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Chef Kevin Schuder, and the Fancy Plants Catering team will be starting the first vegan cafe in Chicago.
Chef Kevin Schuder, and the Fancy Plants Catering team will be starting the first vegan cafe in Chicago.
204 backers pledged $25,246 to help bring this project to life.

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$25,246

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Open Chicago's First Vegan Cafe, and Experimental Dining Destination

For a few months, we've been in the old Kitchen 17 space on Briar Street, and have hosted dozens of pop-up dinners, cooking classes, special events, and private parties.  But now the lease is coming to an end, and in order to continue cooking as we do, we'll need to sign a new lease, and take the next step towards building a new business here in Chicago!  The rent is very reasonable, and we have built up a solid clientele over the past 2 years through our cooking. Kevin is a Vegan Iron Chef award winning cook who has catered dozens of vegan weddings, fundraiser dinners for Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, the Humane League, and Farm Sanctuary here in Chicago.  We have hosted over 160 vegan popup dinners in the 2 years Fancy Plants Catering has been in the Windy City, and we've built a grassroots network of dedicated diners, cooks, servers, and collaborators.

Our team plans to take vegan cooking to the next step, by opening Chicago's first vegan cafe, which will feature experimental and refined vegan dining options in the evening, as well as serve as an incubator for new chefs, and new concepts.

Kevin has been the chef of 4 successful restaurants and businesses in the San Francisco/Bay Area, and will apply that same determination to our first brick and mortar location here in Chicago.

We want to create a neighborhood cafe culture, where we would be welcoming, personable, approachable, and be 100% vegan. We'll provide delectable pastries, breakfast sandwiches, bagels with different housemade cream cheeses, and grab and go food.  We will turn our grab and go food into a weekly meal plan, with deliveries across Chicago, and plan to cater office breakfasts and lunches as well.

In the evening, we will continue the tradition Fancy Plants Catering started with the 160+ vegan popups we've hosted in Chicago, by offering a refined experience of 'farm to table' vegan dining, with rotating themes, guest chefs, special events, and as an incubator for testing new vegan concepts in Chicago.

What we're going to do, is attract people in with our friendly, approachable, bohemian cafe.  Then we'll convince them when they try our vegan morning pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and grab and go food.  Then perhaps they'd like to join us for our refined vegan dining in the evenings.  Come in on a whim for coffee, end up joining us for a 5 course vegan molecular gastronomy dinner.  We hope to bring a lot of omnivores to appreciate us by running the spectrum between low commitment morning offerings, to refined dinners in the evening. The mornings can be the anchor, and then we can see what vegan dining concepts Chicago is hungry for as well.

How can you get involved?  We have many rewards for donations to our Kickstarter, but if you don't have funds, don't worry!  You can help by sharing us on social media.

Risks and challenges

We understand that many challenges face opening a vegan business, and for any new business in Chicago. It takes a village. We do have many good things going for us:

*Our rent is very reasonable, and we're in a great location.
*We have a prep kitchen/walk in refrigerator, literally right around the corner at Kitchen 17.
*We have many revenue streams. The cafe in the morning, the dinners in the evening, grab and go food, meal delivery, office catering, cooking classes, and wedding and event catering as well.
*We have a very committed and diverse team. Kevin has run 4 successful restaurants in SF, and has cooked for thousands of people here in Chicago. We've forged great relationships with many vegan food companies, restauranteurs, animal rights nonprofits, and local Chicago organizations.
*We have a very devoted team. Building people up who work with us has always been a priority, and we have solid people working with us who take on leadership roles, organization, and dedication.
We could never have done any of the ambitious projects we've done without their reliability and support.
*We are adaptable. We will always be 100% vegan, but we're very sensitive to what works and what doesn't when it comes to trying out new vegan dining concepts in the evening. Creativity and risk require honest criticism, and we're adaptable to changing demands and circumstances.
We'll always be 100% vegan, Given this, we can always adapt.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Limited Edition Wonderland Cafe Sticker

    We'll only print a enough Wonderland Cafe stickers as there are donors, so you will get massive cool points once we establish ourselves. Or you could just buy a ton of them, and paste them on everything. They're your stickers!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Wonderland Founders Page Listing

    Be listed as a founder on our website! We'll be Chicago's first vegan cafe. We aim to make it fantastic as well.

