What is Border Oak Cafe?
Border Oak Cafe is the next leg of the journey for the team that brought you Tuesday Night Dinner underground supper club. For the past three and a half years, Tuesday Night Dinner (TND) has hosted communal pop-up food events at a multitude of locations all across Chicago. A historic mansion, underground art lofts, local restaurants, and a secret convent garden are just a handful of places we have hosted our events. By drawing inspiration from our city’s food history and culture, we have crafted meals that attempt to pay homage to the spirit of community and approachable deliciousness. Pulling from this same spirit as TND, Border Oak will be our first attempt at a brick and mortar establishment. While TND has focused on the cuisine of the city, Border Oak will look outwards to the Midwest and the greater American Midlands for inspiration. We will focus on delicious and accessible food, with particular attention paid to quality of ingredients, precision of technique, and grounding in the food traditions from the city, the Midwest, and the greater American midlands.. We will create an atmosphere that is welcoming, comfortable, and community minded with the goal of creating the most enjoyable experience possible for our guests.
Why are we opening a Cafe?
We have been hosting dinner events with one main purpose: connecting people to their food by cooking delicious meals. This is also our goal behind opening a cafe. We believe that we can remain true to this by opening a neighborhood eatery that serves delicious food in an inviting atmosphere. We believe that by opening a welcoming and accessible cafe we can continue our push to build an audience of people dedicated to the celebration of localized food traditions. Over the years we have built a following, and we have grown up alongside our followers. A brick-and-mortar establishment is the natural next step in this gastronomic journey. It will give us a base of operations to continue hosting dinner events, it will give us a laboratory to explore the cuisine of the American Midlands, and most importantly it will help us feed our ever-expanding community on a regular basis.
What are the American Midlands ?
The American Midlands are a group of several eco-regions encompassing the greater Midwest and central United States. This area of the country has its own unique ecology, micro-climates, history, and gastronomy. On the western boundary lies the oak savannas that stand sentinel between the great plains and the central hardwood forests. The rolling hills of the Ozarks and the mixed mesophytic forests of the Appalachian mountains make a natural pocket in the southern part of the region. The Mississippi River runs the length of the Midlands from the low-country forests in the south up to the Northwoods that surround the upper reaches of the Great Lakes. The American Midlands are connected through a shared history of westward expansion, reliance on the bounty of the land and a reliance community values, as well as a connection to industry, ingenuity, and the world economy through the gateway metropolis of Chicago. We will draw on these elements when it comes to the inspiration behind the cuisine of Border Oak.
Why does Border Oak have a Kickstarter Campaign?
The funds from the campaign will be used to supplement startup costs associated with opening a restaurant in Chicago:
- Attorney fees
- Architect fees
- Accountant stipend
- Research & Development
- Buildout of physical space
- Zoning, application fees, licensing and incorporation.
Why should we care if Border Oak exists?
Border Oak is a flagship for accessibility and ingenuity in the cuisine of our zeitgeist. An investment in Border Oak is an investment in Chicago’s cultural landscape.
“ Cuisine is deeper... It expresses, at least in part, the soul of the people who live on the land, produce the food, eat the food, and have an all encompassing connection to the land and its offerings that defines who and what they are- this is not just eating, this is cuisine as an expression of self and one’s culture and does, in a very real sense, reflect the soul of a country.” The Founders of American Cuisine, Harry Haff
Who is Border Oak?
Border Oak is the creative team that brought you Tuesday Night Dinner:
Jeremy Leven, Chef and Founder of Border Oak/TND
Jeremy’s experience as a cook, forager, and student of history led him to develop the idea for Border Oak on a trip to the Northwoods. He believes wholeheartedly in the idea of ecological terroir and cultural terroir working hand in hand to create a cuisine that is unique to Chicago, the Midwest, and the American Midlands.
Jacqlyn Lancaster, Maven of Operations & Marketing
Jacqlyn's background is in music and artist management but her love of community and food brought her into the TND fold several years ago. Since then, Jacqlyn has worked connecting the TND community to other like-minded organizations, earning her chops by building a network of co-conspirators from the ground up.
Nicholas Jirasek, Kitchen Wizard
One of TND’s main creative forces, Jirasek has brought his artistic sensibilities and love for all things Chicago to TND/Border Oak’s kitchen for the past 2 years. Jirasek has gained notoriety from his food & art collaborative Guerrilla Smiles.
Selorm Yo Nkpe aka Dr. Sel, Hospitality Specialist
Since joining our team two years ago Mr. Sel has graced guests with his charm and courtesy. Pulling from his background at the Trump Tower, Mr Sel ensures that each and every guest lets down their guard and imbibes over great food and drinks.
Alyssa Matinez, Musician-in-Residence / Artist Bookings
Alyssa is the point person when it comes booking musicians at TND communal events. Her creative input, hands-on approach, and connections to creative networks are invaluable. Check out the melodic style of Alyssa as she performs with her band Good Evening throughout the city.
Nate Joseph, Cocinero Supreme / Lyricist
You will find Nate manning the grill, flat-top, fryer, burners and anything else that needs doing in the kitchen. If you are lucky you might catch him dropping some lyrics at the end of an event or performing with his group the Innervisionists.
Juan Fontecha, A Cook For All Seasons
Juan is a man about town. You can find him showing off his culinary chops at Floriole, Guerrilla Smiles and TND/Border Oak.
Leila Ryndak, Host With the Most
The newest member of TND/Border Oak, Leila’s warm and welcoming personality helps set the tone at the community events. When Leila is not pitching in at the dinners, she is working as a visual artist, and exploring the effects of food as it relates to health and wellness of the body.
Risks and challenges
The idea of getting people excited about midwestern and American midland cuisine.
Starting a grassroots business that supports the community.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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