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How It’s Made

the H E N R Y F O R D of R AV I O L I —photos and text by Kim Johnson JEFF BARRY ’85 LOVES A CROWD,

(inset) Family photos adorn the walls of Jeff Barry’s Ravioli Oli restaurant: “I grew up in a home crowded with people who enjoyed each other. If every day could be a party here, it would be wonderful.”

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but the one streaming into his new restaurant at mealtimes isn’t big enough for his tastes. “I always like to throw a party,” Barry says with a strong Chicago accent. “If every day could be a party here, it would be wonderful.” The banker turned restaurateur grew up on the city’s south side in a home “crowded with people who enjoyed each other.” Barry has fond memories of his grandmother, who owned a clothing shop nearby. As a boy he helped around the store, and he’d frequently go home with her. “I was always just kind of hanging around,” he recalls. And for good reason: She was an amazing cook, and her signature dish was ravioli. “Grandma used to have bed sheets covered with ravioli all over the house,” Barry says. There was method to this madness—the linen absorbs the extra moisture from the filling and keeps the ravioli from getting mushy; Barry uses a similar process today. Grandma Mary also taught Barry how to make cheese ravioli with marinara sauce, and it became his favorite meal. “My birthday is December 27, right after Christmas, and Grandma always made lots of ravioli for the holiday. But she always saved some especially for my birthday. She knew I was getting the short end of things with a birthday so close to Christmas.” So when Barry decided last year to leave his career in banking to open a restaurant, he knew exactly what he wanted to serve. ➤ P32

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Wabash Magazine  

The Journal of Wabash College

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