From her humble start as a personal chef serving four clients, Angie Montroy has seen her business, Angie’s Pantry, grow into a successful weekly meal service offering healthy, homemade fare with a client list of over 1,700 families.
After 25 years in the business, Angie has announced plans to retire in early 2024. She is seeking to sell her business which has deep roots in these villages.
Angie got her start in the mid-90s when she offered her personal chef services to four clients and grew to include small catered events. Eventually, she started a food blog at AngiesPantryBlog.com, sharing recipes, food stories, cooking and budgeting tips. Her success paved the way for multiple appearances on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight in 2010, and her meal service business kept growing.
Angie initially worked out of the kitchen in her home in River Forest, then moved on to renting space at the 19th Century Club until 2018 when she opened her doors to the storefront kitchen of Angie’s Pantry at 809 South Blvd. in Oak Park. “The storefront combined with the ability for people to order online really helped me expand,” she said. “I hired a really incredible staff to assist with certain areas, but I am still the chef in the kitchen every week. It’s physically demanding work, but we all put a lot of love into it.”
The Angie’s Pantry staff includes Nancy Walker, Julie Scheuring, Maureen Pond, Jonathan Reedy, David Snyder and Barbora Zamboni. Angie credits her success to the team effort of her staff. “They are the most amazing people to work with. I couldn’t do anything without them!” she said. Working together, they currently create up to 300 individual meals every week, full of healthy ingredients and thoughtfully curated gluten- free and vegetarian options, and free of preservatives, artificial ingredients and trans fats. There are about two dozen recipes she offers that she says are client “faves,” including one she crafted for the Beyond Hunger “Healthy Chef Challenge.” She was crowned the winning professional chef both years she entered the competition — 2018 and 2021 — beating out renowned chefs at local restaurants.
But Angie is more than just a chef. She has a passion for giving back to the community.
“I believe in helping however I can, and I know a lot of my clients feel the same way,” she said.
“So I gave them an option to make it easy to make a difference.” On her weekly order form, a line item was added offering patrons the opportunity to make a donation. Through the years, Angie and her loyal patrons have collectively donated over $28,000 to charities close to her heart, including Beyond Hunger, Housing Forward and UNICEF/Help Ukraine.
As Angie steps into the next chapter of her life, she looks forward to a slower pace, cherishing moments with her family. With her youngest off to college and her eldest son recently married, she playfully hints at the prospect of future grandkids.
“I do have some other things in the works, like an Angie’s Pantry cookbook,” she said. “I also have a special place in my heart for the homeless community, and I am hoping to direct some energy toward a project to benefit them.”
In February 2024, Angie will present her final menu, marking the end of a remarkable 25-year journey.
She’s in talks with potential buyers for her business, hoping to pass on her legacy to someone who shares her unwavering love for it.
“Angie’s Pantry has really been an outpouring of love for food and for this community,” she said. “I have loved so much doing what I do, and it has been an honor to feed this community and make so many relationships. It’s really been an incredible journey.”