Transforming a restaurant from one distinctive brand to a very differently themed establishment is hard enough. Try renovating the space while keeping the old business open. That was the top challenge for owner Sam Sanchez in a project that turned an Irish pub, John Barleycorn, into a hip honky-tonk barbecue joint, Old Crow Smokehouse, in Chicago’s River North area. Sanchez had the confidence to tackle this formidable task based on his expertise earned from decades in the construction business, with a long list of restaurant projects to his credit.

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