BRONZEVILLE — The owner of the Silver Room on 53rd Street in Hyde Park is preparing to open a restaurant, wine bar and cultural space in his home neighborhood of Bronzeville this summer.
The Bronzeville Winery is tentatively set to open at 4420 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in July. It’s headed by the Silver Room’s owner Eric Williams and managing partner Cecilia Cuff.
The restaurant will feature a menu of comfort food and a wine list curated by Anika Ellison, “one of the few Black women sommeliers,” Williams said. It will seat about 180 people; 110 can fit inside the storefront, while an outdoor patio space can seat another 70.
A small stage for “eclectic” musicians and DJs to set the ambience will be on-site, along with a rotating gallery for local artists.
“There’s always room for other things beyond music,” from community conversations and events to poetry readings — “if something makes sense with somebody in the community, I’m always down to do it,” Williams said.
The Bronzeville Winery will open in a storefront in the 4400 Grove development, an 84-unit affordable housing complex that opened in October.
“We’ve had an impact in Hyde Park, and I want to do the same and be a catalyst for development in Bronzeville,” he said. “I’d kind of call it the sister restaurant to the Silver Room. If you like the vibe of the Silver Room, if you like the vibe of the block party, that’s gonna be the vibe of this wine bar.”
Williams lives four blocks from the space, and tried to develop a concept through which “people who live in the immediate area can benefit,” he said.
Williams said he hopes to open the restaurant on the third Saturday in July; that’s traditionally the day of the Silver Room Block Party, which was canceled this year with its future in Hyde Park in question. But an opening date is not set in stone, he said.
The Quad Communities Development Corporation focused on attracting minority-owned and “mom-and-pop” tenants, like the Bronzeville Winery and the Sarah Kuenyefu Collection, to 4400 Grove’s retail and commercial spaces. Each storefront will be operated by people of color, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in the fall.
“We need to see successes in our community to know they’re possible,” Williams said. “I’m not no magic man who came from outer space. I’m just some regular dude … who has ideas, and I would hope that these things help others to spark their ideas also.”
The Bronzeville Winery received a $250,000 Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant last summer.
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