each Top Note beverage. Retailers such as Caputo’s,  Local Foods, Pete’s Fresh Market, Plum Market, Treasure Island, Standard Market and select Whole Foods locations have also recognized the appeal - adding value by encouraging experimentation among beverage drinkers of all stripes.

“A bartender’s secret is using the best ingredients to build a cocktail and many have discovered that the mixer matters. Finding a great mixer that is local, well crafted, made with real sugar and balanced is rare. So rare, it actually didn’t exist until we showed up. We’re thrilled to have accounts embrace that,” says Mary Pellettieri, Top Note Tonics owner.

Local accounts including Longman & Eagle and Soho House Chicago have embraced Top Note’s versatility with inventive cocktails that include :

  • Strength in Blunders (Very Old Barton, Ancho Reyes, Genmaicha, Maple Syrup, Grapefruit, Top Note Ginger Beer)

  • American Highball (Angels Evny Bourbon, Top Note Tonic Bitter Lemon, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Lemon Twist)

  • The Perfect Highball (Yamazaki 12 or 18-year, Top Note Tonic Bitter Lemon, Ximenez Sherry, Grapefruit Twist)

With so much potential on the horizon, Top Note and their advisory board (which includes beverage expert Greg Stroh of Izze Soda and Stroh Brewing) have significant ambitions for the Chicago market. Not only does the company anticipate doubling its sales revenue in 2018, but fueled by distribution gains in both on-trade and off-trade partnerships, they also expect to significantly grow the current estimated quarter of total sales being contributed by the Chicago market.

In the words of founder, Mary Pellitieri, Top Note is “a secret that’s about to get big.”


With Demand For Sustainable Seafood On The Rise, Wixter Products Are Now Available Worldwide

CHICAGO (January 2018) – On the heels of the recent announcement that Wixter Market (2110 W. Division St) is expanding its distribution program to include local retailers, businesses and chef/restaurant partners, comes the launch of the full inventory of Wixter product available for purchase via

After experiencing a 22 percent organic yearly growth since opening in 2015, Wixter Market owner, Matt Mixter (Hofseth-Mixter International) says the business is on track for a projected 100 percent growth in 2018. Consumers of the Wixter retail storefront in Wicker Park have come to know the space as a resource for becoming more connected to where their seafood comes from. After steadily amassing a more informed consumer base, investing further in the growing demand for transparently sourced seafood is a logical next step in line with the company’s projected potential. The National Restaurant Association confirms that consumers are looking for trustworthy sources of local and sustainable seafood as the trend has been in the “top 10” of the NRA’s annual survey, ‘What’s Hot,’ for the past 5 years.

Consistent with the exclusivity of their sustainably sourced seafood products, the addition of Wixter’s ecommerce site allows broader access to an inventory with exponential market demand. By offering a consistently high-quality, dependable product, Wixter has become known for unparalleled seafood that is always ethically sourced.

With the addition of Wixter’s pet health and BioCare supplement lines, 100 percent of the fish harvested is utilized for human consumption. In line with sustainable production practices, these product lines were created to optimize the application of traditionally unused or discarded outputs. Naturally derived yields from processing, including cartilage and bone from harvested deboned fish are repurposed as calcium supplements. Extra Virgin Salmon Oil is preserved using a patented “cold fresh release” process that liberates oil gently so that vital nutrients are preserved, making for a healthful addition on top of your pet’s food as a boost of omega rich nutrition.

With the launch of ecommerce purchasing via, Wixter Market is expanding the accessibility of its reliable, high-quality and sustainably sourced seafood.



Beverage Industry Pioneer, Greg Stroh, Lends Expertise To Top Note Tonic Brands As It Expands To Multiple Markets Throughout The Country

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CHICAGO (November 2017) – Milwaukee-based Top Note Tonics has announced the addition of influential beverage industry pioneer, Greg Stroh (Izze Soda, Stroh Brewing, Mix1 Beverage Co, Skoop LLC), to its advisory board. Top Note, makers of American craft mixers, earned a much-coveted 2017 sofiTM-award for best new product from the Specialty Food Association. Well-known beverage entrepreneur, Stroh, will help the brand fulfill its vast potential to capitalize on the consumer trend to craft cocktails and beverages.

Greg Stroh has a proven track-record of launching and developing innovative companies that have successfully reinvigorated the beverage category. Greg adds his expertise to Top Note at a time when the company is expanding its footprint behind its irreverent lineup of award-winning mixers. Consumers are demanding better mixers and, using unique botanicals and unexpected ingredients, Top Note empowers these consumers to make better cocktails.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Greg’s caliber join our board.” said Mary Pellettieri, founder and president of Top Note. “Greg is one of the most well-respected leaders in the beverage industry and we are excited to tap into his vast experience as we look to delight consumers with the most complex and layered mixers on the market.”

