Food For Thought How persistence and passion turned a new idea into a multimillion-dollar business
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In this excerpt, Paul Wenner, founder of Wholesome and HeartyFoods, recalls his accidental invention of the vegetarianGardenburger and his struggle to turn the idea into a business.
It was 1981, and at last, I was going to realize my dream--theopening of a gourmet vegetarian restaurant. The GardenhouseRestaurant [in Gresham, Oregon,] opened to good reviews. Like allrestaurateurs, I was soon faced with [the problem of] what to dowith the leftovers. My solution was something I called the"Gardenloaf Sandwich," made of leftover vegetables andrice pilaf. Later, I got the idea of slicing up the loaf into whatlooked like patties--and suddenly the Gardenburger was born.
Grilled and placed in a hamburger bun, it was an instantsuccess. [Soon,] one out of every two lunches sold was aGardenburger. Cholesterol consciousness was just beginning to buildin the early 1980s, and I'd truly found the "food for thetimes."