Vegan Restaurant Up for Grabs Via Essay Contest

If you’ve always dreamed of being a restaurateur, the fantasy might be as close as your keyboard. One lucky wordsmith will become the proud owner of a vegan eatery in Illinois, all based on the ability to write a persuasive essay.

The current owners of Borrowed Earth Café, Kathy and Danny Living, decided to give away their restaurant through an essay competition after hearing about a bed and breakfast owner in Maine who launched a similar effort.

The duo has decided to pursue careers in music therapy and instead of selling the spot, wanted to choose someone who might not otherwise have the monetary resources to pursue his or her dream.

The entry fee is $125, and participants are asked to write an essay (200 words or less) in answer to the statement: Why I would like to own a restaurant.

dannyandkathy1“Our favorite part of Borrowed Earth Cafe has been getting to be together all day long,” the Livings tell Latest Vegan News. “The whole reason we started the cafe was we were looking for a job that we could do together. One of us worked in IT and one of us sold custom homes, but we both loved having people over to share food. The restaurant’s real purpose was to allow us to be together and support ourselves.”

It’s worth noting that the cafe reportedly has an excellent reputation. It was featured on “Check, Please!”, awarded five stars by Metromix, and earned the recommendation of the Michelin guide in 2012, 2013, and 2014, the contest website states.

“For anyone who is interested in running a restaurant, we would say, embrace all the tasks, from cleaning the toilets to creating a new dish, all of the tasks make the whole, not just the seemingly glamorous parts, as some of the deepest of life’s meanings can be discovered in the mundane,” say the Livings.

The prize, in its entirety, includes the following:

“The winner of the essay contest will get a ready-to-run café space to create their own dream restaurant, with 30 seats inside and 20 seats outside on the patio during the warm months a busy downtown location a stone’s throw from the historic Tivoli Theater and right by the Metra train line to Chicago and up to $5,000 cash to help them in the transition.”

All entries must be received by on or before August 1, 2015, and the winner will be announced on or before August 20, 2015. After accepting, the winner will have 30 days to take over. To enter the contest, check out the rules and info online. 

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Hannah Sentenac, Editor-in-Chief

Hannah Sentenac, Editor-in-Chief

A wizard of words, lover of all living things and vegan mac 'n cheese master, Hannah is the Editor-In-Chief and Founder of Her writing has appeared in Live Happy magazine, the Miami New Times,,, and numerous other publications and websites. She's obsessed with Cocowhip, Just Mayo and Dandies marshmallows, and is totally addicted to the outdoors. You can reach Hannah directly at

3 Responses

  1. Cory Ann Martinez says:

    I would love to apply but I cannot afford the entry fee 🙁

  2. Sean says:

    Intriguing! I’ll look into it. It sounds like a big responsibility 🙂

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