32 | February 16, 2017 | The tinley junction Dining Out tinleyjunction.com The Dish Vegan Cafe owner perseveres to run restaurant Homer resident continues to find purpose with business Erin Redmond, Assistant Editor About 10 years ago, Marguerite Baltages-Ruminski was staring death in the face. Her corporate job, she told her husband, was going to kill her emotionally, spiritually or physically. She knew she had to get out. So, she traded her cubicle for kitchenware and started her own catering business, Healthy Sins. Fast forward five years to the night the Homer Glen resident and her husband dropped into the Vegan Cafe, 928 S. State St., Lockport, for dinner. As she was dining on the surprisingly scrumptious cuisine, a light bulb went off in Baltages-Ruminski’s head. She found out the cafe offered classes and decided to take a few as a way to expand her catering business. But when she found out the cafe was volunteer-based, it was game over. “I love to volunteer; I started volunteering so much that [then owner] Laurie Sloan approached me and said, ‘Do you want to buy it?,’ Marguerite Baltages- Ruminski said. “I looked at her and said, ‘Are you nuts?’ ... Next thing I knew, I was signing the [paperwork].” Ruminski still had her doubts, however. As she waited for Sloan to arrive the morning on Sept. 1, 2013, she asked her late father, who also owned a restaurant when she was growing up, for a sign she was doing the right thing. And then she heard the train whistle. “It’s 9 o’clock in the morning,” she said, looking skyward and noting her The Vegan Cafe also serves ravioli. The noodles are topped with marina sauce made from re-hydrated sundried tomatoes. It is served on the lunch special menu, which ranges from $10-$13 and runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. father’s old restaurant was a half-block from the train station. “The train never goes by at 9 o’clock in the morning. It blew its horn, and I went, ‘OK, I got it. I never looked back.’” A new era Ruminski loved the cafe so much when she bought it that she did not want to change much — but she had to put her spin on it. The artwork on the walls and some of the traditional recipes remain the same, but she has introduced items like the Salisbury “steak” ($17.95; $13 lunch special), which is made of walnuts, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and onions and topped with a creamy — yet cream-less — mushroom gravy. The lunch special is served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday- Friday and includes a half order of any entree, a garden salad with choice of garlic ginger or ranch dressing and brownie bite ($10-$13). The creamy Alfredo pasta dish ($14.95 for small, $19.95 for large) is hands down Ruminski’s favorite, however. The pasta consists Vegan Cafe 928 S. State Street in Lockport Hours • 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday • 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday- Saturday • Sunday: closed, available for private parties For more information... Web: www.rawvegancafe. org Phone: (815) 838-4626 of spiral cut zucchini noodles and the sauce is simply cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, herbs and traditional yeast, which gives it the cheesy flavor. It’s all topped with marinated mushrooms. “This is my absolute favorite,” Ruminski said. “When I tried this, I could not believe it didn’t have cream in it.” As the owner of a vegan cafe, Ruminski said she is often faced with apprehension. Because of that, she tries to have something for everyone. When carnivores The Salisbury “steak” ($17.95) is made of walnuts, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and onions with a cascading mushroom gravy on top. The lunch special ($13), seen here, also comes with a garden salad and brownie bites. Photos by Erin Redmond/22nd Century Media stroll through her door and take a seat at the leaf-shaped tables, she recommends the nachos. The taco “meat” is three simple ingredients: almonds, sun-dried tomatoes and Mexican seasoning. It’s piled high atop non-GMO, organic, raw, vegan and gluten-free corn chips that are made in house. Guacamole from organic avocados, nacho drizzle — made of sunflower seeds and turmeric give it a yellow hue — and a cashew, lemon juice and olive oil blended sour “cream” sauce tie it all together. “This is the healthiest you will eat anywhere, any time,” Ruminski said. “I tell people to be open-minded and try it. I’ve had people go, ‘I’m afraid,’ and I go, ‘It’s food; there’s nothing to be afraid of.’ It’s not for everybody, and I know that. That’s OK.” And Ruminski will not let you leave with trying dessert. Hearty but healthy, Ruminski offers desserts such as brownies, macaroons and the cafe’s signature almond butter pie ($8 per slice), made from almond butter that is ground on-site and mixed with bananas and cinnamon, stuffed into a date and pecan crust and slathered with chocolate ganache. “I always say, ‘You have to try the desserts; that’s going to put you over the edge,’” she said. On a mission Ruminski’s interest in healthy foods did not happen by accident, and her mission is twofold — get healthier and give back. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nearly 20 years ago, and when her doctor told her that her numbers were “off the charts,” she knew it was time to make a change. She admits that she’s still a “transitioning” vegan. She also has a nut allergy, so sticking to her new diet can be tricky at times. Her restrictive eating requirements have inspired new dressings, such as the pumpkin seed cheese, made of pumpkin seeds, cilantro, garlic and ginger, so that others like her can enjoy what the cafe has to offer. “As soon as I decided to go into this wholeheartedly, I feel so much different and so much better,” she said. “I don’t need a nap after I eat now.” The Vegan Cafe was a nonprofit when she bought it and while she tried to uphold its status, Ruminski said she is doing “the next best thing.” All employees went from volunteers to paid employees, but she does not collect a salary. Instead, everything goes back to charities such as MorningStar Mission to help the homeless and animal rescues like TLC Animal Shelter. “Honestly, that’s why I do it,” Ruminski said. “I got to a point in my life where I’m like ‘let’s have some fun’ — and it is. I love this ... I wake up in the morning with a purpose.”