Raised by a fourth-generation brewer, Stroh brings the unique perspective of someone who has “grown up” in the industry and he looks forward to sharing his experiences with Top Note. “I have a lot of battle wounds from the industry. I’m hoping these scars allow me to be able to offer sound advice to a brand that I’m excited about. Top Note is addressing current trends in the craft spirits and consumer goods industries where buyers are opting for healthier, more natural options” Greg Stroh, La Pavia Beverage LLC advisory board.

Top Note is currently distributed nationally by KeHe, an Illinois based distributor focused on carrying natural, organic specialty food products, as well as other regional direct ship distributors and midwestern suppliers.




Chefs Jason Hammel and Sarah Rinkavage Offer Seasonal Brunch Items and Select Favorites from Lula Café For Marisol Brunch Service

CHICAGO (November 2017) – The MCA’s recently opened restaurant experience, Marisol (205 E Pearson St) announces its new brunch menu, which is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 2:30 pm. In similar fashion to the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menu, chef Jason Hammel and chef de cuisine Sarah Rinkavage focus on hyper-seasonal ingredients. The brunch menu includes savory and sweet items along with select longstanding favorites from Hammel’s Lula Café.

Chef Hammel’s vibrant brunch menu rotates with the availability of the seasoans and is filled with contemporary flavors inspired by the artistic surroundings of the restaurant. The just-launched brunch menu includes house-made pastries along with sweet entrèes such as Lemon Poppy Seed French Toast (crème fraiche) and Buttermilk Pancakes. Lighter plates on the menu include the Cured Salmon Platter (six-minute egg, seasonal pickles, dill cream chese, Engligh muffin) and the Marisol Salad (butter lettuce, apple, dill, macadamia nut, pecorino, natural food salad dressing). Chef Hammel took inspiration from the artist Marisol’s own favorite salad that was published in the 1974 Museum of Modern Art's classic Artists’ Cookbook to create a fresh take on the Marisol Salad.

Full-flavored savory options include the Tofu Scramble (Phoenix Bean soft tofu, seasonal vegetables and greens, crispy potatoes, sourdough toast), Egg Sandwich (refried lentils, adobo sauce, spring onion, avocado on a Engligh muffin, with crispy house potatoes) and a classic brunch favorite from Hammel’s Lula Café in Logan Square the Breakfast Burrito (avocado, onion, green chile, tomato, potato, organic eggs, cheddar).

Balancing out each of the dishes on menu, brunch service also features a selection of cocktail options such as the Lula Bloody Mary (Modest Vodka, Mix), National Prize (Modest Vodka, Baileys, Espresso, Orange Peel) and Kuni-Yo (Prosecco, Orange Juice, Tepache).  

Wixter Market Expands Chicago Market With A New Distribution Program


After Experiencing 22 Percent Organic Yearly Growth With Projections On Track For 100 Percent Growth In 2018, Wixter Invests In The Future

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CHICAGO (October 2017) – The retail offerings at Wicker Park’s sustainable seafood storefront Wixter Market (2110 West Division Street) are now more widely available outside of those who are patrons of the neighborhood outpost. Formerly a business to consumer model purveyor, Wixter has announced that they are expanding services to include wholesale distribution to local restaurants and businesses already sourcing to flagship accounts including Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market, The Hampton Social and Mahalo Chicago. This new distribution model includes the acquisition of a branded delivery vehicle along with a dedicated sales team to support it.

Since its opening in June of 2015, Wixter has become well known for providing access to the superior quality of sustainably caught seafood products. With all product frozen at the peak of freshness, Wixter has consistently proven their commitment to trust and transparency by offering product without antibiotics, additives, preservatives, nitrates, hormones, or chemicals. These measurable in-demand values are what makes their product one that they feel proud to stand behind. Not only has Wixter established their steadfast commitment to quality seafood products, but the retail outpost is also an invaluable resource for consumers, providing education to customers and retail partners through knowing the source. Due to their innovative product offerings, along with the dedication to only working with sustainably-conscious producers, fresh seafood with a low-carbon footprint is always in season at Wixter Market.

