John Tolley

Saugatuck, MI
University Of Memphis, DePaul University
Food, History, Beer
  • John has worked nearly every FOH position there is in restaurants high and low, from bussing tables at an interstate-adjacent Cracker Barrel to slinging suds at one of Chicago's finest beer halls.
  • Having a voracious appetite for food and historical minutiae, he is more than willing to chase the origins of food and drink into the bowels of the past.
  • Coming from a long line of Southern storytellers, John loves to spin narratives that entertain as they educate.


A true trencherman, John's love of food was born on the Formica counter of his grandmother's kitchen in the hills of Tennessee. There he watched the lively intersection of cooking, eating, community, and history. His curiosity and love of storytelling took him north to Chicago, where he majored in communications and dabbled in the comedy scene. John then spent a decade honing his food knowledge further in some of the city's best restaurants before making the leap to content marketing, where he could further his love of writing. He now lives on the third coast, aka Western Michigan, an overlooked culinary region with its own unique flavor that he hungrily explores.


After a year of university in Tennessee, John decamped to DePaul University. The vibrant, rugged, yet always-welcoming nature of Chicago proved a cornucopia of extracurricular educational experiences. While DePaul helped hone his writing skills and taught him how to cultivate connections, it was Chicago itself that gave form to John's path.
Stories By John Tolley