John Meyer, Chef/Owner of BJ’s Market & Bakery, graduated from Chicago State University in 1987 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at Washburne Trade School in Chicago where he was classically trained in French-American cuisine. After graduation, he worked at the prestigious University Club of Chicago to hone his culinary skills. After gaining invaluable experience at the University Club, Chef Meyer committed himself to opening a white tablecloth restaurant on Chicago’s South Side. Established in 1992, The Retreat Restaurant was housed in a renovated Victorian mansion in the historical Pullman area. Its vast popularity was attributed to delicious fare (ranging from classical French to traditional American cuisine), fine service and elegant atmosphere. John operated The Retreat Restaurant for seven years.
In his continued quest to provide quality food service establishments to his community, John’s second venture combined an upscale atmosphere, comfort food, and great customer service. The result was BJ’s Market & Bakery. Opened in May 1997, BJ’s Market has been acclaimed by several food critics and was named one of the “Top Ten Restaurants in Chicago” by WLS-TV food critic James Ward.