Theres a new food movement in Englewood, Chicago. Howard Bailey is bringing healthier food options to the area. Bailey, an Englewood resident, found it difficult to locate fresh food in the area, so he opened up the Dream Cafe & Grille, serving up healthier alternatives with the help of Chef Russell Moore, who was a finalist on the PBS show, Cooking Under Fire, in 2005.
Bailey, 46, a former nightclub owner, created a family-friendly, sit down restaurant with Dream Cafe. We opened Martin Luther King Day 2015 (January 19), he says. And it is self-funded. The restaurant has been funded by blood, sweat, and tears–No grants (yet) and no loans, he explains. On the menu are such items as sandwiches with grilled, jerk, or Moroccan chicken; Caesar salads with salmon, steak, or chicken; brown rice, ranch-style mashed potatoes, egg rolls stuffed with collard green and mac & cheese are side dishes.
Besides our egg rolls stuffed with collard greens, jerk chicken and mac & cheese, our best seller is a Fletcher Salad which consists of our fire-roasted veggies on top of a salad and served with Jerk Chicken or Blackened Salmon, says Bailey. The most surprising thing is the amount of veggies that we serve, especially since other restaurants seem to see it as a waste of time and money.
And the Dream Cafe has been a success, so much so that Bailey is trying to keep up with the demand. The biggest challenge for us is keeping up with the demand and being consistent about the food we serve especially since everything is fresh and made from scratch, he shares.
Bailey says he opened the Dream Cafe to help do something in his community. I graduated from Hope Academy that’s located a few blocks away and I wanted something that the community could connect with, so with Having Hope and Kennedy-King as neighbors Dream Cafe seemed only appropriate, he says.
Looking ahead Bailey has big plans for his Dream Cafe concept. Long term goals are to open up in other underserved but deserving communities and to show people that they can eat healthier without spending an arm and a leg, he says.