Egg Harbor Café restaurants are actively involved in our communities, hosting charity events, volunteering and donating gift certificates to local schools, park districts, religious institutions and nonprofit organizations. In addition, we are committed to partnering with socially responsible, locally-resourced companies, including Intelligentsia Coffee, Jones Dairy Farm, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice, Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery. Deneen Pottery, Pure Water Technology and Vital Food Service.

30th Anniversary this Month


Greet Guests like its Opening Day

When Jack and his first wife Paula recruited their daughter Aimee and her husband Mike to return to Illinois and help launch a gourmet breakfast and lunch café, they were confident that Egg Harbor Café’s unique brand of friendly service, great food and unique menu would succeed in the Midwest.  Aimee and Mike had been called a “rare pair” by John Sullivan, owner of the First Watch in California who served as a consultant on the first menu. Still, no one knew how that success would look. As years passed, the restaurant grew through a combination of creative vision, love and hard work. Thirty years later, with 19 locations, Egg Harbor Café is still a family business, but it now involves three generations of children and grandchildren (including siblings, nieces and nephews).

Egg Harbor Café’s first eggs were cracked in Hinsdale on December 28, 1985. Owner Jack Wright stepped outside for a few minutes that day, watching with excitement and gratitude as cars pulled into the parking lot… and behold, customers were arriving! “Remember that feeling,” Jack counseled the staff, “and always treat guests with the same energy and excitement as if it is opening day.”

Over the past decades, co-owners Aimee and Mike Farrell have built on that core insight. In the early years, Mike used the image of the popular comedy show “Cheers” to coach employees to remember people’s names and their favorite foods, and to “customerize” special orders with a smile. To this day, employee development at Egg Harbor Café remains focused on building creative, cohesive staffs who warmly welcome guests within a few moments of entering the restaurant.

Throughout this 30th anniversary month, we are grateful for having become extended family for so many people, employees and guests, and look forward to celebrating in the days ahead.

100% Free Range Hens

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Healthy, Certified Humane Eggs

Our free range hens are among the 5% of laying hens in the United States who are given outdoor access.

Beginning next week, 100% of our eggs will come from barn-living hens who have daytime access to roam outdoors. Our certified-humane, free range hens are fed a high quality, vegetarian diet containing no antibiotics or hormones.

Egg Harbor Café first introduced free range cracked-shell eggs in July 2015, and will transition to free range hens as our farm-to-table source for all egg dishes beginning the week of November 22. We are thrilled to partner with Vital Food Service, to support the farms raising free-range hens, and to provide our guests a premium, large brown egg with a rich yolk for great taste and nutrition.

According to United Egg Producers, less than 5% of the 300,000,000 laying hens in the United States are given outdoor access. The vast majority of these hens live their entire lives in cages, with no access to natural light, unable to move about or flap their wings. Another group of hens with no access to sunlight or fresh air are classified as cage-free hens. These birds exist in a henhouse and are given one square foot of space.

For eggs to be considered free range and certified humane, the farms sourced by Egg Harbor Cafe must meet the following requirements:

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Creating Impact


In 2001, Jim Cadwell began working as a server at Egg Harbor Café in Glenview. He planned to move on to a new job in a few months, but instead he built a restaurant career. Egg Harbor Café provided Jim with management and leadership training, encouraged him to develop himself and empowered him to do what he loves best. Now general manager of Egg Harbor Café in Rockford, Jim looks forward to coming into work each day and helping create premium experiences for guests and staff alike.

Jim sees the positive side of situations wherever he goes. When asked if he has a favorite quote, Jim shares: “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” (Charles Swindoll) A team player with strong personal values, Jim motivates and supports his staff to do the best job they can, knowing that doing the next right thing will help individuals thrive while also creating a positive impact that is beyond the contribution of any one person.

Jim’s upbeat generosity recently expanded into the Rockford community. Jim learned that some of his children’s friends were being cared for by older siblings while their parents worked night shifts at a nearby plant. An avid griller, Jim invited the neighborhood kids for a Friday evening barbecue, and they all loved it. Every other Friday evening throughout the summer, Jim set up his grill, lawn chairs and tables in the front yard, and up to 35 young people, ages 6 – 20, gathered for hamburgers and hot dogs. Read more →

An Evolving Kitchen


In a tidy brick industrial complex in Downers Grove, Egg Harbor Café’s biggest kitchen is set up to dice, mix and bake large batches of consistently delicious signature foods. This new commissary began providing local Egg Harbor Café’s with prepared jams, dressings, salsas and more in August 2015. A refrigerated truck distributes the food to 16 EHC restaurants four nights of the week. Graham Hallen directs commissary operations with the goal of using the best ingredients available, maintaining premium standards and safeguarding great values, while providing a growing number of Egg Harbor Café menu favorites to our local kitchens.

On a Friday morning after the week’s last delivery has rolled out, the commissary sparkles. Touring the kitchen, Graham points out an industrial Combi oven, a large jam dispenser, supersized mixers and other equipment that ensure optimal efficiency and quality. Graham has developed innovative systems for producing consistently excellent foods in large quantities. Mayonnaise and spice mixtures are automated, for example, while chicken is hand-tossed into salads. Early learning stages were not without a few bumps. On one day, an oven stopped working; the next day, a dicing machine decided to shred. Summer intern David Mospan recalls, “Each day of planning brought new opportunities for solving problems. We always found a way to make things work that fit into Graham’s commitment to Egg Harbor Café’s vision.”

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Cheers to Chicagoland Beverage


Today we raise our coffee cups in a toast to CBC Specialty Beverage, Egg Harbor Café’s longtime partner in providing guests with the finest coffees and teas available. Chicagoland Beverage (CBC) regularly delivers fresh batches of custom-blended Intelligentsia coffee to our restaurants, and their highly-skilled service team installs and maintains the specialized equipment that brew our beverages. CBC also provides premium quality and service for our China Mist iced teas, Tiesta hot teas and hot chocolates.

Steve and Emily Gorelik co-founded CBC Specialty Beverage in 1989 and continue to head up the company, which now manages coffee and tea programs across 32 states. Recently, Steve talked about the consistently fresh and delicious coffee that Egg Harbor Café pours every day. It begins with Intelligentsia’s premium quality Direct Trade coffee, he shared. “When you buy an Intelligentsia Direct Trade coffee, you are doing more than fair trade. A Direct Trade partnership is one that is committed to the best environmental and social practices and ultimately leads to the very best in the cup. It rewards coffee growers for making great coffee.” With warehouses located just blocks from each other in Chicago, Intelligentsia delivers fresh coffee daily to CBC, who then distribute the product with loving care, treating it “like it is fresh-baked bread.”

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