Saturday, January 29, 2011

Army and Lou's to close - maybe permanently, maybe temporary

I saw this on Rep. Constance Howard's Facebook page:
Celebrate the History, Legacy, and Institution of Army & Lou's Restaurant

Come out with your friends and family to celebrate the rich history and say farewell "for now" to ARMY & LOU'S, the oldest black owned restaurant in the Midwest. Eat your favorite meals and listen to live Jazz on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy the buffet and Live G...ospel on Sunday, 422 East 75th St., Chicago.
So I sent her a message asking about it.  Here's what representaive howard shared with me:
JP, Here is information from BERA, regarding why the restaurant is closing:

Alicia Spears talked with the publicity representative from Army and Lou’s and here is a summary of their conversation:

Restaurant owners do not know if they will re-open. They need funds, they need willing parties to commit to use of the site-not just verbal consent; they need consistent support, or investors willing to take over the 65 year old establishment.

Many people are going to the south loop restaurants where it is more trendy, a better sense of security, better parking. Since many African-Americans now live north of 63rd Street, they don’t want to come south.

Alicia Spears

Executive Director
Business and Economic Revitalization Association (BERA)
200 East 75th Street
Chicago, Illinois
Here is Army' & Lou's website.

i hope this restaurant doesn't close for good. We already lost Yonni's. We can't lose this classic restaurant. In addition to the food and people, 2 standout qualities include the art display from a nearby art gallery, and a meeting room that could be reserved for meetings, gatherings, etc. I used it several times for my former organization's monthly luncheon.


  1. Good information JP. I just have a problem with the owners explanation. They are also investing in the South Loop as they are operating Pearl's Place on 39th Michigan.

    Unfortunately, this is a continuing saga of traditional "soul food" restaurants going away. Glady's, Soul Queen and Edna's are gone. Edna's has reopened under a new name. It is no secret that the other two soul food restaurants Capt's and Izola' are suffering.

    I believe that unless they change from the place where "big wigs" eat to more family friendly modern establishments, we have seen the end of traditional "soul food" in Chatham.

  2. I saw that Ald. Lyle posted on State Rep. Howard's status about this news. Says this is what happens if we don't support these establishments. I've never been to this place and it looks like I've waited too long.

    Just curious what problems did you have Worlee with the owner's explanation?

    BTW, I hope our eateries are able to make the necessary adjustments to remain in business. If I understand correctly the family of Helen Anglin didn't want to take over the restaurant and Anglin either wasn't able to sell or didn't want to sell before she passed on.

    Also what does everyone think of BJ's as they have establishments bear 87th/Stony Island as well as 79th & Racine?

  3. My issue is that they want someone to invest in A&L while they invest in Pearl's Place. They gave up on A&L to go to the trendy "Bronzeville" community.

    As far as Soul Queen she wasn't able to sell because no one liked the askng price basd on the investment they would have to make to bring it up to today's standard.

    Lastly, BJ's is using the cafeteria style format. He produces fast moving items that are quick to prepare and offers a sunday buffet to cater to the "family and "church" crowd. His restaurant is modern and his menu caters to modern taste.

  4. Trendy sounds like such a dangerous term. What happens if the trend goes in another direction. I'm glad Bronzeville is getting the attention it deserves for being an historical area. At the same time trendy can become a problem when the next trendy area isn't Bronzeville.

    I've been to BJ's once or twice. I have no problems with the food there. Surely anyone who wants to open a Soul Food restaurant in our community will take notices of some of what they're doing.

  5. Army and Lou's is in no way affeliated with Pearl's Place. This posting is incorrect.

  6. Hi, my name is Harry Fleming and I am the managing partner for Army & Lou's. There seems to be a misconception that I would like to clear up. We have no connection with Pearl's Place. The previous owenr, Ms. Reynolds managed Pearl's Place back in the 90's for a few years. Again, we have no connection at all with Pearl's Place.

    Thank you for your time.

  7. I wish you and the other partners the best of luck. We would love to see Army and Lou's open back up. I pray you get the support needed.

  8. I thought Army and Lou's were not partners with Pearls Place I'm glad you set the record straight

  9. I stand corrected, but my other comments stand.

  10. If Mr. Fleming is still around I have a question for him. Are there resources available to help restaurant operators when they have problems? Or do you have to wait for a Gordon Ramsey or Robert Irvine TV show for assistance?

    I ask because quite a bit of taxpayer money has been invested in KKC-Washburne and we have several officers of the Illinois Restaurant Association doing business in our community.

    I hope that the culinary chools are doing more than training cooks.

  11. LJ the comment was not meant to be disrepectful. All the Universities in the area CSU, UC, Depaul help businesses with problems. So is it too much to believe that the culinary schools should do the same? If not, where does a restaurant operator go for assistance? The shows areasking for restaurants with problems to contact them.

  12. For the record Worlee was responding to a comment I made that I had deleted. Just wondered what was up with the Gordon Ramsey comment.

  13. Hi Worlee and Levois,

    Our issue is not the general operations of the business but mainly economics. I love Gordon Ramsey and in the past he has approched Ms. Reynolds to do his show, but she declined. I'm of the same mind set because I've seen his show and it wouldn't at the end of the day be the "best" move for us. We have an excellent business plan that several banks and the SBA have looked at and like very much. The issue seems to be leading money in the restaurant industry. Banks are extreely hesitant to put investment dollars into the industry. At least that what the banks tell me. We are currently searching for privet investors and partnerships with different universities like KKC, CSU, and Depaul. If you have any information or can point me in a particular direction please feel free to contact me at

    Thank yuo for your time,

    Harry Fleming


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