Even the employees at Potbelly Sandwich Works needed some place new to eat, according to David Doig, president of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, the organization behind One Eleven Food Hall in Pullman. The food hall sits in a strip mall (along with a Potbelly) in a sparsely developed area near the Pullman National Monument. One Eleven, with three restaurants, opened Monday morning at 756 E. 111th Street.
Mostly empty parcels fill the area around the hall. But that’s changing as developers move into the South Side neighborhood. Originally, the One Eleven space was ticketed for a Chipotle, but the burrito maker dropped out. CNI, which is developing the area as efforts to renovate the monument continue, was forced to pivot. They decided to pursue a project with more local flavor and the food hall was born.
Majani is a vegan soul food restaurant on the South Shore. Laine’s Bake Shop has corporate clients including Google. Exquisite To Go grew out of a catering business that’s served Chicago since 2017.
The food hall experience is supposed to help potential restaurant owners by giving them an opportunity to test out recipes and serve customers without investing a lot of money in construction and costs like insurance. All three restaurant owners happen to be African American, giving a marginalized group an opportunity that members may not always have. With the James Beard Awards happening on Monday — a celebration of mostly fine dining (a sector that’s traditionally homogenous) — it’s a stark contrast to what’s happening in Pullman. But, as consultant James Gray of Calibrate Coaching wrote, every chef needs a start: “The next James Beard-winning chef might just have gotten their start right here!”
Take a look around the space below. One Eleven Food Hall is now open.
One Eleven Food Hall, 756 E. 111th Street, Exqusite to Go and Laine’s Bake Shop open at 7 a.m. daily; Majani opens at 11 a.m.