executive chef / owner
Carol Wallack’s lifelong love of the Hawaiian sun and surf led her to open sola – a restaurant committed to celebrating the flavors and philosophies of Hawaii’s unique culinary culture. It is that passion for Hawaii, the warmth of the beach and surf communities and the relationship with the sand and sea is what she embraces every day at sola. (…and that which fuels her as she powers through Chicago’s long winters.)
“people want to be cared for…”
With this statement, sola’s Chef/Owner Carol Wallack clearly states an innate sense of Midwestern hospitality that led this self-described “surfer girl from California” to open her first restaurant in Chicago.
Naturally, Chef Wallack found her lifelong professional calling while at the beach. “On a sunny day, I met Lisa Stalvey, the chef de cuisine of the original Spago,” she recalls. “Two weeks later, I found myself working for her.”
Chef Wallack’s love of food led to her role as sous chef at Los Angeles’ Camelions; and then private chef for the Hollywood set, including James Garner and Jack Nicholson.
Chef Wallack left L.A. for Chicago to open the acclaimed Wrigleyville restaurant Deleece, which was known for amazing food with great service. Chef Wallack ran and operated Deleece for years before opening sola in the winter of 2006.
“Everything that I love about the beach, is what I love about cooking,” explains, Wallack. “The warmth of the beach and surf communities is the same warmth and sense of community that is found in the kitchen. But on the flip side, I have also always loved autonomy of a relationship with the sand and sea – it’s a community on the beach, but as soon as you paddle out, you’re on your own to make it happen – which is pretty much an experience that has been echoed through-out my experience of opening and running sola.”
While Chicago’s Lincoln Avenue isn’t quite the beach setting of which Chef Wallack dreams, Chef Wallack’s highly original sola is an oasis featuring the fresh, bold flavors of the sea with Hawaiian influences.