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Food For Thought

How persistence and passion turned a new idea into a multimillion-dollar business

This story appears in the March 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In this excerpt, Paul Wenner, founder of Wholesome and Hearty Foods, recalls his accidental invention of the vegetarian Gardenburger and his struggle to turn the idea into a business.

It was 1981, and at last, I was going to realize my dream--the opening of a gourmet vegetarian . The Gardenhouse Restaurant [in Gresham, ,] opened to good reviews. Like all restaurateurs, I was soon faced with [the problem of] what to do with the leftovers. My solution was something I called the "Gardenloaf Sandwich," made of leftover vegetables and rice pilaf. Later, I got the idea of slicing up the loaf into what looked like patties--and suddenly the Gardenburger was born.

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