Made in Uptown: Kāl’ish Short Order Vegan

Andy Kalish and Gina Marino-Kalish have deep Uptown roots. Twenty years ago, the pair opened a vegan/vegetarian restaurant and catering company at 1224 W. Wilson. Now they’ve opened Kāl’ish, an all-vegan concept serving burgers, salads, all-day breakfast, and Sunday brunch. It’s the latest addition to an already-bustling commercial hub in Uptown’s Sheridan Park. Business Partners – The Chamber for Uptown recently chatted with Andy about this new enterprise.

What is it like again having a business on Wilson in Uptown?
It is wonderful to see how many young people are out and about in Sheridan Park. Our community is teeming with college students, young adults and families, couples & established professionals. The diversity of clients that come into kāl’ish reflects the well-being of our community.

What are Kāl’ish Donation Days? The idea of our Donation Days is rooted in our desire to support important local organizations. We contribute 20% of all sales that day back to the organization and broadcast their message to our community. Ravenswood Community Services was our first Donation Day in December. RCS provides food to our hungry neighbors and complimentary social services – it was important that we start with them. In February, our Donation Day benefitted About Face Theatre. Besides the high quality of performance work they do, they also run a terrific training program for youth in the LGBT community.

What’s your favorite dish on the menu? I eat the Chor-Cado Crunch & Uptown Greek Salads most frequently – when I indulge it would be on the Clucker Crisp Sandwich, and polish it off with a sticky pecan bun.

What’s next for Kāl’ish? The volume of customers coming up from Hyde Park, South Loop, and the Northshore is significant and leads us to believe that expanding in those direction might be warranted, in a year or two. On Wilson, we are looking forward to outdoor seating and extended hours come springtime. In April, we’ll be opening the first of two sister restaurant in our building. The first is Longacre Pizza Box – it will serve Detroit style pizza, pasta bakes, salad and a few sides, mostly to go. Mid-summer, we expect to open Longacre Dining & Bar. The menu will expand from the Pizza Box and include Midwest style tapas plates.

The restaurant was also a participant on the inaugural Taste of Uptown event, letting locals sample their food before officially opening. Andy commented “it is hard to imagine our success without having the Taste of Uptown & Tree Lighting events bringing hundreds of people to our doorstep to meet us for their first times.“

Kāl’ish is open daily, except Tuesdays. Stop in and try it today!