You may know John Mullan from his popular Evergreen restaurant, Dandelions Café. Beginning with his first job in a kitchen at a summer camp in New Jersey, John’s lifelong passion has always been cooking. However, his diverse career in law and emergency medicine started long before Dandelions opened its doors.
At only 20 years old, John began working in Venice Hospital in Venice, Florida. He soon became one of the first paramedics ever to be certified in the State of Florida. He eventually moved on to serve as Director of South Sarasota County’s Emergency Medical Services system, where he managed a 20-person department that delivered exceptional emergency services to the public.
John attributes his success as a first responder to his ability to “stay calm in stressful situations.” Of course, given the nature of his work—responding to emergency medical calls, administering life support and transporting patients safely and quickly to medical facilities—John admits that “stressful” may be a serious understatement with his previous experiences including delivering babies, reviving countless heart attack victims and managing serious trauma.
Always seeking a new challenge, John decided to pursue a career in law by attending DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. All while earning multiple academic awards and graduating near the top of his class, John worked full time as a paramedic for the Chicago Fire Department.
After graduating from DePaul, John was offered a position with Adler, Murphy & McQuillen LLP, specializing in aviation and environmental litigation, a high-stakes, complex, and multi-jurisdictional area of civil law.
“We defended airlines, airports and anything aviation related,” John states. “For example, our firm handled the case involving the United Airlines Flight 232 crash in Sioux City, Iowa in 1989. That case, which involved catastrophic failure of the plane’s tail-mounted engine, lead to the loss of many lives. We also represented Tucson International Airport in a massive groundwater contamination case in which thousands of local residents claimed illnesses from consuming polluted drinking water.”
John explains, “In aviation and environmental litigation, you not only need to understand complex tort law, such as wrongful death and personal injury, but also sophisticated technologies, medical injuries and illnesses, fundamentals of flight, the business of major commercial airlines, and how to craft and present winning legal arguments that utilize these concepts at trial.”
John’s experience in aviation and insurance ideally positioned him for his next endeavor in law, managing complex insurance claims for both Bally Total Fitness and Zurich Insurance Company. He also returned to the courtroom as a family law attorney for several years, and later worked as a volunteer mediator for Jefferson County and for the Colorado Bar Association helping those affected by the floods in Colorado.
After 20-plus years of practicing law, John decided to fulfill his lifelong dream of going to culinary school and completed the evening program at The Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at National Louis University, the top culinary school in Chicago.
After moving to Colorado and briefly operating a food truck, John and his wife, Janet, purchased Dandelions Café. Starting from a small open concept kitchen, Dandelions has since expanded to seat 50 patrons in a bright open space on Bergen Parkway. “Buying Dandelions turned out to be one of my best ideas yet.”
It seems the Evergreen community is inclined to agree. With countless five star reviews across social media and a loyal following, Dandelions Café specializes in tasty comfort food. “I do everything from designing the menu and making the soups, quiches and specials from scratch, as well as managing quality control to ensure that each dish is expertly prepared,” he said. John admits, “My passion for food has always been my inspiration. It’s the most fun to cook when you’re not under pressure but just get to enjoy what you make and see other people enjoy it too.”
Dandelions Café serves fresh, healthy and gluten free food for breakfast and lunch. Located at 1552 Bergen Parkway, #305 in Evergreen. 303.674.5000, dandelionsevergreen.com.