Where O Where are our Restaurants

Where O Where are our Restaurants

First, Chatham Pancake House, Izola's, next Army & Lou's now the Bay and Josephine's(Capt's Hard Times) on life support where do you find a local neighborhood restaurant to eat?

Dashboard cuisine is ok when you are in a rush, but it is difficult to attract decent viable businesses when a community lacks decent eating establishments. We have explored the issues that closed several restaurants(http://concernedcitizensofchatham.blogspot.com/2011/04/where-o-where-have-our-restaurants-gone.html,) but now it appears that the new reason some are closing is not paying taxing bodies. Chatham Pancake House was seized by the IRS and The Bay by Illinois Dept of Revenue.

Since we have entrepreneurs who want to get into the restaurant business it would be great if Chatham Business Association reach out to the Illinois Restaurant Association and Washburne to develop a program so we do not continue to see these type of failures.


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  • Well it would help if they would stop sucking and try making food that was not so pedestrian and overly expensive. I've walked by the Bay repeatedly, but it was never opened when I was going by. Army and Lou's did not make good food. You do not see a problem with people eating at the Soul Vegetarian because they are not serving up crap from the paper supply company and acting like it is 'cuisine'.

    The bad this is that too often it is businessmen and not cooks opening restaurants in our community. With al the BBQ joints in our community, you would think there would be someone serving a nice sit down place, but there isn't. Yes Curt's did make a feeble attempt at it, but the service at Curts is anything but customer friendly, as it is in too many places in our neighborhood. The African place on 79th and the Trinidadian place on 75th, I want to go there, but I'm kinda shy about food I don't recognize and is expensive.

    As much as I detested Chatham Pancake House, I ate there often enough, but there food was pedestrian and their service was uneven and often barely acceptable, but the most egregious error was that their coffee was strait nasty. Coffee makes a big difference in a breakfast restaurant. They were serving something out of a can.

    Izola's like Queen of the Sea was great for when you were getting breakfast after a night of revelry, but for a dining experience that centered on dining, they were not stand out at all. Lets just say, they lacked a 'mustard catfish' or a 'collard green egg roll' kind of stand out dish on their menus. And they looked dark and dank like you were expecting a drug deal to be sketched out in the booth across from you.

    What I would like to see is some healthier fare, since you can't get nothing green in the dashboard cuisine, but it would be better to be something with a twist. It would be nice if it didn't break the bank either. Also get some real atmosphere instead of that fake plastic "How can I help you sir" crap that so much of our community suffers from. There was this little soul food place on 79th (I think Quench is there now) where the proprietor treated everyone like she knew them, so I ate there a couple of times because she was witty and vibrant and made me feel like I was at a friend's place, not a stranger in a strange land.

    As far as what the community could do, well they need to focus on making it safe (I know that's crazy talk). They might want to invest in a Taste of Chatham kind of event, but don't have food there that you don't serve in your restaurant (try to get a BBQ turkey leg somewhere). ANd drop the damned liquor ban. If you can't have a glass of wine or a beer with your meal then that is reason enough not to eat there. That was a big DUMB mistake. Take out menus might help, Groupon, Twitter and Facebook specials might help as well.

    I could go on, but I don't know nothing and it shows! (The opportunities are there, they really are, but....)

  • Why do black business owners only open fast food stores. There needs to be more in the types of busineess black people own. Don't they see there are already too many. They need to try to fill in where there are holes like lack of gyms, sit downs etc. The curent restaurants aren't consistant in sevice and food quality. Sometimes I feel they are taking advantage because they are the only place in town for a while and you are hungry.
    Also there has to be an increase in the diversity among restauranteurs. Starting fine dining/sit down is expensive they need investors. Someone has to help them raise funds. Thats why there is such a lack in fine dining/sit downs on the south side. Its a great idea to get involved with Washurne culinary.

  • In reply to carmelcutie:

    I agree the restaurants need to listen to customers(i.e. Yelp reviews) and make changes. There are those inteested in operating casual, fast casual and white table cloth restaurants but they are finding it very difficult to get funding. They are consistently having to convince bankers that the community will accept restaurants that sell products other than $.99 fried chicken. As far as Washburne, they can close it up and stop wasting the taxpayers money. The arrogant twits they are graduating do not have any interest in working owning or operating restaurants on the southside of Chicago because they believe they have arrived with the culinary degrees. Secondly, the leadership has no desire either because there has been numerous opportunities to consult and turnaround poorly performing restaurants and create internships for their students and they haven't done either.

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