CORRECTION: The area around North Lawndale does include sit-down options in Douglass Park and Homan Square, giving the area more options. Soule is the first full-service restaurant with a bar in North Lawndale in 50 years. The story and headline have been corrected to reflect those changes.
One of the most anticipated openings of the year happened over the weekend when the second location of Soule debuted in North Lawndale.
The first iteration opened in 2017 in West Town, a blend of creole and soul food with dishes like shrimp and grits, jerk chicken wings, and fried catfish. The restaurant provided a casual level of sophistication in a come-as-you-are atmosphere that was also BYO. Black ownership made a difference in flavors and in making customers feel welcome on the North Side, and Soule soon became a celebrity hangout for rappers and athletes.
The North Lawndale location presents a personal mission for chef and owner Bridgette Flagg. She grew up in the area, an area not known for many sit-down restaurants. In recent years, places like SoulFood Lounge and Ja’ Grill (which recently closed) have opened around Douglass Park as there’s been a surge in giving the area more options. There’s also fine dining stalwart El Ideas, which is reservation only.
Soule 2, which has a bar is North Lawndale’s first full-service restaurant — that serves alcohol — that’s opened in 50 years. Thanks to city and community grants, which complement Flagg’s personal investments, Soule 2 and its 100 seats can open and add to that group. Flagg has been adamant in wanting to kick off a renaissance in the community.
Flagg’s crew built the space from the ground up. There’s a second-floor landing that provides a view of the space. The decor includes gold neon and a full bar. There’s a fireplace near leather sofas. A wall’s covered with black and white photos showing Soule’s community.
Flagg hopes Soule 2 can inspire a community revival. Walk through the space below.
Soule 2, 3615 W. Roosevelt Road, officially opening January 1.