Wednesday, March 9


Enda's. Army & Lou's. Gladys's Luncheonette. Soul Queen. Izola's. That's five iconic Chicago soul food joints gone in the past few years, and three of them have closed just in the past two months. What's going on?

Enda Stewart, matriarch of Enda's Restaurant and one of the interview subjects from our Chicago Eats oral history project, passed away last year, and there was no one left to keep the business going once she was gone. But for places like Izola's, also part of our Chicago Eats project, the sluggish economy is to blame. Read more about the closing of famed soul food restaurants throughout the Windy City in this recent article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

Edna Stewart with her brother, Sam Mitchell Jr, 2008. Photo by Amy Evans Streeter.

But, there is some good news. Thanks to Mike Sula at the Chicago Reader, we've just learned that Edna's Restaurant has reopened! Henry Henderson, one of Edna's former produce suppliers, along with Edna's longtime chef and manager Lillian Joiner, came together to reopen this iconic restaurant in December. The menu is the same. The recipes are the same. Most of the employees are the same. Only the name has changed: Enda's is now Ruby's. Read Mike's great article about this momentous occasion right here.

Today, March 9, would have marked the 45th anniversary of the day Edna and her father opened Edna's Restaurant.

Go out and eat some soul food today, y'all. The Chicago Reader has posted a great list of soul food "survivors".