- Mar 22, 2017
Fresh, thoughtful, healthy and tasteful, nostalgic, made with love — these words are not generally associated with quick, fast food. Northbrook resident and Jar Bar owner Karen Firsel, says these words are perfect descriptions of her restaurant, its food and its vibe, set to open in downtown Northbrook at the corner of Meadow and Shermer this month.
“I created Jar Bar to open up new options, disrupt what we know from our fast-casual food choices here and give people a glimpse of what is possible for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she says. Karen is putting her heart and soul and literally her family recipes behind the restaurant which she believes will be the first of its kind in the northern Chicago area. “I saw a huge void in the fast casual restaurant space,” she comments. Hoping to get people to look at healthy differently she comments “Healthy is being redefined as eating real and natural ingredients with deep flavors. It isn’t about non-fat, low-fat or low carb. You deserve to have great flavors combined in a great dining experience.”
Karen grew up in a home with delicious meals prepared by her mother, “where food equaled love.” She hopes to bring that same warmth and hospitality to her new restaurant. “Everything we serve will be meaningful,” she comments, noting all items are created by her and inspired by the people around her. Some of the items are family favorites including her Dad’s favorite banana bread, her Mom’s chicken soup, her daughter’s favorite turkey and humus sandwich and a twist on her son’s peanut butter and jelly. Some of the items are an elevated take on classic dishes such as the hot oatmeal dish “Cake for Breakfast” with swirls of cashew cream in hot oatmeal with granola and coconut sugars.
The food will be packaged in portable 8 to 24 ounce plastic jars that can be re-used for other purposes. “Our salads will go beyond focusing on lettuce,” she comments, “and we will serve them in our signature jar with dressings on the bottom.” The restaurant will feature artisanal oat bars, poached eggs with vegetables, pastries made with fruit purees, soups, rotating side salads, sandwiches and daily seasonal specials. Nitro coffees and cold brews will also be served.
Aware of diners seeking value related to portion size, the menu items will be competitively priced with salads in the $10 – $15 range and breakfast items in the $5 – $6 range. There will be plenty of cold items that can be tossed in a work bag for lunch.
Karen attributes her concept for the restaurant to her love of food, her TV background (as a producer of the Oprah show) and her role as an influencer and identifier of trends. Jar Bar is located across from Village Green Park and within walking distance to the train station. Karen and her husband, real estate developer Adam Firsel, found the spot to be ideal because of its accessibility.