How The Eastman Egg Company Is Building a Movement of Breakfast Converts

It’s 7:30am on a Monday. To make it to your office by 9, you need to catch the 8:15 train. You still have to dry your hair, shoot off a few quick e-mails, decide what’s for lunch, pack your laptop and eat breakfast. You know, realistically, you’ll have to drop one of those tasks off your list. So, what do you choose to skip this Monday morning?


Hunter Eastman Swartz is working to make breakfast a part of everyone’s day with The Eastman Egg Company.

If you said breakfast, you’re part of a group of breakfast-snubbing Americans 31 million strong. That’s 31 million people ignoring advice from Tufts University researchers, the USDA, even First Lady Michelle Obama and Sesame Street’s Grover. Those are also the 31 million individuals The Eastman Egg Company hopes to target.

“Breakfast is broken,” Founder Hunter Eastman Swartz said bluntly in a recent phone interview, echoing one of his company’s underlying mottos.

Eastman’s solution? Locally sourced ingredients, filling egg sandwiches and hot coffee, all designed “to put some community back in breakfast and give people the opportunity to have that incredibly sourced meal.” Eastman is currently building a community of breakfast aficionados through a food truck that can often be found at Daley Plaza and a brick-and-mortar storefront at 23 N. Wacker Drive. This September, 500 W. Madison will become its second breakfast outpost. With 1,600 to 1,800 customers at the original location weekly, Eastman believes the new space is an opportunity to provide service to over 2,000 more breakfast converts.

“I’m an operator at heart. I wanted to build. I wanted to create,” Swartz said of why he left a career as an investment banker to take on a business like Eastman. It’s also why he’s spearheading his company’s entrance into markets beyond the traditional restaurant business. In the coming months, Eastman plans to introduce an app that will make the ordering process even smoother.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said of his foray into the breakfast business. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Honestly, I work harder now than I ever did in banking, which sounds impossible, but it’s definitely true.”

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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