The Heritage’s Jeff Wilson talks Food, Inspiration, and The Hammer Dance

The Heritage in Forest Park

The Heritage in Forest Park

Jeff Willson The Heritage GM

Jeff Wilson, general manager at suburban standout The Heritage, is an expert at crafting both the atmosphere and menu needed to tilt the pens of Michelin Guide inspectors. He spent three years at Longman and Eagle before taking his talents from Logan Square to Forest Park, a suburb known more for its beer gardens than burrata.  He now spends his days working with local farmers and a team of skilled chefs and restaurateurs to uplift suburban living, one roasted oyster at a time.

Here, we disrupt Wilson’s day for a random game of fill-in-the-blanks where he talks food, inspiration, and dancing The Hammer.

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Hello, my name is Jeff Wilson. But my friends call me Wilson, Ffej (weird, I know). If I were a superhero, my power would be teleportation. It would be awesome to get anywhere at the snap of a finger. The first person to come up with the idea for The Heritage was Mischa DeHart. (Editor’s note: Mischa is the owner of The Heritage. She resides in Oak Park with her husband, Jacob.) I love seeing guests have a good time, but for me, the most important function served by The Heritage is the excellent product created and executed by our talented chefs, the hospitality that our staff provides guests, and the atmosphere created in the dining room. These aspects are what we strive to achieve on a consistent basis. My favorite dance is the MC Hammer Dance! No explanation needed. My favorite song right now is Submission (feat. Danny Brown & Kelela) by Gorillaz. One item everyone should order at least once from The Heritage is The Roasted Chicken! I never order chicken when I go out unless it is what the place specializes in, but I will recommend the chicken here every time anyone asks. Simple and delicious. My favorite Chicago restaurant(s), besides The Heritage, of course, is Cafe Marie Jeanne & Lula Cafe. I can’t pick just one. Both are incredible representations of neighborhood spots that serve excellent food and drink along with a detailed focus on service & hospitality. My favorite place in all of Chicago is the Garfield Park Conservatory. One of my first dates with my wife was there, and during another visit, I proposed to her amongst a group of our closest friends. It holds a special place for both of us. If there’s one piece of advice I can give Chicagoings’ readers, it is don’t be afraid to try something new, regardless of what you hear from others…Let your palate and your standards, not someone else’s, be your guide.

Check this Friday afternoon for a review of brunch at The Heritage.

Visit The Heritage at 7403 W. Madison, Forest Park, IL.

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Photo of Wilson was taken by Neil John Burger. (Instagram: @neiljohnburger Facebook: @neiljohnburgerphotography)

Remaining photos are by Kari Herrera for