In partnership with sustainably focused partners sourcing from regions around the globe, Wixter offers an exclusive product line that customers cannot source anywhere else. Wixter’s unique approach to seafood, which was previously only available in-store, will now be available to a wider market. Their frozen sourcing strategy through partnering with producers including Hofseth, the top direct importer of salmon, cod and steelhead trout out of Norway. This means that importing can be streamlined explicitly to anyone interested in purchasing top-quality seafood that generates virtually no waste in its life cycle. The same consistency local customers have come to expect, without the inconvenience of surges in pricing or shortages on certain products, is now available to Chicago area chefs, retail partners and food producers.

Casting a wider net, literally, will not end with this distribution expansion. The full inventory of Wixter product will soon launch via an e-commerce website on, with delivery nationwide for a fresh frozen product, which allows for the access of superior seafood to be available to a larger portion of the market at a greater frequency.



Chef Jason Hammel Features Inventive Small Bites for the Street’s New Counter Service Menu from the Same Kitchen as Marisol

 CHICAGO (September 2017) – The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s new restaurant, Marisol (205 E Pearson St), unveiled its quick casual section of the restaurant, the Street, with a new counter service menu, on Tuesday, September 26. The Street’s counter service menu offers chef-driven small bites attracting both passers-by as well as destination diners. The counter service menu can be enjoyed at individual and communal tables that form the Street, a co-working space adjacent Marisol’s dining room. 

With chef Jason Hammel at the helm, the Street’s counter service menu provides breakfast and lunch options along with house-made pastries and freshly brewed Metric coffee. Breakfast is available 8 am to 11 am with items including favorites such as the Sunflower Granola (market fruit, mint, with yogurt or almond milk) and a classic Breakfast Sandwich (baked egg, refried lentils, provolone, green chile adobo). A daily selection of house-baked pastries crafted by pastry chef Alison Cates are also available with standouts including Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies and Tahini Blondies.

The seasonal lunch menu begins at 11 am and offers sandwiches, soup, and salads. Standout items available for lunch include Roast Beef Sandwich (onion jam, calabrian chile, arugula), French Ham Sandwich (daikon, green olive, cultured butter), Avocado Toast (watercress, feta, black lime, sourdough toast) and Carrot and Quinoa Salad (pistachio and coriander vinaigrette).

Coffee and tea service are available offering classic drip coffee along with speciality beverages. West Loop roaster, Metric Coffee Co. created a signature ‘Marisol Blend’ specially for the MCA that is available through the counter service menu. Local purveyor Spirit Tea rounds out the beverage menu offering a handmade loose-leaf tea selection.

The Street is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm, with extended hours until 9 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Logan Square's Daisies Retaurant to Host Desi at Daisies, an Indian-Inspired Chef Collaboration Dinner - TONIGHT!


Daisies, the recently opened vegetable and pasta-focused restaurant in Logan Square will host Desi at Daisies, a sold out Indian-inspired three-course meal event tonight, Monday, September 11 at 7pm. The dinner will be a multi-course evening, with family-style servings of creative takes on traditional Indian food from the following chefs : Rupum Bhagat of Dum in San Francisco; Pushkar Marathe and Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia; Marisa Paolillo of Mango Pickle; and Zeeshan Shah and Yoshi Yamada of Bombay Breakdown. Highlights from each course include : Kale Chaat (“Tandoori” Scallop, Tamarind, Yogurt, Pickled Onion, Mumbai Trail Mix)Diamond Lamb Shoulder Confit (Achaar Aioli, Puffed Rice, Cilantro), and Green Cardamom Semifreddo (Blueberry Preserves, Lemon Saffron Curd, Pistachio, Crispy Rice).

Expect a bustling dining room full of hungry Chicagoans curious to try new takes on a traditional cuisine. The kitchen will be buzzing with chefs both local to the Chicago dining scene as well as a handful of those from across the country - poised to share their unique interpretations of what it means to serve Indian cuisine. Further, full-pour wine pairings have been carefully selected by Keith Whitten, GM and Wine Director of Daisies Chicago.

Daisies recognizes the rising interest in Indian cuisine in the US. As it evolves, it begs the questions - what is Indian food? What is authentic? In an attempt to formulate some answers, Desi at Daisies hosts a night of conviviality showcasing contemporary food prepared by chefs from around the country who share a common interest in the food of India. A multi-course evening with family-style servings, all are welcome to have a seat at the table and celebrate the crossing of cultures.

The Hottest Restaurants in Chicago Right Now, August 2017

3. Daisies

Chef Joe Frillman honed his craft in Italy and while working at Balena. He combined those experiences with the produce from his brother's farm to create Daisies in Logan Square. The end products are delightful with unique pastas that are satisfying, but not heavy. Frillman still doesn't shy away from his Midwestern roots. Check out the rotating special board for meatier dishes like ribs and more.