Born and raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago, my childhood was a dichotomy of sorts. My three sisters and I attended Catholic school and our father was a bookie, who like all criminals, was finally busted when I was seven and spent the next 3 years in prison. When he finally came out, he passed away suddenly from a heart attack - leaving my mother to raise four little girls alone. I didn’t realize it then, but this early upbringing would give me the strength to survive - and thrive - in two incredibly cutthroat industries.
Though I lost him early, my father taught me the art of being "street smart", and the years at Catholic School solidified a drive in me to never give up and to always fight for what I believed. I began my modeling career in my early twenties. At first, I had trouble finding an agency to represent me. Every agent I visited told me I was too tall, strange looking or “not what the Chicago market was looking for.” Finally, I met an agent who gave me a chance, and I started working every day, booking every major runway client there was.
It was during my career in the modeling industry that I met my first husband. He was a charismatic restaurateur and, before I knew it – I caught the hospitality bug. In 2005, after taking time off to have a child, I met my current business partner. On our children’s play-date and after a few cocktails (we love to drink) we started discussing our passion for food & wine and made a decision right there and then to open up a restaurant in our own neighborhood. In the pioneer spirit, we put Bread & Wine in an old laundromat in an undervalued area on the Northwest Side of Chicago where I grew up. After 4 years, still going strong, we are now moving further into retail with the launch of our own line of artisanal Bread & Wine products for grocery stores.
I’ve learned so much and I continue to do so every day. I want to share the challenges, successes and the hilarity.
I am Jennifer Wisniewski.
Welcome to Tall Orders.