Synopses & Reviews
Thirty years after opening, the Chicago Diner is still the Windy City's premier vegetarian eatery, now with two locations and a national fan base. In honor of this momentous anniversary, the Chicago Diner is releasing this new cookbook, reflecting the wealth of new recipes, vegetarian and vegan dining sensibilities, and anecdotes from the kitchen of this award-winning foodie favorite.
In an attempt to eat healthier, Mickey Hornick became a regular at a local hippie haunt, the Breadshop Kitchen, where Jo Kaucher baked bread. One day, Hornick quit his job and took a position in Kaucher's kitchen as a dishwasher, despite his rudimentary knowledge of vegetables and warnings that the restaurant would soon go under. While Hornick and Kaucher were unable to save the Breadshop, they reunited to found the Chicago Diner.
Predating the exponential growth of veggie-friendly dining in the 1990s and 2000s, the Chicago Diner set an example of how a successful vegetarian restaurant could thrive, even in meat-and-potatoes cities like Chicago. The Chicago Diner is a staple of the city's culinary scene, earning a Michelin Guide recommendation as well as numerous local and national accolades.
In 1983, there was no shortage of critics, loan officers, and family members who scoffed at the ideaoften vehementlyof opening a strictly vegetarian restaurant. But that's exactly what Mickey Hornick and his partner, "Chef Jo" Kaucher did. 30 years later, the Chicago Diner is still the Windy City's premier vegetarian eatery, now with two locations and a national fan-base. In honor of this momentous anniversary, the Chicago Diner is re-releasing its beloved cookbook, updated with more recipes and anecdotes from the kitchen of this award-winning foodie favorite.
Hornick and Kaucher's business partnership is an unlikely story that began unexpectedly enough at the Chicago Board of Options. That's where Hornick worked as a fairly successful though unsatisfied commodities trader. In an attempt to eat healthier, he became a regular at a local hippie haunt known as the Breadshop Kitchen, where Kaucher busied herself baking bread. One day, Hornick quit his job and took a position in the kitchen with Kaucher as a dishwasher, despite warnings that the restaurant would soon go under. Two weeks later, Hornick told the owner he thought he could save the restaurant, leveraging his background in finance and overcoming his rudimentary knowledge of vegetables.
While Mickey and Jo were too late to save the Breadshop, they soon reunited to found the Chicago Diner. Predating the exponential growth of health-food trends and veggie-friendly restaurants of the 90s and 2000s, the Chicago Diner set an example of how a successful vegetarian restaurant could run even in "meat and potatoes" type towns like Chicago. Having earned accolades as a Michelin Guide recommended restaurant and as one of Chicago's best dining spots from local and national outlets, the Chicago Diner has become a staple of the city's culinary scene. This cookbook takes all their best recipes, from the Macrobionic Meal, No Meata Fajita, or Tofu Scrabble Jubilee, to the Thunder Salad and Radical Rueben Sandwich, and offers them up to readers as full meals with a new, healthy twist.
About the Author
Jo A. Kaucher,
"Chef Jo," is the head chef and co-owner of the Chicago Diner, the landmark vegetarian restaurant that first opened its doors in 1983. She lives with Chicago Diner president and co-owner Mickey Hornick
Kat Barry is a Michigan native, self-made chef, and founder of her own catering business. She became vegan in 2007. Because plant-based living so profoundly improved her health, she is now passionately committed to educating and inspiring others to do the same. She is the business development specialist at The Chicago Diner.