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The underserved North Lawndale neighborhood is about to have a fabulous new restaurant of its own.
Soulé Chicago was founded in 2017 by Chef Bridgette Flagg. A Chicago native from a humble background of southern hospitality connoisseurs, Flagg first discovered the joy of cooking through her Grandmother, Beatrice “Bea” Tolliver. A Greenwood Mississippi migrant, Tolliver brought her vibrant Delta cooking to Chicago when she moved, steeping Bridgette in the culinary history of her family. Tolliver’s legacy soon reached the rest of the city, eventually becoming Head Cook for Chicago Public Schools.
Today, so much of what Bridgette accomplishes is inspired by the legacy of her grandmother, and it was this legacy that she sought to bring to the world with Soulé. Inspired by Biggie Small’s legendary single “Juicy”: “It was all a dream…” and memories of Grandma Bea, Soulé is a boutique restaurant where family and friendship come first.
Open since 2017 at 1931 W Chicago Ave, Soulé has become Chicago’s premiere location for creole-inspired soul food. Offering up appetizers like jerk shrimp and fried green tomatoes, the restaurant specializes in creole entrees like blackened catfish, shrimp and grits, po’boys, fried chicken, and blackened salmon pasta. The restaurant has become a special favorite of celebrities like Scottie Pippin, Star Jones, and Lil Baby, elevating the restaurant’s profile and introducing wider audiences to the wonderful world of soul food, earning serious acclaim from publications like Hoodline and The Infatuation.
Now, Flagg will be opening up her second restaurant at a brand new location at 3615 W Roosevelt Road. Partnering with her operations manager and head baker Shaneka Fields, the new expansion will see Soulé revitalizing a neighborhood that has apparently not seen a new sit-down restaurant in 50 years. Flagg is especially dedicated to making sure that the neighborhood reaps the benefits of her new restaurant, and is expected to create up to 60 new jobs for North Lawndale residents.
The new Soulé will be replacing a long-abandoned church and will face little competition in the neighborhood. Moving back into the community she grew up in, Flagg is thrilled to be able to share her success with the people she grew up with, and is on a mission to give ex-offenders a second chance by training them to cook. Soulé’s latest expansion will be able to comfortably seat up to 100 guests, and is expected to open up by the end of this summer.