Chicago's culinary community celebrates the 'Breakfast Queen' for her 80th birthday

During her lengthy career in the city's hospitality industry, Ina Pinkney inspired and mentored many. Now, she is savoring a well-deserved celebration!

To ring in her 80th birthday, the philanthropic group Chicago Chefs Cook held a special event at The Geraghty in Pilsen to honor the ‘Breakfast Queen’ – and it was all for a good cause.

Guests enjoyed bites and delights from more than 60 Chicagoland chefs who were set up at tasting stations throughout the space.

"She always is giving to others, and she’s done so much for so many people that we wanted to bring everyone together to her to say thank you," said Jodi Fyfe, founder & CEO, The Paramount Group.


Proceeds from the event will support Pilot Light, which works to educate the next generation about food, and Green City Market, a nonprofit that sets out to create a sustainable, and more resilient food system.

Pinkney, who owned and operated her namesake brunch restaurant in the West Loop for more than 30 years, says it's incredible to see friends and strangers, alike, come together for the occasion.

"It was very humbling that my name would bring the people in because it's all for charity, and as long as they told me I could raise money for charity, that's all I really cared about. You know, I've had a lot of birthdays in my life, and some of them were pretty good, nothing like this!" said Pinkney. "I hope everyone in their life has a moment like this when they feel loved and cared for like I do right now."

Featured chefs included Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass Café, Art Smith of Reunion, Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno, and dozens more!