Nothing much survives from Brehmer’s high school years except rumor and innuendo. He distinguished himself as the starting pitcher for the varsity baseball team from 1969 to 1972. He also spent winters in a Kelly-green Speedo as a member of the McBurney swim team. All pictures were destroyed by the government. College radio seduced him in the summer of 1974 at Colgate University. So did his future wife. After a collegiate experience of one part pocket billiards and two parts obscure literature seminars, Brehmer turned to WQBK-FM in Albany, New York for a job in January, 1977.
Dubbed the Reverend of Rock and Roll, Brehmer drew on the influence of Old Testament prophets and AC DC to fashion a radio program designed to break down rational consciousness. When this didn’t work, Brehmer accepted a job in 1984 at WXRT, Chicago. Brehmer spent ’84 to ’90 as the Music Director of WXRT. During that time he lived in the bleachers, learned to match wines with food and demonstrated a predilection for extolling rock bands that no one would ever listen to. Lin was named “Music Director of the Year” by trade magazine, The Friday Morning Quarterback, in 1987, 1988 and 1990. In 1990, the Hard Report’s readers chose Brehmer as the “Music Director of the Decade.” This last award made just as much sense as a Playgirl article in 1985 naming him as one of America’s Sexiest D.J.’s. C’mon! His picture is right in front of you!
In 1990, Brehmer accepted a job as the program director of KTCZ in Minneapolis because Chicago just wasn’t cold enough. In Minnesota, he learned to ski. And as a Chicago baseball fan, he enjoyed a whole new experience. The Minnesota Twins played in a tournament known as the World Series. Excited by the prospect of the Cubs or White Sox being allowed to participate in such an event, Brehmer moved back to Chicago almost immediately after the conclusion of the 1991 fall classic. Nursing bad knees, Brehmer failed to secure his dream job: vending cotton candy at sports arenas. Instead, he began an odyssey as the morning D.J. of WXRT that continues today. Lin Brehmer continues to find spiritual direction from Keith Richards. His motto is borrowed from the writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Flesh fade and mortal trash fall to the residuary worm’, you and I might as well Rock and Roll.”
Restaurant guides are an enduring fascination for me. I keep a Zagat in my car at all times. What you and I need, however, is a guide to places to eat after a concert. There’s too much pressure trying to dine before a concert. If I have to emcee a concert, my stage fright prevents me from thinking about food until the concert is over. Then, of course, I am ravenous. A ravenous Lin Brehmer is not a pretty sight, not that a well-fed Lin is.
Allow me then to direct you to some dining experiences near some of our favorite concert and theater venues. Steppenwolf Theater: Boka is at the corner of Willow and Halstead not more than half a block from the theater. I once had a chance to work in Charlie Trotter’s kitchen for a charity auction and when I was there, Charlie wasn’t. The guy running the kitchen was a friendly savant named Giuseppe. He’s the new chef at Boka, a warm, casually hip room that has always made cuisine a priority. Two words. Veal cheeks.
House of Blues: Bin 36 is a well established mecca for the wine lover. John Caputo’s tasting menu is an enduring temptation. Why not try the “Oven Roasted Artic Char, lobster dumplings & english pea ragout, chanterelle mushroom gravy.” Nice. For dessert, I can’t resist a flight of fine cheese with a glass of vintage port. If the concert runs late, they have a very comfy, casual café area that has a late night menu.
Favorite Restaurants In Chicago
- Best Total Dining Experience:Spiaggia
- Best Sushi on the Northside:Katsu
- Best Upscale Mexican for when you want to leave the kids home: Topolobampo
- Best Upscale Mexican for when you have the kids with you:Don Juan’s
- Best Legendary Rib Joint:Twin Anchors
- Best Best New Rib Joint:Smoque
- Best Italian Before a Sox Game:Franco’s
- Best Place for Martinis and Oysters:Shaw’s Crabhouse
- Best Hidden Luncheonette: Heaven on Seven in the Garland Building
- Best Old School Steakhouse: Myron and Phil’s
- Best New School Steakhouse:Keefer’s
- Best East Coast Pizza: Piece
- Best Late Night Steak Burrito: La Pasadita