Thursday, April 12, 2012

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Restaurants and Politics - Why is There Such a Disconnect

Worlee wrote this post at his blog it raises some good points:
While I had some issues with the answer, I recently came to understand that the owners did not have too many options and what would seem to be the obvious place to go for help wasn't really interested. The most obvious place Washburne Culinary Institute at Kennedy King College. I've criticized Kennedy King College as being nothing more than a glorified high school and a waste of taxpayers money especially the building of a restaurant and state of the art wine cellar and tasting room. The Sekia restaurant and the wine cellar tasting room are in a dry community meaning no alcohol can be served. This makes it a hard sell to entice someone to spend an evening in that area and not be able to have a drink unless you go out to the local liquor store. In a recent New York Times article, a former student eluded that the southside of Chicago was a dead zone for fine dining.

After reading the article and looking at the restaurant the subject of the article wrote I questioned what was being taught at the school. Most recently another article basically answered the question, it appeared that the school was running with no clear defined plan and not offering a competitive curriculum. So this is why restaurants like Army & Lou's had to close versus if they were on the northside schools such as CHIC and Kendall College would have been available to offer technical assistance. But, what is more bothersome is that both Army & Lou's and Izola's were hangouts for top African American politicians and no one was ever able to connect the dots. A mediocre culinary arts school and failing restaurants could help each other. So while the City Colleges of Chicago throws more taxpayers money trying to fix Washburne the restaurants are still closed.
This part should be emphasized:
My purpose was not to be sarcastic but rather understand the issue. Chatham is only a couple of miles away from one of the best Business Schools in the country University of Chicago, a stones throw away from the Small Business Development Center at Chicago State University and a couple of miles away from one of the oldest culinary schools in the country Washburne Culinary.
Perhaps the need is there to reach out to those institutions to help out our businesses. The focus here is food services but there are other products and services that could use some support behind the scenes just as Army & Lou's and Izola's could've used some assistance in saving their struggling businesses.

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