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As he sits singing along to the Phish music playing on the inside of Papa Willie’s BBQ in Highwood, Brian Merel has a lot to be proud of.
The Highland Park resident and chef put in a lot of work to add another modifier before his name — restaurant owner.
Highwood’s newest barbeque joint opened up Sunday, Oct. 20, after months of renovation work and a long career in the kitchens for Merel.
“I thought we would be open by the 4th of July,” Merel said.