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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Carver 47 Café, Community Market Reopens At Little Black Pearl After Pandemic Hiatus

Chef Lizz Wright has created a new menu for the redesigned space, which honors the life of the Black botanist George Washington Carver, an advocate for healthy eating and self-sufficiency.

The Carver 47 café, 1050 E. 47th St. in Kenwood, sold Thanksgiving "Gratitude Boxes" with meat or root vegetable pot pie, salad and soup. A Christmas dinner box is available starting at $44 for two people.
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KENWOOD — The cafe at South Side art institution Little Black Pearl, closed for months due to the pandemic, is back with a new menu and a community marketplace featuring food sourced from local farms and artisans.

Carver 47, 1050 E. 47th St., is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The café and market’s menu includes all-day breakfast options like a $10 quiche and sandwiches like the $7 vegetarian “Quarantine Burger” with caramelized onion, pickles, barbecue sauce and mustard on brioche.

Flatbreads, coffee, juices, smoothies and more are also available.

Chef Lizz Wright, a Little Black Pearl board member and singer-songwriter, also offers a weekly dinner box program for $22 a person. Customers can call for a new menu every week featuring proteins, grains and desserts, with pickups Tuesdays and Fridays.

Credit: Provided
Chef Lizz Wright designed Carver 47’s menu, inspired by her Southern upbringing and travel abroad.

“A lot of families are having to cook for their young children that are home all day now for school,” Haslip said. “We can become the personal chefs for the whole community, providing beautifully prepared meals that they can pick up or we can deliver a couple times a week.”

A Christmas dinner box will also be available starting at $44 for two people, featuring a choice of meatball, vegetarian or vegan lasagna with a frisee and red leaf lettuce.

“Especially during the holidays when stresses are high, C47 is a beacon of support to help families experience joy together at the dinner table,” Wright said in a statement. “Food offers a sense of community and communion.”

The automaker Mini provided cars for the café’s reopening, which will allow for free delivery of the weekly dinner boxes so customers can follow social distancing and stay at home guidelines, Haslip said.

“People are trying to figure out how not to go to five different places [to feed themselves] during this pandemic,” she said.

The café, which first opened in 2017, moved across Little Black Pearl’s 47th Street property and has its own entrance on the west side of the building, Haslip said.

An $85,725 grant from the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund in 2018 allowed for renovations such as interior improvements and bathrooms.

Graduate students at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business helped draft a business plan so Carver 47 could navigate the pandemic economy, Haslip said. She said the café’s success depends largely on its community engagement.

“Reopening this cafe, for us, is an opportunity to demonstrate resilience,” Haslip said. “This is a very difficult time for all of us, and we want to serve as an example of possibilities.”

In addition to serving as a space for the culinary arts, Carver 47 will serve as a space for local artists to sell pottery and home goods. The café also employs students of Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy — the center’s on-site, STEAM-focused public school — through an internship program.

Little Black Pearl’s mission “has always been to expand the community’s access to the arts” with a focus on entrepreneurship and education, Haslip said. “The café really is an extension of all of those things.”

Credit: Facebook
Pastries on display at Carver 47’s Kenwood storefront.

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