Some of our favorite local Illinois partners and products
Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart and Dr. Robert Birnecker, Founders
Founded in 2008 by a husband and wife team, KOVAL was the first local distillery to open in Chicago since the mid 1800s. It has since blossomed into one of the largest fully independent and woman-owned craft distilleries in the U.S. Their whiskey, gin and specialty products — some of which are organic — use unique grains and signature “heart cut” techniques, and have garnered over 100 international awards.
Kailey Donewald, Founder
Kailey discovered the powerful connection between diet and disease when she took a personal journey in switching to a nutrient-conscious, plant-based diet that she believes assisted in managing her asthma and allergies. With this profound understanding of her body and its nourishing abilities, she crafted Sacred Serve: a rich, creamy gelato packed with plant-based nutrition designed to help our bodies while considering the planet.
Feed Your Head Foods
Vegan Meats & Cheeses
Tiffany Wilson, Owner
Feed Your Head began by selling products at local Chicago farmers markets and summer music festivals. It wasn’t long after dabbling in vegan cheeses that Tiffany delved into making vegan “meats.” Her deep ties to food and traditional culinary practices, derived from her rural Missouri roots, lend a great deal of passion to her business and her desire to support local farms. For Tiffany, it’s about introducing others to the idea that vegan food can be delicious on its own merits.
Frozen banana desserts
Jessica Gartenstein & Erik Nadeau, Cofounders
After growing up avoiding dairy, Jessica took her college years by storm, determined to find joy in dairy alternatives. She teamed up with Erik, experimented in the kitchen and created Frönen. Their banana-based frozen treats contain simple ingredients like honey, strawberries and coconut cream.
Jenny Yang, Founder
Jenny Yang had always enjoyed the local staple Phoenix Bean. So when the opportunity came to buy it, she was not only determined to carry on the tofu-making tradition, but it was also a way for her to launch her own creations with Jenny’s Tofu. An added incentive? To help those who do not consume dairy, like her kids, by promoting the benefits of soy.
Charlie McKenna, Founder
Where will you find some of the best Memphis, Alabama and Carolina barbeque? In the Midwest, naturally, with Lillie's Q. It's what chef Charlie McKenna calls Smotherly Love.
Blake & Matt Pierce, Cofounders
Since 1979, Matt’s Cookies has been making simple, delicious small-batch cookies. Using classic, simple ingredients, they make their cookies just like you would at home — they even hand-pack them while they’re still warm. Now all you need’s a fireplace and book to curl up with.
Jim Murphy, Founder
Standing over 30 feet high and covering over 14 football fields, Mighty Vine’s 15-acre glasshouse encases their tomato plants. Their hydroponic process uses less water than traditional methods of tomato cultivation and their greenhouses allow for perfectly ripe fruit all year round.
Gloria Athanis, Ched David Choi Jr. & Jeff Adeszko, Co-Owners & Partners
Chicago-based Phyter makes organic food bars exclusively from ripe plants like strawberries, squash and beets. Not only do you get nutrients from fruits and veggies, but the bars are also fruity and delicious. Who knew eating your fruits and veggies could be this easy?
Alison Velázquez, Founder
To Alison Velázquez, soup has always been more than a meal — it’s heritage and family, too. In homage to her grandma, Alison started Skinny Souping with the idea of bringing soup back to its roots. Now, Skinny Souping has a line of plant-based, single-serve soups that can be eaten on the go, always made with high-quality ingredients.
Corey Winer & Michelle Francis, Cofounders
Founded in 2015, ZenSweet creates baking mixes with sweetness added from monk fruit extract. After Michelle Francis discovered that she was sensitive to certain ingredients, she and Corey Winer started the company in order to find something more suited to her new eating habits. Their mixes are also gluten-free and paleo-friendly.
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We Love Local
Loving our local growers, artisans, makers, entrepreneurs and producers is something that just comes, well, naturally. After all, our local community has been one of our most important ingredients — it's been that way since the doors opened to our very first store.