Anti-gentrification graffiti has struck again, this time at Humboldt Park's Grandma J's Local Kitchen. Someone marked up a sign in the window of the restaurant, writing "Get out of Humboldt Park," "Don't Gentrify Us" and "We won't be Wicker Park." Grandma J's owner said this marks the third time her restaurant's been victimized.
DNAinfo first reported the incident. Owner Layla Malia has lived in Humboldt Park for 20 years and has run Grandma J's for three years. She's a single mother who's Hungarian and Hawaiian: "How harmful can it be? I'm just making eggs for the community?" she said.
Malia said she's also been targeted because she supported Riot Fest's Humboldt Park presence. The punk rock music festival called the park home since 2012, but after facing pressure from some residents, and Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), festival organizers announced this year's concerts would move to Douglas Park. Riot Fest was also criticized for displacing residents, but Malia said the influx of people was good for her business.
Restaurants often are easy targets for those worried about gentrification. Take January's incidents at Bow Truss coffee in Pilsen, for example.
A bit of Malia resents those that some doubt her commitment to the community. She's said that the community has supported her, and though she's sad that someone would take the time to disparage her business without facts, it won't stop her from continuing operations. She also pledges support to other businesses trying to make it in the area.
"Do you see how many business we have that are shut down and boarded up?" Malia said. "How is that good for the community?"