On the restaurant scene: how maybe not to open one

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"Have you seen this? Is it mean to say good fucking luck?" a friend of mine e-mailed me apropos this recent Kickstarter campaign. "This whole idea of funding someone's business and getting a token in return just seems ridiculous to me."

Begging to differ is Jake Bickelhaupt, a young self-trained chef with "years of experience" (per his bio, a year and a half) at restaurants including Trotter's and Schwa. As part of his efforts to amass $125,000 in support of a brick-and-mortar place he plans to call Dyne (for "dynamic"), he's offering items such as a donor name plate together with an apron autographed by himself ($175+); a kitchen tour, an engraved chef's knife, signed menu, and dinner for two ($2,000+); and a 12-course dinner for ten to be hosted in the pledger's own home ($7,500+). Not since Crib's Albert D'Angelo has there been a Chicago enfant so terrible!

Bickelhaupt's raised $7,675 toward his goal so far, with 13 days to go, but the thing about Kickstarter, of course, is that no one has to shell out unless the target's met or exceeded. It's nothing ventured, nothing lost.

And his Kickstarter campaign has drawn some attention. "I believe that a space will find me when the time is right," he told Joseph Erbentraut of Huffington Post, adding, "To the naysayers I simply say, 'Why not?'"

In the meantime, Bickelhaupt and his wife have been running an underground "guestaurant," Sous Rising, since early this year. A few Yelpers have given it the thumbs up.

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