Restaurant uncaps healthy, trendy eating

Sarah Sandlow, Staff Writer

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The storefront previously occupied by Yogen Früz, on the corner of Meadow Road and Shermer Road, is undergoing renovations and is set to be opened as Jar Bar restaurant later this spring. Karen Firsel, owner and founder of Jar Bar, said she believes GBN students will enjoy the accessibility and creativity of the Jar Bar brand. Photo by Hope Mailing

Finding an agreeable destination for open lunch can be difficult for some students. With the lack of vegan choices available to her, junior Julia Laughlin constantly has issues finding places to go for lunch that do not conflict with her vegan diet.

Jar Bar, a new restaurant that serves healthy food in jars, is scheduled to open in downtown Northbrook before the end of spring. Over half of the menu is vegan or gluten free.

In a phone interview, Karen Firsel, founder and owner of Jar Bar, said she wants every ingredient used in the restaurant’s food to be unprocessed and natural, which puts an emphasis on healthy eating.

“[Jar Bar] is really trying to … introduce [teenagers] to different flavor combinations and different aspects … of what a really healthy … lunch can be and should be,” Firsel said.

A few of the expected menu options at Jar Bar include oatmeal, açai bowls, sandwiches and salads. Proteins such as chicken or steak can be added to salads. Prices are expected to range from $5 to $10.

Firsel said the oatmeal and salads will be served in recyclable jars made from flexible plastic that can be transported for on-the-go eating.

“I think that [the jars are] really on trend in terms of the whole movement of mason jars,” said Firsel. “And I really focused on the portability issues that I think people are having right now.”

Laughlin said Jar Bar will be convenient for dining because it will be easier to bring leftover food back to school compared to other restaurants due to the portability of the jars.

Firsel said she wants to ensure fast service for busy high school students.

“Every single thing that you would want to order is … ready to be made right in front of you,” said Firsel. “So, it’s a very quick line, and I want high school kids to be assured that … [they will be able to] get out of the door pretty fast.”

Sophomore Jayne Leonard said she is vegan, and she heard Jar Bar is supposed to have tasty vegan food that is different from the salads she usually gets at other restaurants. She said it is hard to find restaurants that serve completely vegan meals.

Laughlin said she is excited for Jar Bar to open, especially because it is replacing one of the many dessert places she has grown accustomed to seeing in downtown Northbrook. She tries to eat healthy, but she is often limited to what she can eat from restaurants and the Glenbrook North cafeteria.

“[Jar Bar] will be a healthy food place, and we don’t have a lot of healthy food in downtown Northbrook,” Laughlin said.

Firsel said she believes it is time to bring a new dining option to the suburbs, which are usually overlooked in terms of new restaurant concepts, because those  ideas usually end up in bigger cities.

“[The suburbs] deserve an option where there’s an emphasis on clean foods, clean eating and a really nice window into different flavor profiles and different flavors that people should … experience,” Firsel said.

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Restaurant uncaps healthy, trendy eating