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    3 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Wonderland Cafe Drink Punch Card

    Enjoy a punch card each morning, where you can enjoy 6 of any of our coffee, chai, tea, etc. drinks that we have in the morning.
    We'll be there for you

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    4 backers
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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Wonderland Cafe Tote Bag

    Get the first run of our Wonderland Cafe tote bags! Everyone who likes bringing a bag to the store should have one of our bags. You can be very practical, and still rep for some great vegan food,

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    6 backers
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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Box of 6 Vegan Pastries

    Choose 6 of our morning pastries, and take them with you! Feel free to share them with a friend, or keep them all for yourself. A fine box of vegan pastries makes a fine gift, it's also great for you and a friend, or you could just eat the box yourself. We won't judge. You may want to get 2 boxes of these pastries.

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    20 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Wonderland Cafe Apron

    You'll get an official Wonderland Cafe Apron! We're only printing a few, and the only other people who will get it in the future are the people who will work there. More than likely. Come get your official apron! I'll be wearing it every day, so don't fear that it will be sad and cheaply made.

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    2 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Fancy Plants 75 Recipe E-Book

    We'll send you 75 or more of our classic recipes, so you can learn to cook vegan, and well. Some of it takes a little work, some of it is the basics that you wish you knew earlier. These recipes take you from the simple to the sublime, and you can choose your own adventure.

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    8 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    ]Fancy Vegan Breakfast and Coffee for 2

    Sampling of our morning pastries, breakfast sandwiches, bagels and cream cheeses, as well as drinks, with 2 pastries each of your choice to take home. Makes a great gift! And we'll take care of you.

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    21 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Founders Listing on Plaque in Cafe

    You are all likely some of our early supporters, and we will always commemorate your early support!

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    16 backers
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  10. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Founders Dinner

    We'll host an inaugural 5-course dinner, with a few fun surprises (call it a 7-course dinner), to commemorate the opening of Chicagos first vegan cafe. The menu will be broad, most dietary restrictions will be honored, it will be on a Saturday, and we'll make sure you're fed, happy, and honored.
    We will announce the dinner 2 weeks prior, and if you cannot make it, you can pass it on to a friend, and we will honor a dinner for you in the future.

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Pre-Opening Party Invite!

    We'll be serving TONS of fun passed appetizers, and have a high end vegan buffet as well. Stuff yourself, enjoy some drinks (we'll have drinks), enjoy some company, and be merry. Space is limited, so act soon!

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    Limited 8 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    4-Course Dinner for 2.

    This makes for a fantastic treat for yourself, or even a nice gift.
    We'll provide for you and a friend 4 fantastic courses of vegan food, and N/A drinks (or mixers if you bring your own). We're happy to honor many requests and food restrictions! Just ask us...

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    37 backers
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Your Own Appetizer Creation, and Dinner

    You'll work with Kevin to design an appetizer using your ideas, and names after you (i.e. Janelles Brussels Sprouts). This dish will be on the menu for at least 1 week, and we'll treat you to a free 4-course dinner, including your namesake appetizer when you come in that week.

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    14 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    Morning Office Catering

    We'll bring coffee, a generous assortment of vegan pastries, and bagels with our vegan cream cheese, and an assortment of toppings for 10 people. Let your coworkers know how good vegan options can be! We'll make you proud.

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    4 backers
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Cooking Class for 6 with Chef Kevin

    Kevin will design with you a 4 course cooking class in your home for 6 people.
    You'll get a lunch, and a recipe book with your class. You'll also get your name on the founders page, as well as on the plaque of the restaurant. What would you like to learn?

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    1 backer
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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Private Fine Dining With Chef Kevin (6)

    Kevin will work with you to design a private dinner in your home, or in the restaurant for up to 6 people. We'll take care of all the cooking for a 5 course meal, and all of the cleaning as well. Talk to us if you'd like to invite more people! We're reasonable. You'll also get your name on the founders page, and on the plaque at the restaurant. Aside from this 6 person, 5 course dinner, you can also come in and personably be treated well to a 3 course dinner when you would like to take it.

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    14 backers
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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,800 or more About $1,800

    California Fine Dining with Kevin (12)

    I'm happy to come back to California to cook an upscale vegan dinner, with your input, for up to 12 people.
    I'll work with you to fine tune the menu to your liking, bring some excellent kitchen help and service staff, and create an unforgettable vegan dining experience in your own home.
    You'll need to pay for my flight (which is usually $160 or less from Chicago), but it'll be an honor to visit, and cook for you.

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Funding period

- (30 days)