John Meyer Biography
Chef/Owner John Meyer is a graduate of Chicago State University and Washburne Trade School’s Culinary Arts Program where he was classically trained in French-American cuisine. He worked at the prestigious University Club of Chicago to hone his culinary skills and committed himself to opening a white tablecloth restaurant on Chicago’s South Side. Operated 1992 through 1999, The Retreat Restaurant was housed in a renovated Victorian mansion in the historical Pullman area. Its popularity was attributed to delicious fare (ranging from classical French to traditional American cuisine), fine service and an elegant atmosphere.
In his continued quest to provide quality foodservice establishments to his community, John’s second venture combined an upscale atmosphere, comfort food and great customer service. Opened in May 1997, BJ’s Market & Bakery has been acclaimed by several food critics and was named one of the “Top Ten Restaurants in Chicago” by WLS-TV food critic James Ward. John opened a second location at 79th and Racine in July 2004. There is also a location at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Since opening, BJ’s Market has increased its service to include catering, delivery, Meals on Wheels and Walgreen’s Fresh Foods program.
Chef Meyer was honored with the distinction of being appointed the first African-American Chairman for the Illinois Restaurant Association.
BJ’s Market & Bakery participates in The Taste of Chicago, The Chicago Blues Festival, Lollapalooza and other seasonal festivals every year. John’s future plans include opening BJ’s Market & Bakeries throughout the Chicagoland area, providing franchise opportunities throughout the United States and opening a food production facility to support satellite operations.