As Americans search for reasons to be thankful this holiday week, a woman walking outside the soon to be open Leon’s Barbecue at 1528 E. 65th Street elatedly yelled the name of one person she appreciated: Denzel Washington. Leon’s, a 77-year-old chain, is opening on Wednesday in Woodlawn and the new location is inspired by a viral video of Washington driving through Chicago searching for the since-closed Leon’s he ate at while a child. Leon’s ownership credited Washington in motivating them to open a third location. They even thanked the 62-year-old Oscar-winning actor in the signage hanging in the restaurant’s window.
“Thank you, Denzel!” the women yelled while walking her daughter to the next door health center. “We needed this.”
The area is less than a five-minute drive south of the Museum of Science and Industry. There’s not a lot of restaurant choices in near vicinity. Leon’s even has room for a small outdoor patio.
Even though Washington is a N.Y. native, he said he was very comfy in Chicago while hamming it up with locals in footage taken in October below. Relive that video below. Meanwhile, Leon’s opens its third location on Wednesday.