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Jeff Aeder is co-founder and principal of JDI Realty, a small real estate firm that acquires a wide range of property types throughout the United States.
While Jeff has enjoyed the real estate business for over 30 years, he spends a large portion of his time pursuing philanthropic passions ranging from conventional to quirky. He and his wife Jennifer were named a Chicagoan of the Year in 2013, for founding Wolcott School, an independent high school for bright, college-bound students who learn differently.
The only school of its kind in Chicago, Wolcott is quickly becoming a national model for teaching students who experience reading, attention, and organizational challenges.Feeding his love for barbeque and a commitment to building community, in 2013 Jeff opened Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed. Following his charitable roots, in 2020 Jeff sold the restaurant to a number of employees for $1. While no longer the owner, Jeff still acts as the restaurant mascot, and you can find him schmoozing amongst the diners weekly.
The largest private collector of Jewish Baseball memorabilia Jeff created the Jewish Baseball Museum, an on-line museum showcasing the collection and highlighting the journey of Jews assimilating into American culture. Many of his baseball cards can be found along the walls of Milt’s.
Jeff lives in the Gold Coast with his wife and four teenage children, beloved and needy goldendoodle Ivie, bearded dragon PeeWee Irwin, and two possibly dead beta fish.
Executive Sous Chef
Rene has been with Milt’s since the very beginning. As an industry professional with 20 years of experience, his food knowledge and culinary skills prove him an invaluable asset in the kitchen. Rene possesses a truly admirable work-ethic and commitment to helping people.
In his spare-time he enjoys cooking (still!) and spending time with his lovely wife.
A native of Michigan, Ryan studied communication at Purdue University while working in various rolls of the restaurant industry.
After moving to Chicago in the fall of 2012, he began working at Milt’s the following Spring where he was able to put all that garnered expertise into action.Ryan enjoys the fast pace of the industry, as well as the opportunity to continually expand his knowledge of food and culture. When he is not at the restaurant, Ryan can be found at the local parks with his dog, Cash, or running on the lake front trail.
General Manager, Executive Chef
Chef Bryan Gryka has always considered food his passion. From an early age he was focused on providing eclectic cuisine to anyone who would dare try his creations.
Growing up in central Arkansas, he adopted a love for soulful barbecue, which he has taken to his current foray at Milt’s BBQ for the Perplexed. Although he loves working with barbecue, his professional training has been in traditional French cooking.Chef Gryka has had his recipes featured in multiple cookbooks, as well as many online and television publications. A popular personal chef and lecturer, nothing excites him more than discovering new flavor combinations.Since moving to Chicago, he has become well entrenched in the local kosher scene, working at many of the top venues in the area. After manning the helm at Milt’s BBQ for the Perplexed as Executive Chef for five years, he took on the additional role of General Manager in January 2018. In January 2020, Chef Bryan also became the principal owner of Milt’s.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, two daughters, and son. And baseball. He’s into that, too.