CHICAGO (WLS) — One of the owners of a restaurant that’s been a staple in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood says they may be on the cusp of closing.
The owner of Josephine’s Southern Cooking said he’s in a tough spot.
While it’s been in the South Side community for nearly 40 years, the owner said if business continues the way that it is now, they will have to close some time this year.
The restaurant first opened its doors back in 1987 as “Captain Hard Times,” founded by Mother Josephine Wade.
It was recently rebranded as “Josephine’s Southern Cooking” under Wade’s son, Victor Love, who is now the owner.
“We’re going to fight. We’re fighting now,” Love said.
For decades, it was known as a must-stop visit for many public figures and local politicians, but after years of struggling to stay afloat, Love worries they could close the doors indefinitely.
ALSO SEE: ‘Miracle’: Daughter’s TikTok video brings influx of customers to mom’s empty taco shop
“My mother is heartbroken right now and that’s what this is. She’s given out of her lack. … we’re going to be alright. We’re going to be fine,” Love said.
He said for a little more than a decade, the 79th Street restaurant has faced financial woes caused by thing from low customer numbers to neighborhood crime, as well as COVID.
“This is about the last of the soul food restaurants in the community,” said longtime customer Gloria Washington. “There are very few places in the city that got homemade biscuits.”
“You’re talking about mouth-watering and delicious. People, once you get it, you come back and take a hit. Yes, it’s off the chain,” Love said.
Love said he is giving the restaurant this year to hopefully rebound, but if it doesn’t, he’ll have to close it. It’s a decision he said doesn’t come lightly.
“I’m just hoping that people will remember that, and come back in here by the groves and the floods,” Love said.
Love said if he has to close down the restaurant, it won’t be the last time you see Josephine’s. He said he’s working on new ventures using the name.
“We got some new direction around here. We got new people working,” he said.
Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.