tinleyjunction.com Puzzles the tinley junction | February 16, 2017 | 33 crosstown CROSSWORD & Sudoku The crosstowns: Frankfort, Homer Glen, Lockport, Mokena, New Lenox, Orland Park, Tinley Park Crossword by Myles Mellor and Cindy LaFleur Across 1. “Wanted” poster word 6. Mister 9. Forgo 13. Center of activity 14. Port 16. Cash register part 17. Open and observable 18. Prince Charles’ sport 19. Priests’ robes 20. Tinley Park HS girl’s basketball star 22. Ink stain 23. Towel holder 24. Canary colors 26. Stew ingredient 30. ___ if I care! 31. Dry Spanish libation 32. Paella pot 34. Cement 38. Muslim religious leader 39. Says indistinctly 41. Distinctive air 42. Australian cockatoo 44. Prayer ending 45. Chinese dynasty 46. Heart 48. Tinley Park bar and grill 50. Shacks 54. Money records inspector 55. Reverse 56. U.S. composer, Arnold 62. Flowers, for short 63. Gunky buildup 64. Motherless calf 65. Canal 66. In fine fettle 67. Decree 68. NBA team 69. 76 product 70. Work areas Down 1. Run ___ (go wild) 2. Monetary unit of Bulgaria 3. Summer coolers 4. Small field 5. Dionysian attendants 6. Tropical evergreen that is the source of chicle gum 7. Show won by Jordin Sparks in 2007, familiarly 8. Track event 9. Horse’s neighbor 10. Hunting call 11. Guitar stroke 12. Cozy homes 15. Hour, canonical 21. Things you don’t do 25. Floral necklace 26. Type of cotton 27. Detail-oriented, to say the least 28. Italians’ capital smelling apparatuses 29. Vertical 31. Whit 33. Phone-number intros 35. Uplift 36. Coastal raptors 37. U.N. Secretary-General Hammarskjold 40. Shoot from a distance 43. Temporary beach residence 47. “Garden of Earthly Delights” artist 49. Hit the dirt? 50. Light measure 51. Accustom (to) 52. Fess up to 53. Scrawny person 57. Maui dance 58. Foreshadow 59. Athena’s shield 60. Star-crossed lover in ‘’Casablanca’’ 61. Accumulates How to play Sudoku Each sudoku puzzle consists of a 9x9 grid that has been subdivided into nine smaller grids of 3x3 squares. To solve the puzzle, each row, column and box must contain each of the numbers 1 to 9. LEVEL: Medium Sudoku by Myles Mellor and Susan Flanagan answers TINLEY PARK Bailey’s Bar & Grill (17731 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park; (708) 429- 7955) ■9 ■ p.m. Wednesdays: Karaoke ■7 ■ p.m. Tuesdays: Trivia ■10 ■ p.m. Fridays: DJ Dance Party ■9:30 ■ p.m. Saturdays: Live Music Cuzins Bar (177th and Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park; (708) 633- 1144) ■Wednesdays: ■ Live Rock Band Karaoke ■Saturdays: ■ Live Music Durbin’s (17265 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park; (708) 429- 1000) ■9-11 ■ p.m. Tuesdays: Open Mic ■9 ■ p.m. Wednesdays: Karaoke ■8-10 ■ p.m. Thursdays: Live music by Miguel Garza ■Fridays ■ and Saturdays: DJ Dance Party until 3 a.m. Ed & Joe’s Restaurant & Pizzeria (17332 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park; (708) 532- 3051) ■7:30 ■ p.m. Tuesdays: Team Trivia Intimo Lounge (7068 183rd St., Tinley Park; (708) 444-4470) ■Wednesdays: ■ Live music featuring Justin Griffen JW Hollstein’s Saloon (17358 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park; (708) 429- 7000) ■10 ■ p.m. Thursdays: DJ ■9:30 ■ p.m. Fridays and Saturdays: Live entertainment ■9 ■ p.m. Mondays: Karaoke Tinley Park Bowl (7601 183rd St., Tinley Park; (708) 532-2955) ■10 ■ p.m.-1 a.m. Wednesdays: Cosmic Bowl To place an event in The Scene, email Assistant Editor Brittany Kapa at b.kapa@22ndcenturymedia. com.