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Weekend Shooting Outside Chicago Pancake House Leaves One Dead, Four Wounded

Plus, local grassroots organizations take on elevated food insecurity brought on by pandemic unemployment

A large white and blue restaurant visible from the sidewalk.
Lumes Pancake House in Morgan Park
Google Streetview

One person has died and four others were injured in a drive-by shooting Sunday afternoon at a Morgan Park location of local breakfast mini-chain Lumes Pancake House, according to WBEZ and multiple other news reports.

Just before 2 p.m., a person in a white SUV fired shots that killed a male customer dining in an outdoor tent at the 11601 S. Western Avenue restaurant, police told reporters. Witnesses say they heard 20 to 30 shots, according to ABC Chicago. This wasn’t a random shooting, as the drive by targeted a 31-year-old customer, police told the Sun-Times. The four other adults who were struck were reportedly taken to area hospitals. Police have not taken anyone into custody at this point.

Originally founded in 1991, Lumes Pancake House also operates suburban locations in Frankfort, Orland Park, Palos Heights, and Willowbrook. Pancakes are the clear focus at Lumes. The Morgan Park location is a breakfast and brunch destination on the South Side; the restaurant is typically packed for after-church meals on Sundays, WBEZ reports. The pandemic has since significantly lessened the number of diners, who order eggs, French toasts, crepes, Belgian waffles, and more.

And in other news...

— Sweeping unemployment resulting from the pandemic has caused the number of Chicagoans projected to face food insecurity to leap from 10 to 15 percent, a change that disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx residents with children, according to the Tribune. The spike in need has inspired a number of small grassroots organizations to step up and get food on the table. Black-owned food service contractor ChiFresh Kitchen, which operates out of food business incubator the Hatchery in East Garfield Park, has served more than 16,000 meals since mid-May; New Life Community Church in Little Village has served 290,000 people since May as well; and West Englewood’s I Grow Chicago has been delivering food to 250 area families twice weekly throughout the pandemic.

— A suburban Elgin restaurant owner was charged in U.S. District Court with fraudulently obtaining a $176,000 paycheck protection program (PPP) loan despite closing her restaurant and firing employees weeks earlier, according to the Tribune. Gifford’s Kitchen and Social owner Melissa Turasky, 43, was indicted on two charges of bank fraud. The casual, family-friendly spot closed suddenly in March, the Daily Herald reported at the time, much to the dismay of people who had put down deposits for future events, but the charges allege Turasky applied for a PPP loan on April 10 using falsified paperwork. That same paperwork lead an unidentified bank to cut her a check for $176,822 on May 1, according to the indictment.

— Restaurant owners have been trying to reach agreements with landlords throughout the pandemic, hoping to score relief as the public health crisis has kept customers at home. Business for takeout operations has also been affected. Art of Dosa is temporarily shutting down its West Town virtual kitchen after its landlord abruptly announced a change in its agreement, says owner Ravi Nagubadi. The South Indian vegetarian restaurant will take a break. Nagubadi vows to return to reopen his stall inside Revival Food Hall in the Loop. Plans to reopen at Revival were stalled earlier in August as downtown looting caused uncertainty with some property owners. A comeback date hasn’t been determined.

— Downtown’s glitzy Palmer House Hilton, the second-largest hotel in the city, is facing a substantial foreclosure suit as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hammer the hospitality industry, according to Crain’s. Investor Thor Equities defaulted on a $333.2 million loan connected to the Chicago hotel and has failed to make mortgage payments dating back to April. Lender Wells Fargo is seeking to take control over the hotel at 17 E. Monroe Street.

Revival Food Hall

125 South Clark Street, , IL 60603 (773) 999-9411 Visit Website

Palmer House - A Hilton Hotel

17 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 726-7500 Visit Website

Art of Dosa

72 West Adams Street, , IL 60603 (312) 766-3537 Visit Website