AGE: 41. LIVES IN: Northbrook. CLAIM TO FAME: Founder of Jar Bar (1350 Shermer, Northbrook), opening in May. ON THE RECORD: Before she owned a restaurant, Firsel was a producer for MSNBC and CNN in New York, and then for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in Chicago. When the show came to an end, she moved to the suburbs to start a family … and that’s where the concept for Jar Bar was born. LADIES WHO LUNCH: The idea hatched when she hosted her 40th birthday party. A group of 15 friends rented out a spa for mani-pedis, and Firsel was in charge of the food. “I ended up making mason jar salads because I thought, ‘How can I have these girls eat while they’re getting pedicures?’ ” The jars were a hit, and soon enough, word spread and orders started coming in. THE CONCEPT: Created in partnership with her husband Adam, a real-estate developer, the 30-seat restaurant serves up fresh, nutrient-dense meals in 12- to 32-ounce mason jars with vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options. Customers have their pick of items like “Gisele Probably Eats This,” made with acai, chia seeds, bananas, blueberry compote and mango, and Firsel’s favorite, “The Un-Caesar,” with kale, cashew dressing, sunflower seeds and roasted tomatoes. Out-of-the-jar offerings include sandwiches, oatmeal and kids options served in a bento box. SWEET FINISH: Though the eatery is based on clean eating, it does offer one indulgence: made-to-order rainbow-colored cake jars (pictured), with your choice of flavors — from dark chocolate to banana and cinnamon — and fillings, like peanut butter buttercream and mocha ganache.
Photos by DS Shin; shot on location at Jar Bar