Joel Nickson Chef/Owner
The family roots all lead to North Carolina and even after the family moved to New Jersey, many summers were spent there and the food from my Mother and Grandmother stayed with me.
At the age of 15, I started working at a soul food restaurant in Teaneck, New Jersey. I went on to apprentice at some very good French restaurants across the river in New York City. Quo Vadis, La Tulipe and the 21 Club to name a few.
My first Head Chef position was back in North Carolina at the Blockade Runner Resort at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina in 1986. After many years of working in large kitchens, my two brothers talked me into joining them in Chicago and opening our own restaurant. On a shoestring budget, with family help, we opened the Wishbone Restaurant for breakfast and lunch in 1990 at 1800 W. Grand Ave. A 50-seat restaurant that became so popular that we started serving dinner 6 months after we opened. Our mission was simple:
Real, fresh food at affordable prices, with simple presentation keeping our Southern flair!
Mom did all the paintings. My brothers and sister-in law all helped from construction to waiting tables. It worked for us and we now have 3 restaurants and 150 employees that I consider extended family. It has been a pleasure to see kids that we used to get high chairs for now coming in with dates. It is nice to see my own two sons Tyler and Clay working part time at the restaurant, if only for the money and not for the love of washing dishes.
Guy Nickson Oracle/Owner
A writer in remission, Guy came to the restaurant world by way of theater, film and a medley of not-for-profit arts organizations. Undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Sorbonne, MFA from NYU's Film School, he co-founded the Popular Theater in San Francisco and has worked in other companies from Paris to Albuquerque―including Chicago's Victory Gardens and the former Randolph Street Gallery. Other jobs have ranged from stringing beads for the Zuni and motel desk clerk on Route 66 to solar heating development and teaching at Columbia College. Freelance writing, translation and a few arrests for demonstrations round out his itinerant resume. (He has never worked as a waiter.)
Guy now writes a blog for Wishbone (and others under assumed names). Stories from patrons and staff are the manna that supplement his grits and greens.
His other home is in Albany Park with his wife, Claudia, and two sons, Brent and Daniel.