Steve McDonagh

Steve McDonagh
Did you know?

Steve and his partner Dan Smith learned their craft when they earned their living as caterers while pursuing acting careers in New York. When they moved to Chicago, their catering company took off!

Steve McDonagh
Steve's Featured Recipe
Mistaken Negroni

Click here for recipe

Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith, aka The Hearty Boys, have thrown parties in and around Chicago, with clients ranging from  from Hillary Clinton to Northwestern University.


The duo started out in New York as actors trying to pay their bills by working for a series of catering companies. They learned how to set up outdoor bars and buffets at the U.S. Open, trained how to set a formal table at the French embassy, and worked luncheons for royalty at the United Nations, soaking up all sorts of knowledge along the way.

Steve and Dan moved to Chicago in the 1990s and became full-time caterers with a comapny called The Hearty Boys. They quickly became known for their very smart, hip, urban parties. Reporters, writing articles on entertaining, often call them for tips.

The Hearty Boys opened a gourmet shop in the Boystown neighborhood on Chicago's north side and continued to grow happily and steadily…and then came the summer of 2005. They sent a tape into the Food Network to beat out 10,000 entrants to become The Next Food Network Stars. They launched their own show, called, Party Line with The Hearty Boys. They also opened a  restaurant, HB: A Hearty Boys Spot. And then they topped it off with the adoption of their son, Nate.

In 2007 Steve and Dan published The Hearty Boys Cookbook, Talk with Your Mouth Full. They have appeared on CBS’ The Early Show, and in Life, The New Yorker, the New York Times, and other publications.


They live in Chicago. Their website is


Latest Recipes

Cracked Black Pepper Parmesan Crisps

I’m always the one picking the crispy burnt cheese off the sides of onion soup crocks. So what could be better than a whole bowl of crisp...

(1 Votes)

Savory Pop-Tart

When you think of toaster pastries, you likely think of Pop-Tarts! Put a new twist on the beloved childhood classic when you make this recipe for Savory Pop-Tarts. Loaded with chorizo and queso blanco, this toaster pastry can even be served as a snack or an appetizer for your next get-together with friends. If you really want to make it easy to entertain, then consider making these toaster pastries in advance, then simply reheating them when guests arrive. You'll love including a bit of nostalgia in your menu for a birthday party or other milestone event!

(1 Votes)

Mistaken Negroni

Milan’s famed Bar Basso is responsible for this mid-century cocktail, where sparkling wine takes the place of gin. We serve it mimosa sty...

(1 Votes)

Widow's Kiss

I insist you make this with French apple brandy (Calvados), which is more delicate but complex than others. When done right, you’ll find ...

(1 Votes)

El Diablo

(1 Votes)

Logan Square

I developed this cocktail while testing out the Boulevardier. The maraschino adds a nutty sweetness and thickens the cocktail a bit. I na...

(1 Votes)

Kix Mix

I expanded on this recipe from the 1950s that used Kix as a savory snack.

(1 Votes)
Cookbooks, etc

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Sign In using Email and Password