WICKER PARK — A popular South Side restaurant offering “soul food with a twist” is coming to Wicker Park.
Oooh Wee It Is opens Nov. 15 at the former Angry Pig Tavern, 2039 W. North Ave.
The restaurant’s menu will include items like jerk chicken tips and pot roast cupcakes, as well as a massive cereal bar with more than 100 varieties.
Oooh Wee It Is opened its first location last fall in south suburban Burnham, followed by an expansion to the old Mather’s Cafe in Chatham in February.
Co-owner Mark Walker says Wicker Park offers a challenge to “go against the grain” and attract new clientele.
“We did market research in that area … and there’s not too many restaurants like ours,” said Walker, who operates Oooh Wee It Is with his wife Shae. “We thought the Wicker Park area would be a great place to plant our feet at this point. So North Avenue and Damen, I don’t think they know what’s coming yet.”
The new location will feature unique entrees, live bands and DJs, board games and more.
“We’re going to add some new new stuff, of course, to appeal to the neighborhood, and the demographics as well,” Walker said. “We plan on doing lobster and jerk chicken pop tarts, where actually we bring it to your table in a toaster oven. … We’re doing oxtail sliders over there that we don’t do nowhere else.”
Walker first entered the restaurant industry in 2014, when he started selling homemade sweet tea at a Harold’s Chicken on 87th Street near the Dan Ryan.
He’s since expanded the tea business, the success of which propelled the Walkers to open their restaurant in the middle of the pandemic. So far, the decision has paid off.
“We haven’t even been open a year. And I don’t know of any restaurant who has jumped this far in such a short period of time, but we’re trying to ride this ride as long as we can,” Walker said.
Oooh Wee It Is is also opening a new location in Beverly at the former Dat Donuts on 111th Street near Longwood Drive. Opening Dec. 1, Walker says it will be mostly takeout with some dine-in, and also act as a hub for the company’s food trucks and catering business.
The Walkers are even eyeing a possible fifth location near the future Obama Presidential Center in Woodlawn, as well as out of state locations in Atlanta and Houston.
“I never assumed that the success would be this massive,” Walker said. “So I take that as, there’s a need for it in the community. And then second, I take it that the food is good. And so yes, we’re doing very well.”
Walker says he hopes to hire employees who live in the neighborhood to work at the Wicker Park location. Anyone interested can send resumes to email@example.com.
Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: