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Restaurant Spotlight: Ina’s in Chicago

Ina Pinkney, the Breakfast Queen of Chicago, is a huge supporter and a great friend of Safest Choice. Recently, she kindly invited us and thirty of our registered dietitian friends to her comfortable and bright restaurant, Ina’s, in the trendy West Loop neighborhood of Chicago.

The spread she prepared for our group of dietitians was amazingly delicious. The vegetable Frittata, baked French toast with apples, chicken sausage, fresh fruit, coffee and juice were phenomenal. In addition, Ina served a special dish to showcase Safest Choice eggs. Everyone was served an individual corn arepa topped with black beans, cheese, pico de gallo, and a sunny side up egg.  She chose this recipe because she would only feel comfortable serving an undercooked egg dish with our pasteurized shell eggs.

the arepa dish

Ina started serving and promoting our safe eggs two years ago when she realized how many pregnant women, seniors, people with compromised immune systems and children were enjoying her breakfast every morning. She knew about the risk of salmonella and eggs, but didn’t want anyone to experience being denied having eggs exactly they way they wanted.

After way too much food (if there is such a thing) and an insightful speech from Dr. Jim Painter, I got the chance to sit and talk with Ina.  Her restaurant has been in the West Loop neighborhood for ten years. By picking that location Ina can provide free parking, and is at the source of fresh food, with many produce, fish and meat markets within blocks.

After a few minutes with Ina you can tell what a passionate and fearless person she is. In fact, Ina lead the smoking ban, first in Chicago and then all of Illinois, and was the first restaurant in Chicago to switch to trans fat-free canola oil. She used to skydive, has been a news anchor for a day, has a beautiful collection of orchids, and has the most remarkable story of surviving polio as a toddler.

So what’s next for Ina? Continuing to work for the organization she co-founded, The Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op, which is committed to providing professional procurement services in support of increasing the type and volume of sustainable products and services purchased by restaurants and other businesses in the Chicago area.

Currently she is running to be the short-term Senator of Illinois. The term would be for two months beginning November 3 and Ina would support Sen. Durbin’s bill to give the FDA more power to recall contaminated food and would vote to end the filibuster. She is promoting herself by word-of-mouth only – no money will be accepted – so support her with your vote!