Meet The Rodriguez Brothers
Rick is a DACA recipient. He and David run highly successful and delicious restaurants in Chicago, IL. Learn more about them and what they’re accomplishing today.
When you meet Rick Rodriguez and his brother David, you’re in for a treat. Literally and figuratively. These guys live and breathe food, delicious food at that. Not just “eat to live” food…we’re talking bacon infused, chocolate covered, gotta have it now kind of food. “It’s hard work, but when you’re able to feed people, and they truly enjoy it… and come back; it makes it all worthwhile,” says Rick when asked what he loves about this business. This is the kind of food, and the kind of brothers you want to hug after eating at their Chicago restaurant WHISK.
The opening of WHISK was the realization of a dream for chefs, owners and brothers Rick and David Rodriguez. Both brothers began their careers somewhere around the age of 15. Like most in the restaurant business, Rick worked his way onto and then up the kitchen line, beginning as a dishwasher and busboy, line cook, and then executive chef. “This is not a job, it’s a lifestyle…it’s what we do”, says Rick as he puts his arm around his brother in a way that only an older brother could. I was waiting for the brotherly head lock and noogies to begin, but they refrained. His brother and co-owning partner David’s career followed a similar path. He too started out as a part-time dishwasher and over the course of the next ten years, his passion for cooking (and baking) landed him exactly where he wanted to be…in his own kitchen, in his own restaurant, with his brother. Their rules, their menu, and it’s all taking shape to be one of Chicago’s trendiest and most successful restaurant start up concepts in a very long time. Good for them. Good for Chicago.
If the road we just described sounds fun to you, or even inspiring, it should. Rick and David work hard, play hard, and love hard. They are family guys who enjoy their time at work and away, spending time with their families, raising their young kids, and living what has become their combined American dream together.
For as much as their stories sound the same up until this point, there are some very big differences that you wouldn’t see just by looking at the Rodriquez brothers sitting next to one another in their busy neighborhood restaurant. Aside from the obvious difference in facial hair styling, and maybe a cleverly placed tattoo here or there, these guys could easily be mistaken for one another if you didn’t know them well. That’s where the similarity ends.
Though Ricky and David share the same last name, a lot of the same DNA, and a lot of the same values and interests, their paths to citizenship couldn’t have been more different. For David, he didn’t really have to give it much thought. In fact, he was born right here in the United States and has been a citizen of our great country since the first day he arrived in this world. Not that his path to his successes in life have been any easier than his brother Rick, who helped raise and mentor him as good brothers do, but with one key difference. David is a citizen of the United States by birth. His brother, partner, and friend is not.
You see Ricky was brought to America as a very young child the way so many others like him are. According to a survey conducted by the Immigration Policy Institute, in 2012 alone, 17.4 million children under the age of 18, lived at home with at least one immigrant parent.
When Ricky was 6 years old, his mother and elderly grandfather took him, a few bucks they had saved, and the giant risk of crossing the border illegally.
Ricky is all grown up now. He has his own family, a business, he pays taxes, goes to church, does everything his brother does, and everything (and sometimes more) than an average citizen does…except he doesn’t yet have all the benefits of being a U.S. citizen.
Ricky, like many of his friends and family members, works hard everyday to provide for their families and their employees. They are fiercely patriotic, love all things America, (including the Chicago Bears), and appear no less American than anyone who eats at their restaurant. Rick however, unlike his brother David, carries the added stress and expense of keeping up with his ongoing legal paperwork, staying up on immigration reform legislation, and doing everything possible to “do everything right” as not to run the risk of losing his precious legal conditional status in the U.S. until he can become a citizen. He’s got a lot to lose, and like so many others, has two kids, a wife (all citizens) and maybe a dog in his future.
Others like Rick wait years, file mountains of paperwork, and spend thousands of dollars with lawyers or “notaries” who may not always have their needs and best interests in mind. “I know so many people that went to notaries or bad lawyers and lost money or got the wrong advice… I even sought help at a Christian non-for-profit that advertised immigration support services, but when I arrived, I was told there was nothing they could do for me”, says Rick,“ after thousands of dollars in fees and trial and error, I now have DACA status and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Finding help is easy, finding the right help is a different story. Who can you trust? How much should I pay? Can I do this on my own? What happens if I don’t submit the right forms? All questions Rick thinks about every time his paperwork comes up for renewal. More than 100 million immigration forms are completed and filed in the U.S. every year. “That number stands to double if and when immigration reform is finally passed. With the average cost of legal representation to obtain a green card in the U.S. between 5000 and 12,000 dollars, you can only imagine the stress and uncertainty this can bring into your already complicated situation, especially for those that do not speak the language”, said Javad Khazaeli, Founder Road To Status.
Rick is focused like a fullback and has his eyes on the prize. He and his brother are fiercely competitive and as true Chicago Bears football fans, good luck getting in their way. “America is really a place where if you work hard and treat others with respect and dignity, you can accomplish anything” said David. “We’re proof that anything is possible if you you put your mind to it…and a little bacon on the side never hurt anyone either”, says Rick with a cheeky smile.
WHISK is located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood at 2018 West Chicago Avenue, just west of the corner of Chicago and Damen. Brunch is served daily 7 A.M. – 5 P.M, Dinner served daily beginning at 5 P.M., and burgers seem to be served whenever you want one…and we want one right now! Sorry guys, WHISK does not accept reservations, BUT, like the website clearly states, “IF YOU’RE HUNGRY, OR MIGHT BE HUNGRY SOON, WE CAN TOTALLY HELP YOU.” Learn more about Whisk and the Rodriguez brothers at www.whiskchicago.com.
Road to Status is a Chicago based technology and Software Company devoted to streamlining and automating the immigration process and the costly and complex paperwork associated with completing immigration forms and applications. Road to Status is NOT a law firm and is not affiliated with any government entity. By answering simple questions online, Road to Status uses proprietary technology to quickly and programmatically determine the immigrations forms an applicant will need based on their current status, work history, and personal situation. For those with straightforward cases, Road to Status helps you complete your immigration forms accurately and affordably online. If your case is more complex, Road to Status has assembled a licensed network of partner immigration attorneys and specialist who share in the vision of a better process for immigration. Learn more about Road to Status at www.roadtostatus.com.