Trueman: Serving up prepared foods

By Jake Krzeczowski For Pioneer Press June 5, 2012 2:02PM

Story ImageFour years ago Jon Trueman took a leap of faith. With a job in real estate he watched as the bottom fell out on the housing market in 2008 and decided it was time to try something different. Without any formal training, he started a catering company with his surname: Trueman.

With little capital or resources to make his food initially, Trueman, a native of Winnetka, turned to the community for help.

Using kitchens lent to him by friends in the Winnetka and the surrounding area to churn out his gourmet entrees for local graduation parties and cocktail soirees, Trueman built a loyal following.

That eventually resulted in a storefront at 745 Elm Street, which he opened a year ago next month.

“I’m not a restaurant, we provide food you would get at a restaurant, but that you can bring home,” Trueman said. “As it relates to catering, however, we do just about anything. With summer coming up we’ll do a lot of outdoor casual parties and whatnot.”

The store features one round wooden table set between coolers of fresh food ready to order, and a line of chalkboards featuring the week’s daily specials. While he has certain staples, the majority of his menu is always changing.

“I have fixed items that are always here,” said Trueman who sends out a weekly “email blast” to announce the changes. “I’ve also got four kids and my wife works. With everyone on different schedules I’m always thinking about what to feed my kids to mix it up, which is the essence of keeping the menu different”

That family vibe does not end at the planning stage either. Almost every person who walks through the doors of Trueman knows the owner and is greeted with a friendly hello.

As one woman enters the eatery, Trueman stands up and immediately apologizes, he is out of the buffalo chicken sauce she wants. He offers to drop it off as soon as it is made that afternoon and quickly scribbles a note to remind himself.

On a table near the register is a table full of what goods not prepared by him.

“The best owner makes sure to feature several items made by those in the community.

“It is because of how others helped me when I was first starting out that I outsource some of my desserts. The same way someone helped me, if I can do something to help someone else I’m going to do that,” he said.

Trueman is almost completely hands on, overseeing the entire process of making and delivering the food to his customers.

“Before we cater an event I tend to sit down with the clients and talk through some ideas,” Trueman said. “That discussion creates a specialized menu that they have taken part in and helped create.”

Trueman is the quintessential community eatery, leaning on those around them while providing it’s residents with quality service and food at a competitive price.

“There’s people out there who are classically trained and can create a beautiful something or another,” Trueman said. “ But I don’t think there’s anyone out there that can throw a better party with food and fun than if you’re working with me.”

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