Thank you Woodstock!
"It takes a village..." I have been in my little Cafe On the Square in Woodstock, Illinois, for more than five years!
It has been a difficult time to start a business. Never having been in business, much less the food business, I had a steep learning curve. There were many moments when I had to consider the possibility that Expressly Leslie Vegetarian Specialties might not survive. Yet...here we are, not only here, but growing daily.
This year our customers honored us by naming us "Best Vegetarian Dining" in McHenry County in the Readers' Choice Awards of the Northwest Herald!
Yes, we always try to offer good food and smiling faces to our customers, but I have to say there is something special about my customers! Woodstock is a unique place, a real community centered by the Square, and the support of this community has been the driving force behind our staying power. Woodstock, you inspire us. Thank you!
Every Day at Expressly Leslie
Every day is Falafel Day at Expressly Leslie's! Our Falafel are gluten free as are most of our other foods. We offer sixteen salads every day, all made fresh on-site. You can combine them in any way you'd like on a plate or in a pita pocket, with or without Falafel.
In addition, we offer three soups, including Red Lentil Soup and Veggie Chili as well as a Soup of the Day.
Our Soups of the Day and Daily Specials bring variety to the menu.
Twisted Omelets (wrapped in Lebanese pita) have been a huge hit and are now a regular Special on Farmer's Market Days.
Be sure you sign onto my email list so you can keep up with all our news. I send weekly emails with the Soup Schedule and Daily Specials as well as who's performing Friday evening, special events and more. You can use the link in the left navigation column of this page, the link in my Facebook page -- or sign onto the list in the cafe.
We Cater! Remember us when you're planning your special event, office party or meeting. We are here to serve your catering needs with a Mid-East Feast, a Falafel Tray, a Roasted Veggie Tray or other vegetarian specialties.
Read what they're saying about us on the web, and please add your own comments:
Food for the fest . . . Expressly from Leslie
Farmers' markets, fairs and festivals are a wonderful way to celebrate the seasons, the richness of our land and our lives and the boundless diversity of American culture. We all have warm memories of days at the fair.
When I started spending time at farmers' markets, flea markets, fairs and festivals, as a vegetarian, I wasn't able to find a thing to eat. When I'm outside enjoying the sun and the air -- and even when I'm inside just enjoying my life -- I like to eat delicious, well-prepared foods from the earth that add to my sense of well-being.
So that's how I got started in the vegetarian concession (and now cafe) business. It occurred to me that if there was nothing for me to eat at these wonderful events, there were probably a lot of other people with the same problem. And in considering that possibility, I discovered a mission: to bring to seasonal outdoor events the same wonderful, healthful vegetarian foods that I enjoy at home.
And then there was Woodstock. I fell in love with Woodstock the first time I drove into town with my food trailer. After enjoying two wonderful seasons with The Woodstock Farmers Market, I found a permanent home across the street from my former space in the Market.
Now a word about the Middle Eastern influence in my food. During my first visit to Israel more than 25 years ago, I realized this was my food. I love Middle Eastern food with its bright, flavorful, fruit and veggie rich dishes. It is exactly how I like to eat and ever since has inspired my own cooking.
What you'll find in this site
I hope you'll come away from the site wanting to go outside, look up, see the sky, breathe the air -- and wanting to live more in tune with this wonderful world. You'll want to celebrate life. As part of that, we hope you'll want to look for the kind of special, fresh, light, delicious food we try to provide. It can be hard to find in some locales! You may have to come to northern Illinois to look me up.
So, here's what's in this site:
A short history of vegetarianism: Yes, imaginative it may be, but there are kernels of truth everywhere.
Veggie How-To A few simple tricks from a homemaker, mom and professional who has cooked and eaten vegetarian for many years.
Dieting. NOT! Leslie's simple ideas for maintaining about the same weight throughout your life without dieting and certainly without starving. Leslie likes to eat!
I look forward to seeing you in our Woodstock cafe and at the
Investing in the Future
Join us as we do our share to take care of the environment. We use almost all recyclable or biodegradable disposables and carry-out containers! These products are more expensive, but we believe they are an investment in our future. Please help at your end by minimizing waste and handling it correctly.