The rumors are true – tomorrow is my birthday. Today, however, is the 80th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition in the United States. While both are reasons to celebrate, I think most would agree that the latter holds a bit more historical value.

When I think about the impact Prohibition had, it always reminds me of my great-grandfather Herman Berghoff – and what a true role model of a businessman he was. While the national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol could have meant the end to Herman’s livelyhood, he chose to let it be the start of his next business venture. Herman was constantly evolving with the times and dealing with what life handed him. [Something I continuously strive to do today as a businesswoman.]

Herman began brewing Berghoff soda drinks, near-beer, and expanded the Berghoff Café into a full-service restaurant once Prohibition hit.  When Prohibition ended, Herman secured the first two liquor licenses issued by the City of Chicago. The first for his bar and the second for the restaurant. On April 7, 1933, with a line that was down the street and around the corner, the bar was overflowing with thirsty customers ready to celebrate their right to drink again!

That full-service restaurant, the bar, Berghoff soda and Berghoff beer are all still going strong today. Some 93 years later, great-grandfather Herman’s innovation and legacy continues!

Now onto my birthday! As many people tend to do each year [on that glorious day], I like to reflect back on the year at hand. What were my challenges, successes, and memories? Much like my great-grandfather Herman, I have fought my own battle this past year. Given today’s significance, let’s call it my personal Gluten Prohibition.

The Prohibition of Gluten in my personal and professional lives has been a long road – and one that I continue to fight daily.  One of the major ways I have evolved this past year is a result of my goal to ensure a gluten-free environment, both at home and at The Berghoff.  While transforming my home came easier [a story best shared for another time], my latest challenge has been creating rules and boundaries for the restaurant and cafe to be a 100% safe place for those with gluten intolerance.  Educating and training my entire staff has been key and it’s now my #1 priority to create safe and delicious gluten-free menu options in the Restaurant, the Cafe and on the Berghoff Catering side of the business.

The journey began with my middle daughter, Sarah, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, then writing and publishing our third cookbook, Cooking For Your Gluten-Free Teen: Everyday Foods the Whole Family Will Love, and ultimately realizing the necessity to have gluten-free alternatives and safe eating environments.  I encourage you all to tune into our new blog, Gluten-Free Family Food, to follow us as we continue on our journey to learn and share gluten-free recipes and tips galore!

So on the 80th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition, I pay tribute to my great-grandfather, Herman Berghoff, and how he accepted the challenges of Prohibition and used it as an opportunity to evolve his business into The Berghoff brand we love today.  I also reflect on the past year of my personal Gluten Prohibition.  It’s a continuous battle – and one that I am proud to fight in my household and business.  I am excited to see how we grow from this experience, and look forward to the many gluten-free years to come.