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Robert Bansberg Will Join PM Prime Team as General Manager/Sommelier
Bob grew up in a small-town in Illinois, where he picked grapes for his father’s homemade wine and shared simple food with family, prepared with care by his mother. Meals were taken as seriously as conversation at the lively Bansberg dinner table.
Bob came to Chicago to pursue a pre-med degree at Northwestern University. On a whim, he took a job at The Pump Room to pay for Grad-school tuition where he studied in the Neurophysiology Graduate Program at the University of Illinois Medical Center. Little did he know that he was stumbling upon his true calling. He preferred sharing the joy of fine dining with people from all over the world to staring into a microscope. He learned about and came to deeply respect the vast diversity of fine wines, the time-honored rituals that were built upon their enjoyment, and the intricate ways in which they complemented the food. But often he thought back to those family dinners. Slowly but surely he built a stellar career and reputation upon his ability to replicate those experiences for the diners who shared his enthusiasm.
As Bob’s expertise grew, he recognized that his growing success in the industry came from his ability to listen to diners. He learned that making guests feel good about themselves and their choices had a reciprocal effect. Whether validating a menu selection, elevating it by suggesting an ideal wine pairing, or putting the dining experience in a historical and entertaining context, he approached each table with a passion and a commitment to enrich the dining experience for all involved. Bob has spent most of his life analyzing just what makes a restaurant wine list great – from diversity of selections to a wide range of prices and a good dose of imagination. He succeeds every time.
According to Bansberg, “Humility and unobtrusive service is paramount. Lead servers must have an extensive knowledge of both our industry and our menu to be tapped only when the guests express an interest or have a question. World class servers can be taught to read their customers nonverbally and anticipate their needs in a warm hospitable manner to enrich the dining experience.”
He began his career at the Pump Room, in Chicago in 1976 as captain, wine buyer, and maitre’d. Since 1992, he has taught a wine and beverage management class at Kendall College’s School of the Culinary Arts. He also hosted The Wine Series, a wine appreciation and food pairing course for the community.
In 2009, Bansberg won the Jean Banchet Award for Culinary Excellence as the Best Sommelier in Chicago. In 1999, Bansberg was nominated for the highly coveted James Beard Award. Only the top five sommeliers in the country are considered. In July of 2000, Bansberg was honored by Food & Wine magazine as “The Best Sommelier in Chicago.” He also took top honor in Chicago Magazine. He will join a PM Prime team that includes Chef Dominic Zumpano and owner Steve Platcow. Bansberg says, “I share Steve’s passion for getting things right along with his devotion to all aspects of the dining experience.”
Chef Dominic Zumpano’s culinary career has spanned from Maine’s Rose Garden Restaurant, one of only 47 five-diamond restaurants in the U.S., to Lake Forest’s popular Market House on the Square. Zumpano was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest. He was nominated for Chicago’s Jean Banchet award as a rising chef and also featured in Best Chefs of America as one of Chicago’s top chefs for its 2013 book.
Lake Forest resident Steve Platcow, CEO of Rodi Platcow Malin Advertising, Inc. (DBA) RPM Advertising, Inc. has spent the last decade championing the fine dining experiences found at Horseshoe Casinos and Caesar’s Entertainment. In addition to overseeing some of RPM Advertising Inc.’s biggest campaigns, Steve’s vision was a guiding force in the award-winning and Roger Ebert critically acclaimed documentary, Not Yet Begun to Fight. Currently, Steve serves as a board member on the Chicago Public Library Foundation as well as the Illinois Chapter of the March of Dimes. He received a B.S. in Organizational Communications at Arizona State and has earned his Commercial Pilot’s License.
PM Prime will accommodate 85 diners, plus 20 in the outdoor cafe. The décor will be classically elegant with a modern flair. There will be two private rooms that can accommodate groups of 2-35. One room overlooks a very impressive wine cellar. The restaurant will open at 310 Green Bay Road, Highwood, IL.