GRAND BOULEVARD — Bronzeville Winery has opened, bringing the long-awaited fine dining spot to the South Side as neighbors work to revitalize the area’s business district.
Owners Cecilia Cuff and Eric Williams were surrounded by friends, family and city officials Wednesday as they cut the ribbon to open their restaurant, 4420 S. Cottage Grove Ave. The two put together a team of award-winning food and drinks specialists to craft the business, which has been in the works for more than a year.
Bronzeville Winery features indoor and outdoor dining, vegan-friendly fare by executive chef Whitney McMorris, a wine program curated by sommelier Derrick Westbrook and a cocktail program curated by James Beard award winner Ian Julian.
“It’s been almost one year to the day from our groundbreaking,” Williams said. “There were ups and downs and supply chain issues, but I’m really happy this moment is here and that we’re opening today. We’re booked for several weeks, so I’ll get the chance to make some food, talk to people, play some music and have some fun.”
Cuff and Williams previously said they’ll offer comfort food and a wine collection curated by one of the few Black sommeliers in the United States. Ambient music will be provided by musicians and DJs, and a rotating gallery will feature work from local artists.
The restaurant is the second business to open in the 4400 Grove complex, with several others to open in coming months. Its opening is another win for Bronzeville as efforts continue to revitalize the area’s commercial corridor.
Cuff and Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised the persistence of Rhonda McFardland, the executive director of Quad Communities Development Corporation, which spent a dozen years making 4400 Grove a reality. The complex was built on the site of two Chicago Housing Authority towers that were demolished in 2002; now, the spot is home to several businesses, including Bronzeville Winery.
“I don’t have children, but now I have seven,” joked McFarland, referring to the seven 4400 Grove retailers. “We have everything we need in our neighborhood. Of the seven business owners, five can walk [from home] to their businesses. The graphics, the lighting, the chairs you’re sitting in were created by people in or connected to this community.”
The city provided Bronzeville Winery with a $250,000 Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant to help the business come to life. Agencies also provided support to 4400 Grove to bring more businesses — like the restaurant — and affordable housing to the strip.
“Our commitment to this community is real,” Lightfoot said at the opening. “We’ve put $150 million into the ecosystem of public and private investment that is going towards this very community. … We need to do more, but this is a great, glorious day.”
Bronzeville Winery is open 4-10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and 4-11 p.m. Friday-Sunday. It hosts private events Monday-Tuesday.
Reservations are required and can be made online.
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