Get to Know the Summer House Parties & Catering Team
When planning a special occasion, it’s important to have a strong team around you. No one knows that better than Summer House Santa Monica in Lincoln Park, where thousands of guests enjoy our private parties and catering offerings each and every year. From bachelorette parties to anniversaries, boat cruises and beyond, Summer House has plenty of experience with nearly any event that’s centered on food. And that’s thanks to our dynamo team!
Before you book your party or start your catering order, meet the Summer House parties and catering team that makes everything happen. They bring their unique backgrounds and experience to every guest and customer they serve, and can be reached at 773-634-4100 or email@example.com.
Missy Clarin, Sales & Special Events Manager
Missy Clarin has been with Summer House and Stella Barra for about one year, moving back to Chicago after spending seven years working in Arizona’s hotel and fast casual/bar industries. She’s a professed pop punk fan and loves 90s throwbacks, which is one reason why she vibes with Stella Barra so well. Missy admits she’s a big introvert as well as a big extrovert when she needs to “turn it on,” which is why she relates so well with clients of all different personalities. “That’s one of the best parts of Summer House: There’s something for everyone no matter who they are, where they come from or what their age is,” Missy explains.
One thing that surprised Missy about Summer House was how busy it gets even for a restaurant this young (fun fact: we opened in Lincoln Park in November 2014). She remarks that summer days will have multiple private events back-to-back in the All-Seasons Courtyard all while coordinating deliveries and carryout orders, meaning she has to stay on her toes and adapt to the situation. One tip for a successful party: Assign one or two people to lead communications with party planners. Having too many cooks in the kitchen—pun intended—means important details may get lost in the shuffle.
Growing up, food brought a lot of Missy’s favorite moments together. Her grandma made her pancakes every visit, and showed her how to do the perfect flip, among other tricks. Today, she counts herself a big beer person, going to the Chicago Ale Fest every single summer, among other food-centered street festivals. Missy’s parents have been the most impactful in shaping her career; their 30+ years of dedication to their company pushes her to work hard and make an impact.
Makayla Mizser, Catering & Special Events Coordinator
Makayla Mizser has been a part of the Lettuce Entertain You family for a year and a half. She got her start in public relations, graduating from DePaul and working in PR-based roles before arriving at Summer House. Makayla transitioned to event planning because she wanted one-on-one interactions with clients, and to see the impact of her work first-hand. What excites her the most is knowing that all the months of hard work and planning will pay off in the end when her clients leave happy! (The thank-you cards and hugs are also a bonus!)
Thanks to her PR degree, Makayla knows how to be detail-oriented. Among her strengths are precise and technical writing, and doing research to know everything about a particular topic. From that, her parties pro tip is setting deadlines one-on-one and in the contract, so the host and parties team can see their progress bar filling. Keeping in touch and having in-depth conversations on what to expect and plan for helps Makayla see things from her clients’ perspective. Joining Summer House allowed her to learn the importance of food quality, allergies, and exploring different styles of cuisine, learning from passionate people like Executive Chef Ben Goodnick.
Outside of work, Makayla loves exploring lesser-known Chicago neighborhoods. They each have different types of shopping, cultures and people, and can change drastically from one to the next. She sees something similar in Summer House and Stella Barra, which blend two different types of cuisine into a perfect balance. For private events, having the option of an artisanal pizzeria or a California-inspired menu is a boon that party hosts can’t find anywhere else in the Windy City, she says.
Alison Lowry, Divisional Catering Director
Alison Lowry heads catering and special events for Lettuce Entertain You’s Chris Meers Division, consisting of Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!, Mon Ami Gabi, Community Canteen, Summer House and Stella Barra. And she’s definitely earned the title, having been a part of the family for 12 years! She studied at the Kendall College Culinary Arts School and from there worked in restaurant management for a Hawaiian fusion concept, and eventually arrived at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. This background makes it easier for her recommend food and wines for a party, understand the flow of a restaurant and how it will be impacted by parties, and speaking the chefs’ language in customizing menus for clients.
“The best part about Lincoln Park is that at its core, it really hasn’t changed over the years,” Alison remarks. “But Lettuce Entertain You has. Summer House and Stella Barra were amazing in that no one else in the neighborhood was doing what our concepts were doing, which is why we had so much local support and involvement from the get-go.” She particularly loves the restaurants’ open kitchen, which lets guests see the creations come together and feel like they’re a part of that experience. When it comes to catering, she recommends the Ahi Tuna Tostadas, salad bar and Turkey Club platters — the food is so fresh and clean that it transcends seasons!
Growing up, Alison’s mom always made bundt cakes for her and her siblings’ birthdays, so now that tradition is being passed down to Alison’s kids and beyond. To her, food brings together people who might not always be able to see each other, and at Summer House and Stella Barra, it’s easy to “sell” food that she is proud of and believes in. She credits Partners Michael Cunningham and Mark Sotelino as her inspiration on the job, as they share her vision of parties and catering adding to the restaurant experience. In her free time, Alison enjoys taking her kids to local parks, and camping and boating trips on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Now that you’ve met the team, it’s time to plan your party! Take advantage of our summer offers. Enjoy $100 off any carryout or delivery order with a minimum purchase of $375 or more. Or, book your event at Summer House and get a 15% bounceback in the form of a gift card. Restrictions apply. Click here to view our private party packet.