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Cookies & Carnitas To Re-Open Soon, Owner Considers Future Restaurants In Edgewater

Owner Bad Newman (left) soon after the opening of the restaurant.

To say that Brad Newman, the owner of Cookies and Carnitas at 5759 N. Broadway, has a diversified plan for his business is a pretty accurate statement. Well known for the delicious farm-to-table  food at his Edgewater restaurant and multiple farmer’s market booths including Green City Market, Newman has worked to build a quality reputation.

However, many loyal patrons were surprised to hear that Cookies and Carnitas had temporarily closed back in September. That prompted his fans to take to social media hoping them a speedy return. However, that re-opening is taking a little longer than expected.

Newman has put a large focus on his school lunch programs at Sacred Heart School and Bennet Day School. Those programs, though a passion for him, are proving to be a lot of work. But it was his mother’s recent cancer battle and subsequent death earlier this month that caused him to shut the doors for a bit of time.

“We got to a point where I was running the restaurant because I needed an employee to work at one of the schools instead. Before you knew it I was working seven days a week (at the retail store) and my mom was sick in a hospital,” said Newman. “We never wanted to close down, but my mom was dying.”

But Newman, along with his business partner Christine Lee, promise that Cookies and Carnitas will open again once they can work out the staffing issues at the restaurant. Hopefully soon after the new year. But until then, he is putting his all into the school lunch programs.

“This is not what I was expecting to do. I went to culinary school and started to work for the best of the best,” Newman added. “But at the schools, what we are doing is truly amazing by teaching people how to eat better. We can change these kid’s minds and help them eat smarter by slowly introducing things to them.”

According to Newman, their unique school plan cuts the food costs while keeping his employee’s wages high. They also have a more simplistic way of billing by offering schools a set price per meal for every student (which includes additional helpings if so desired). Everything is included in that price, meaning no additional charges to the schools. But mostly, the food is made fresh including items like salad dressings, potato chips and even their own chicken stock – all from scratch. At sacred Heart alone, just over half of the kids and about 40% of the faculty opt into the Cookies and Carnitas meals.

“Right now I’m challenged and a little over my head – but in a good way,” Newman said. “I’m hoping to continue to grow. Anybody who has walked into Cookies and Carnitas can tell that it is a shoestring. People love it. Not only will we eventually re-open the restaurant, but we will also be opening up new stuff in the area, staying local to Edgewater.”

Newman admits that the growing school lunch program gets little attention while his small retail store continually receives rave reviews. It’s an ego stroke that he embraces, so he is eager to open the doors of Cookies and Carnitas again soon.

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