Yes, there really was an Ann Sather.
In the 1940s, a vivacious career woman named Ann Sather decided that what she really wanted to do was own and run a restaurant. Her restaurant. A place where people could come for generous homemade meals, warm hospitality and know the moment they came in the door they went from being a customer to becoming a friend.
So, in 1945, when the Swedish owners of a restaurant located on Belmont decided to retire, Ann quit her job of 22 years, pooled her life savings and bought herself a diner known today as Ann Sather Restaurant.
For 35 years Ann ran the diner herself. Her devotion to wholesome, made-from-scratch food, low prices, friendly service and hard work became legendary in the Lakeview neighborhood and beyond.
In 1981, after searching for a successor who would meet her stringent demands for quality and remain devoted to her patrons, Ann sold the restaurant to Tom Tunney, a 24-year-old graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Tom apprenticed with Ann for a year learning the business from top to bottom. Armed with culinary training, Tom, the son of Irish immigrants who grew up on Chicago’s Southside, was learning all of the best Scandinavian cooking secrets in town.
Although Ann Sather sadly passed away in 1996, her spirit still prevails in the “good food, good friends and good conversation” philosophy that has made her restaurants famous. She still looks over us all from her portrait hanging in the dining room.
During the last 35 years, Tom has expanded the business to include the most famous cinnamon rolls and breakfast in town, two additional restaurants and Ann Sather Corporate and Special Event Catering, which is well-known for its corporate and special events, banquets, business breakfasts and lunches and special deliveries.
Ann Sather Corporate and Special Event Catering
In addition to our three dine-in locations, Ann Sather has a catering team dedicated to ensuring our “good food” philosophy is carried through our corporate catering services and special event dining. In addition to our outstanding dine-in selections of Swedish comfort food, our catering menu includes special items from hors d’oeuvres to entrees to dessert and an outstanding, trained staff to serve them. Additionally, our flagship location on Belmont and our cafés are available for private catered events both during the day and at night for groups of 50 or more.
Click here for menus and more information.
Serving the Community
For many years, Ann Sather Restaurants also has been instrumental in serving the community with its generous support of local organizations and causes. As Tom says: "Good businesses are good to their communities.”
As we celebrate our 70th anniversary, Ann Sather and her restaurant are legendary and Tom not only serves good food, but also serves the 44th Ward as its Alderman. But even with his busy schedule, Tom is the heart of the Ann Sather family, so don’t be surprised to have him greet you at the door or find him cooking breakfast orders on Sundays.
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