CHICAGO — A graduate of Yale and Harvard Law, Emily Groden’s life changed when watching Netflix’s “Chef’s Table” feature on Chicago’s Alinea. Inspired by the business philosophy at Alinea, Groden cold-emailed owner Nick Kokonas to inquire about the need for a lawyer. That emailed landed her the job as the General Counsel of the hospitality brand Alinea Group.
A few years into her tenure with the Alinea Group, Groden adopted the constant questioning of the status quo and the pushing of boundaries that Alinea prides itself in. Inspired by that motto and a podcast, Groden wanted to take on the frozen breakfast industry. She did so by taking her lifelong passion for food into a full-time endeavor.
“I was expecting my first daughter at the time and knew I was going to need to feed her a frozen waffle as a working mom,” she said. “I realized much of what was available were not great options – inspiring me to come up with a better option.”
Wanting to feed her daughter a better breakfast meal, she enlisted her husband as “taste tester” and after about a year of at-home testing, Groden developed a clean recipe from scratch. With that, she created Evergreen Waffles. Made with 100 percent whole wheat and flavored only with real fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices, it leaves refined sugars, dairy and preservatives on the cutting room floor.
Groden’s first attempt at retail success was a hit, landing a spot at Whole Foods. Now has her product stocked throughout the country. The success led her to “retire” from law at Alinea Group and run Evergreen full-time.
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