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updated: 7/22/2013 5:38 AM

Journey from China to suburbs continues for restaurant partners

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  • Shawn Li, left, and Ed Culleeney

    Shawn Li, left, and Ed Culleeney

  • Roselle Chamber of Commerce and the village of Roselle recently welcomed 8000 Miles Restaurant to Main Street in downtown Roselle. 8000 Miles specializes in Chinese and Japanese cuisine.

    Roselle Chamber of Commerce and the village of Roselle recently welcomed 8000 Miles Restaurant to Main Street in downtown Roselle. 8000 Miles specializes in Chinese and Japanese cuisine.

  • William Terlato

    William Terlato

  • Rob Guth

    Rob Guth

  • Bob Mandel, left, getting sword in as Lisle trustee.

    Bob Mandel, left, getting sword in as Lisle trustee.

  • Jim Denges

    Jim Denges

  • Ken Nemeth

    Ken Nemeth

  • Scott Gifford

    Scott Gifford

  • Larry Rieger

    Larry Rieger

  • Heidi Oniszczuk

    Heidi Oniszczuk


When Zishu "Shawn" Li left his native Congqing, China, in 2000, he came directly to Chicago. His journey didn't stop there as the young entrepreneur made a name for himself in the suburban restaurant industry that includes his latest business, 8000 Miles, which serves authentic Chinese and Japanese food in downtown Roselle.

The restaurant name came from the length of his journey to the suburbs, he said.

"It was actually 7,848 miles from Congqing to Roselle, but we rounded it up and 8 is a lucky number for us," Li said.

Shawn said moving to the United States was part of a dream to seek new opportunities.

"I wanted to explore myself and see more and see what the other side of the world was like," said the 39-year-old Bartlett man.

Shawn Li and Ben Li met in China when they were 19 years old. They also became friends with Wan Cai Li, a master chef at a five-star hotel in China who eventually moved to Chicago, where he opened Double Li restaurant in Chicago's Chinatown with Ben. Shawn opened TL's Four Seasons restaurant in Bartlett. The three Li men are not related but share a name that is very common in China.

Ed Culleeney of Palatine met Shawn through some friends. Culleeney decided to leave Lettuce Entertain You after 25 years and partnered with Shawn to open PL8, a restaurant in Barrington.

Shawn introduced Culleeney to Ben and Wai Cai and the four men compiled their ideas and recipes together to create 8000 Miles, a restaurant and menu that exemplified their time studying and living Chinese and Japanese culture. They wanted to feature classic Sichuan recipes collected over the years and offer the art of sushi.

Culleeney, who leaned on his marketing and business experience with Lettuce Entertain You, saw a good partnership with Shawn Li, who has a talent with authentic dishes and often returns to China to seek out the latest trends.

"He's a sharp guy," Culleeney said of Shawn.

While 8000 Miles has only been open about a month, the partners are expanding the seating from 140 to nearly 200 by adding an outdoor section that could be finished soon.

"We want to make a living, but we also want to deliver the culture, too," said Shawn Li.

Moto execs help young entrepreneurs

Kevin Tenbrunsel, director of business development at Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions and a member of Roosevelt University's Heller College of Business advisory board, said high school students from Chicago Public Schools received free training in business, math, science and green technology at Roosevelt University during the 4th annual Entrepreneurship Academy. The company provided volunteers and its Motorola Solutions Foundation provided a $30,000 grant.

Terlato inks deal

Bill Terlato, CEO of Lake Bluff-based Terlato Wines International, said he inked a deal with olive oil producer Colavita to create a collection of premium Italian wine under the Colavita brand for global distribution.

Officials ready for Macy's opening

Kristen Cox, Macy's North regional director of stores; Brad Poterack, district vice president of Macy's Chicago North; and Mary Mateer, store manager of Macy's Gurnee Mills, are among the many business executives expected to be on hand Wednesday when Macy's has its grand opening at Gurnee Mills.


Rob Guth is the new construction superintendent with Chicago-based Morningside Group and will oversee the completion of construction at Wheaton 121, a luxury community of 306 rental homes in downtown Wheaton. ... Bob Mandel, chief financial operating officer of Option Monster Holdings Inc., is a new Lisle village board trustee, completing the term of Ed Young, a newly elected Lisle Township trustee. ... Jim Denges will retire Aug. 4 as president and CEO of Central Grocers Inc., one of the nation's leading grocery cooperatives that distributes food and other products to independent grocers around the suburbs, and will be replaced by Ken Nemeth.

Dentist Rick Brar of St. Charles leads Brar Dentistry in South Elgin, where he handles general dentistry, and provides so-called Comfort Sedation for patients who are afraid of the dentist. ... Scott Gifford of Libertyville has been named the new manager of human resources at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. in Northbrook. ... Doctors Ehsan Safari and Manish Kapadia have joined the staff of DuPage Medical Group of Downers Grove. Safari will practice in Glen Ellyn and Kapadia will practice in Naperville and Plainfield.

Lawrence A. "Larry" Rieger of Wheaton is now acting chief financial officer at Naperville-based Tellabs Inc., after succeeding Tom Minichiello of Naperville, who resigned to become CFO at Westell in Aurora. ... Michael Miles was promoted from director of finance to vice president of finance and chief accounting officer at Tellabs. ... and George Stenitzer, a Tellabs spokesman, will be in Cleveland in September to speak at the Content Marketing World Conference.

Thomas Bean is the project executive for J.C. Anderson Inc. in Elmhurst, Dan Burnette is the project manager and Jose Verduzco is the project superintendent to complete a 17,000-square-foot build-out for the United Food Commercial Workers International Union in Rosemont. ... Kari Embree has been hired as senior digital content editor at UBM Canon and Packaging Digest in Oak Brook. ... Heidi Oniszczuk is the new academic adviser for Columbia College of Missouri's Lake County campus in Gurnee.

David De La Fuente of Elgin, a bilingual counselor at Larkin Center of Elgin, and Angelica Silva of Streamwood, a branch manager for Elgin State Bank, are new board of director members at The Association for Individual Development in Aurora. The board offers guidance and direction to help 5,000 individuals throughout the Fox Valley who receive services from AID each year.

•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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