Karyn’s Vegan Eatery Turns to Crowdfunding to Persevere
Vegan restaurant and market Karyn’s, located at 1901 North Halsted Street, in Lincoln Park, for 17 years, is facing difficult times, and owner Karyn Calabrese has launched a GoFundMe (GoFundMe.com/savekaryns) campaign to raise $300,000. The goal is to cover back rent and building taxes at the Halsted location, as well as to pay vendors so that she can keep the shelves stocked for customers. The 7,500-square-foot space includes a bistro, market, juice bar and beauty center dedicated to holistic health. Calabrese credits the abundant generosity of the landlord of the property for her being able to maintain the business up to this point. Other Karyn’s locations were not so fortunate; the restaurant on Green has closed permanently and Cooked relocated to the Halsted location due to an exorbitant rent increase.
Two years ago, the entire Halsted building was affected by fire, and the spa was destroyed entirely; Calabrese says it took everything she had—both personally and professionally—to rebuild, and the business was closed for a year during renovations.
Calabrese has been teaching Chicagoans about the benefits of holistic health for more than 30 years. Due in part to her years of education about and promotion of the benefits of clean living, the Chicago vegan community has blossomed, and this is reflected in the influx of stores servicing those particular needs.
The beauty center offers everything from detoxification and cleansing programs to infrared saunas and colon hydrotherapy. Customers that have enjoyed her food and/or spa services include celebrities such as Angela Bassett, Orlando Jones, Lady Gaga, Boy George, Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé. Calabrese says she wants to show young women that they can get a different outcome with different choices other than what mainstream culture says is the answer.