After three years of delivering elevated Midwest comfort food all over Chicago, ghost kitchen Funeral Potatoes is looking to open a brick-and-mortar.
Eve Studnicka and Alexis Thomas-Rice recently launched a GoFundMe to open a cozy neighborhood cafe where the company can expand its current offerings. The two hope to raise $60,000 by January 1, 2024, to partially cover opening expenses. Once the brick-and-mortar is open, the owners hope to use the space to experiment with new foods and create a community hub with warm and friendly Midwest vibes that encourage you to sit down and stay a while. The owners tell What Now Chicago they hope to stay in the Logan Square/Avondale area.
“Our space will be the kind of place where you can sit all day with your laptop and a cup of coffee, go on a first date, or grab a bite with friends, with better food options than the typical giant muffins and mediocre bagels. Miles away from the cold concrete and sanitized corporate sleekness of a “trendy” coffee shop, we’ll be a community hub where neighbors of all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, and identities are invited to feel safe, eat good food made with love, and enjoy some laidback Midwest hospitality. “
The new LGBTQ and POC-owned virtual restaurant started as a result of the pandemic. At the time, Studnicka was the chef de cuisine at a local Hungarian cafe, while Thomas-Rice was running her own event catering company, Black Cat Kitchen. Once both lost their jobs, they had to figure out how to pay rent. The two then opened Funeral Potatoes, a nickname for a cheesy potato casserole. The company eventually gained attention from location publications, featured in Chicago Magazine’s 10 Hottest Restaurants and Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Takeout.
“We never imagined we’d still be going strong three years later,” according to the GoFundMe. “Since the first week with two of us crammed into a tiny kitchen, delivering soup in extra Trader Joe’s bags – we’ve grown to a full-time, licensed operation cooking out of a commercial kitchen in Logan Square. We’ve popped up at local markets, restaurants, concerts, and events all over the city, and one thing we can’t stop hearing from our customers is, “When are you going to open a brick-and-mortar?” We’re finally ready to take the leap and find a place of our own.”