CHICAGO (CBS) — Normally, an innovative restaurant in Chicago is not news.
But consider what a renowned chef is about to do. It’s something North Lawndale hasn’t seen in 50 years. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports on a story you’ll only see on 2.
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Right now it will be the only business on a specific stretch of W. Roosevelt Rd. for three blocks here in North Lawndale. The woman behind this restaurant, which is currently under construction, hopes that with the opening of her second Soule restaurant, the community will change in many ways.
Bridgette Flagg’s excitement is on full display as she strolls around this construction site on W. Roosevelt Rd. near S. Central Park Avenue.
“It’s the bar area. We’re putting in fireplaces. It’s going to be very, very nice.
Flagg bought a ruined church that once stood there and had to be demolished. She is now building from scratch. This will be the first full-service restaurant with bar in North Lawndale in 50 years. It will accommodate 100 people.
“Just so I can be the one to bring some life back to my community, something positive, give people something to look forward to, to bring some hope,” Flagg said.
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Sixty new jobs will be created, all hired in North Lawndale. This is the community that Flagg has called home all his life. She said she would continue her mission to give ex-offenders a second chance.
“I train them in cooking and I do it because I feel like I’m saving their lives.”
This will be Flagg’s second Soule’ Chicago restaurant. She spoke to CBS 2 at her first location in the Ukrainian village.
It opened in 2017 and gained national recognition as it was named one of the top 30 black-owned restaurants in the United States by online dining website Thrillist and featured in the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand list. in 2021. Flagg debuted in 2015, posting dinners for sale on Instagram, which would sell out quickly.
“I posted a message on social media and said, ‘Hey, this is my menu for today.’ I had like my neighbors, I had like family, everyone was helping me in the kitchen,” Flagg said.
The tax preparer and barber had no formal chef training. She cooks family recipes in an effort to share the unity and love she felt with others growing up.
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Flagg uses his personal finances as well as city and community grants to build this restaurant. Its second Soule Chicago location will open in North Lawndale in late summer.