Apr 1, 2022 - Things to Do

Best Day Ever: Lifeway Kefir's Julie Smolyansky

Woman with kefir
Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky. Photo courtesy of Lifeway Foods

Julie Smolyansky took over her family's Lifeway Kefir business at 27 and has grown the Morton Grove-based company into an international empire of probiotic deliciousness.

  • A native of Ukraine, the CEO signed up Lifeway to be the main sponsor of the recent Chicago Chefs Cook for Ukraine. Many dishes there featured her cheese and kefir.
  • As a longtime Chicagoan and wellness, food, and music fan, Smolyansky seemed like an ideal person to tell us about a perfect Saturday in Chicago.

🐶 Morning: "I usually make myself some coffee and read the newspaper. I like to take my dog Marley for a long walk to Lincoln Park and the lakefront for a swim."

☕️ Lunch: "I usually skip lunch and snack mid-day because I like to make dinner the primary fun meal. Sipping on kefir is a must and keeps me satisfied."

📖 Afternoon: "Ideally I want to be perched in the sun with a good novel and some 1960s jazz music playing softly in my ear. I’m currently reading “Our Woman In Moscow” by Beatriz Williams and I can't put it down."

🍽 Dinner: "Almost impossible to pick. I LOVE going out to dinner. In the summer, my very favorite is Piccolo Sogno. That fairytale garden is a gem, a city treasure."

  • "I live within walking distance of Boka and love Prairie Grass Cafe. I beg my way to one of the 2 outdoor tables at Boka and always order anything with heirloom tomatoes."
  • "All other seasons, Lula Cafe is on my very frequent hit list as well as Parachute. But the list is so long."

🎸 Evening activity: "Ideally any live music. I love the foundation room at House of Blues, but Aragon, Metro, the Riv, Vic, a headliner at Wrigley or United Center, all make my heart skip a beat."

  • "If Pearl Jam or Eddie Vedder is playing I am especially in heaven — I stopped counting how many times I've seen them after 60 shows."
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