Kevin Hickey: Owner of The Duck Inn talks turkey

By Jane Bokun

Michelin Star Chef Kevin Hickey had to travel the globe to find the success he wanted right back where he started.

“I had to come back to Chicago to get my Michelin Star with the Four Seasons,” Hickey says.

Indeed, the now seasoned chef started out at the Four Seasons restaurant when he was just 25 years and stayed with the company for literally the next 19 years. He only left the company to come back to Chicago and buy his great grandmother’s restaurant: The Duck Inn in Bridgeport.

“The Four Seasons raised me,” Hickey says.

But, after getting out of college at Stout in Wisconsin and achieving his dreams through the Four Seasons, Hickey and by then, his family, were ready for something new. Enter The Duck Inn, a tavern and restaurant in Bridgeport that opened in 2014. The Duck Inn is also the culmination of some lifelong dreams and ambitions for Hickey: owning a restaurant on the very street where he grew up in Bridgeport.

The Duck Inn has gotten excellent reviews, but patrons can find Hickey toiling nightly. His specialties are duck fat hot dogs and rotisserie duck. Sometimes people can find his wife Javalen and son Declan.

Savory Duck Fat Hot Dog

“People love the hot dogs,” Hickey says with a smile. “They’re very popular.”

And that’s going some for a chef that’s gone around the world living in places like London and Dublin only to head back to his roots in Chicago.

“I’ve always had a knack for cooking,” Hickey says. “My mother who was in politics, never cooked. She used to give my sister money to go get us something to eat. She would pocket the money and I would make something to eat.”

Our favorite thing was Stauffer French Bread Pizza and I could recreate the flavor profiles till they tasted exactly like Stauffer, Hickey says.

Now that he has the Duck Inn, Hickey says he does not take it for granted. He even still has a hamburger sandwich – something that was on the first menu of his great grandmother’s restaurant – on the menu.