Chicagos oldest Black-owned soul food restaurant celebrates half a century
A South Side eatery is celebrating 50 years in business. Theyre believed to be the oldest running Black-owned soul food restaurant in Chicago.
CHICAGO – A South Side eatery is celebrating 50 years in business. They’re believed to be the oldest running Black-owned soul food restaurant in Chicago.
St. Rest Country Kitchen along 87th Street and Cottage Grove has been a Chicago staple for half a century. The menu boasts a variety of dishes, including turkey legs, short ribs, smothered pork chops, cabbage, black-eyed peas, succotash, and candied yams.
Owner and head chef Daniella Coffey, along with her husband John, inherited the restaurant from her father in 2021 – the late Rev. Larry Hopkins, who founded the eatery in 1972. At that time, the business was facing significant challenges, with $600,000 in debt and foreclosure looming. Tragically, her father passed away just two months later.
Coffey said that within a year, the family managed to pay off the debt, restructure the business, and now they’re thriving.
“Great customer service, sanitation and great food. Those are our pillars here and of course faith,” Coffey said.
It’s beyond just Soul food – it’s a story of resilience. The restaurant has attracted the likes of NBA legend Michael Jordan.
It’s a family thing, with 77-year-year old matriarch Sophia Hopkins serving as lead waitress. When she’s not singing her southern tunes, she’s making customers feel right at home.
“As soon as you walk through the doors, everyone is family. That’s just how it is down south back in the day,” said Angela Chatman, general manager.
Outside the restaurant, Coffey inspires women all over the world to walk in their purpose.
“You don’t need another person to validate you. You have everything that you need in your hands. The only thing left is for you to use it,” she said.
The restaurant operates on Fridays through Sundays.