On Tuesday, FX and Hulu announced four days after the release that Season 2 of The Bear, is already was their most-watched premiere ever. Green-lighting Season 3 seems only a formality, however, show creator Christopher Storer says he never assumed success.
“This is the closest I’ve ever felt to being a part of a restaurant,” Storer said on Monday at the Welcome Conference Chicago. “I think this is what this feels like… by the way, we didn’t know if anyone was going to watch the show. We didn’t know if anyone was going to give a shit — like FX could watch it and be like, ‘this is bad.’ We had no idea of this being even good, but the sense of accomplishment was incredible.”
Storer was part of the program at the Welcome Conference Chicago, a one-day event of speakers aimed to inspire members of the restaurant industry, organized by Kevin Boehm of Boka Restaurant Group and Donnie Madia of One Off Hospitality. Madia also appears in two episodes in Season 2. Naturally, Storer, a Park Ridge native, spoke about The Bear, sharing that he worked at Mr. Beef when he was 19 years old, splitting his time between the River North beef stand and a job at the Chicago Board of Trade. It’s where he spotted his first celebrity, film critic Roger Ebert. Storer compared working at Mr. Beef to being part of a family.
“The thing I remember the most about Mr. Beef was like how out of control it could get for five minutes, and then how chill it would get for five minutes and the amount of weird shit that would happen out of nowhere,” Storer said. “The people that would come in there, and it was like, this great combination of regulars and people that worked in the neighborhood.”
Storer has held onto the idea of developing a show around Mr. Beef for years. The team built a soundstage in Chicago that mimicked much of the restaurant. Storer and sister Courtney “Coco” Storer, the show’s culinary director, made sure to sweat the details.
For example, the sound of the printers: Without mentioning DoorDash or Grubhub, Storer mentioned how third-party delivery orders slammed restaurants during the spring of 2020 when the pandemic shut down on-premise dining. Restaurant staff didn’t know how to turn off ordering and were often pummeled by too many orders. That feeling of terror is encapsulated by the non-stop sound of point-of-sales printers. The show worked hard to nail that sound, one that triggers many restaurant workers.
“Our sound mixers are the fucking best,” Storer said.