karyn with greens
If you’re from Chicago and you’re into food, chances are, you’ve heard of Karyn. Being born and raised in the Windy City, I’ve sorta known of her businesses because they’ve come up in many conversations. I’ve always sorta known that she was the Black lady who had vegan and raw food restaurants ‘Up North’ – that’s the North Side of Chicago. With today’s push for a healthier lifestyle, you’d think her establishments were doing well. Our dear Karyn’s got quite a list of accolades for her work.

According to her Wikipedia page, she has three restaurants under her belt. One has closed. One of her restaurants, Karyn’s on Green, is apparently the top-rated vegan restaurant in all of the Windy City. One of her other restaurants, Karyn’s Raw Bistro is the longest standing gourmet raw food restaurant in the United States. Why, during Beyonce’s huge vegan announcement, it’s alleged that the singer dined at one of Karyn’s restaurants. This is quite a list of impressive accolades.

According to a few recent stories, videos, and social media posts, it seems the visceral vegan is having a hard time keeping things sprouted. We’ve done a little research and we’ve summarized our findings below. We wish her well and hope she’s able to find her footing and bounce back.

Let’s run down the timeline:

October, 2012: Karyn’s Raw Bistro temporarily closes due to electrical fire and is under investigation

February, 2015: Karyn’s on Green closes¬†after 5 years in business.

December, 2015: Karyn need $300K to stay in business – starts a GoFundMe

Today, December 11, 2015: We learn of 3 lawsuits against the vegan lifestyle enthusiast along with a bevy of other informational tidbits (no pun intended) from an ex-employee.

We’ll break them down here:

  • It’s alleged that when Karyn’s On Green closed in March 2015, they owed $112,097.84 in back rent payments. The suit alleges that Karyn and her husband failed to make the $9,566.82 per month in rent payments between September 2014 and August 2015. The filing is posted below.


  • It’s alleged that although Karyn’s on Green closed, that didn’t stop a customer with a disability and bound to a wheelchair from filing suit for $30K in damages. Apparently, he visited the location and the establishment failed to adhere to ADA accessibility regulations.


  • It’s also alleged that this past summer, Karyn and her husband were served by the Park Astor Condominium Association for $15,933.96 over failure to pay their assessment, late fees, and other charges for 2 units in the building. According to court records, a judge ruled in favor of the association.


  • Lastly, there’s this Facebook post…take a look for yourself.

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Images from the filed complaint:








  1. Ok…! The point you’re making in your post is? I’m not from Chicago nor am I familar with Karyn restaurants. Darius I began following you because without a doubt you’re a great cook! Keep in mind when you slander (whether true or not) and walk through the mud you will get dirty. As a fan of yours’ I’m totally turned off. Stick to cooking brother. Leave the drama for the birds.

  2. Actually, I’m glad all the details are out there. I’m from Chicago and I think it’s important that people understand the restaurant landscape. Food gives us sustenance, but it also nurtures that soul. When someone is out there purporting to serve food that nurtures the soul and be healthy, I want to know if there’s some shenanigans going on. Especially when they begin to crowdfund a restaurant that can’t stand on it’s own. So Darius, thank you for all the details. And keep up the great work with this site. Love it!

  3. Wow! This makes me cook at home, a lot more…poor business management, lack of professionalism, cleanliness and unethical. Ewww just gross. Thanks for sharing Darius