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A New Black-Owned Development With Restaurants Breaks Ground in Washington Park

Plus food truck Fridays are back and “Breaking Bad” stars-turned-mezcal makers come to town

An abandoned brick building on a city street; a tall apartment building rises in the background.
The former Cain’s Barber College on 51st Street in Washington Park will become a mixed-use development featuring Black businesses.
Google Maps

A new mixed-use development containing a gym, a pair of sneaker stores, a restaurant called Friistyle with indoor and outdoor dining, and six short-term rental apartments will be replacing the former Cain’s Barber College at 353-363 E. 51st Street in Washington Park later this year, Block Club reports. The ultimate goal is to draw more development to the 51st Street corridor and keep money in the neighborhood.

The two-story, 17,220 square-foot project is the work of Policy Kings, an initiative launched by two Black South Siders, Corey Gilkey (who is also a founder of the Boxville market in Bronzeville) and James Daughrity, who are funding the $6.1 million project with a $2.3 million Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant, help from community groups, and their own capital. They are working with a Black-owned contractor to renovate the building, which has been empty for the past 10 years, and have pledged that 80 percent of the subcontractors will be either Black- or woman-owned. Gilkey and Daughrity plan to break ground next week, and two of the stores should be open by October.

Food truck Fridays return to downtown

The Chicago Food Truck Festival returns to Daley Plaza today, May 20, to feed hungry downtown office workers. The festival will run every Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through October 7, and the lineup will be updated weekly on the Chicago Department of Business and Community Affair’s social media accounts. Today’s vendors include Harold’s Chicken, Aztec Dave’s, the Fat Shallot, and 5411 Empanadas.

Breaking Bad stars go from meth to mezcal

Possibly because meth is still illegal, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, the stars of the TV show Breaking Bad, have gone into the mezcal business. (At least both substances start with a “meh” sound.) They call their liquor Dos Hombres and they will be promoting it tomorrow, May 21, at the Bar Louie in Printer’s Row, 47 W. Polk Street, during happy hour. The doors open at 3:30 p.m. and tickets are available via Eventbrite (note: only those who spring for the $300 package will get the opportunity to meet and greet the stars/distillers and get their bottles autographed).

Two bearded dudes lay on lounge chairs in the desert. One reads a newspaper and the other oh-so-casually grasps a bottle of liquor.
Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston oh-so-casually promote their new mezcal, Dos Hombres.
Champion Management

Chicago’s Top Chef finds himself at sea

Ahoy: spoilers ahead

On this week’s episode of Top Chef: Houston, the action moved from the kitchen to a boat, where the five remaining contestants were required to catch a fish and then cook it. (The daily catch could be supplemented with product from a seafood market back on shore.) This was a special challenge for Chicagoan Damarr Brown, who had never gone fishing before. But much to his delight, Brown managed to reel in a bull redfish, which he served up blackened, accompanied by a red snapper crudo. The not-so-delightful part was that Brown chose to experiment with an Asian style that was new to him and the judges were not impressed: the crudo was undersalted and the peanut sauce that accompanied the blackened redfish was too grainy. But Brown’s friend and “big brother” Nick Wallace from Jackson, Mississippi, forgot to include a binder in his redfish cake and ended up serving the judges a pile of ground fish, so ultimately it was Wallace who packed his knives and went home, leaving a teary Brown in the final four.

Six people stand on the stern of a boat in the Gulf of Mexico.
Damarr Brown (third from right) and his four fellow contestants on Top Chef, plus judge Tom Colicchio.
David Moir/Bravo

Bar Louie

314 11th Avenue South, , TN 37203 (615) 457-1632 Visit Website

Daley Plaza

50 West Washington Street, , IL 60602 (312) 603-2526 Visit Website