Ken Miller and Greg O'Neill, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine

Three stores in five years despite a tanking economy testifies not only to Chicago's growing hunger for fine food but also the acumen of Pastoral's co-owners, Greg O'Neill and Ken Miller. The pair, partners in life as well as in business, are particularly noteworthy for elevating the cheese game in the city to new heights. Their impact extends far beyond the customers who shop at their stores. Pastoral has helped to design and supply cheese programs for 30 of the region's top restaurants. "Cheese is the center of our universe, wine and bread are the spokes on the wheel," O'Neill said. O'Neil, a marketer, and Miller, a chef turned computer pro, got into the high-end food business because they saw a need for it in their Lakeview neighborhood. Cheese comes first in their store's name because O'Neill's initial research showed how much people really care about it. That passion is still pulsing. "It's been really fun to see how engaged our customers have been," he said. 2945 N. Broadway, 773-472-4781; 53 E. Lake St., 312-658-1250; Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton St., 312-454-2200;
Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune
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