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In the Kitchen with Kingsbury Street Cafe

Led by a family of strong female culinarians, this cafe is not-to-miss

From food TV show hosts and judges to executive chefs, to owners and operators of restaurants, women are a culinary force to be reckoned with. Monique Duong Mark, General Manager of Kingsbury Street Cafe {1523 North Kingsbury Street, Chicago; 312.280.1718}, is one such force. Partnered with her mother, Hoa Dong, the two opened the family restaurant in September of 2011 with the goal of presenting breakfast and lunch options that are both tasty and healthy. Here, Monique gives us a peek into their family kitchen …

DiningOut: How did you two decide to go into business together? 

Monique Duong Mark: Our family has always been in the baking business. I’ve always felt like I was my mother’s unofficial business partner. Together, we felt there was a need for a good breakfast and brunch restaurant in the neighborhood, which led to Kingsbury Street Cafe. 

How do you concept your menus and the overall feel of the restaurant?  

Most of the time our concepts revolve around seasonal influences. I especially love our burgers, salads, and weekly brunch items! I just want my customers to feel very comfortable while enjoying a healthy, tasty meal with friendly service.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?  

The best part is meeting and befriending new customers. The toughest part, though, is the time commitment it takes to operate a restaurant.

How would you describe the Chicago food community?  

Chicago has become a major player in the international food scene. We can offer the best of everything here.

What does it mean to be a woman as a part of that community?  

More and more women are being recognized internationally for their talents. It is an exciting time to be a woman as a part of the Chicago food community. As Chicago is becoming more and more recognized internationally for its fine restaurants, the spotlight has been on the young and innovative chefs, many of which are women.

The number of women joining the culinary world is growing. Why do you think that is?  

Because as a woman, it is no longer impossible to become the head of a successful kitchen or restaurant.

What advice do you have for future female chefs or restaurateurs?  

Make sure you love what you do and things will always work out for the best!

By Kaleigh Glaza, Online Editor