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In the early 1900’s fourteen year old John D. Mullen left Illinois to seek his fortune in the west. Realizing he needed a trade, he apprenticed under an Italian chef in Sioux City, Iowa earning $1.50 a week for the next year and a half.
From Iowa he moved to Minnesota, Colorado, and throughout the Midwest demonstrating his cooking skills and improving his reputation as a fine gourmet chef.
In World War I he served as a cook in Europe. While in Tours, France he discovered a small restaurant noted for it’s special homemade dressing. John at once fell in love with the French dressing and began spending his off duty hours cooking for the restaurant where he obtained a good idea of the ingredients that went into the delicious salad dressing.
From this time on Mullen worked developing the salad dressing, finally arriving at a formula that he felt was beyond improvement. The public apparently agreed with his conclusion for Mullen’s original French dressing recipe (now called imitation French) has not changed since it’s “perfection” in 1926.
After the war, Mullen’s returned to Illinois where he owned a succession of restaurants, all of which served his own dressing. Soon patrons of Mullen’s establishment began asking for a bottle of the delicious mixture so they could enjoy it at home. This led John to the next step in his career and in 1948 he opened the manufacturing and bottling plant located on Main Street in Palestine, Illinois. Mullen ran the profitable and fast growing business until 1963 when it was purchased by new owners. The new corporation renamed J.D. Mullen Company retained John as a consultant and appointed Roy Shaner as General Manager. Together they worked on new products until the death of John Mullen a few years later.
In 1985 Roy Shaner, his wife Ann and their son Jeff purchased J.D. Mullen Company. Both Roy and Ann have passed away, but Jeff continues to adhere to rigid quality standards demanded by the late John Mullen, whose delicious dressings are still made according to his original secret recipes.
Many have attempted to duplicate J.D. Mullen’s formula, but none have been able to perfect the fresh taste and natural goodness of Mullen’s.