Landmark Chicago restaurant closes its doors

February 4, 2011 3:01:07 PM PST
A legendary restaurant on Chicago's South Side has closed.

Army and Lou's opened back in 1945 and is thought to be one of the oldest black-owned restaurants in the Midwest.

The restaurant served its final meal last Sunday.

The owners blame the economy. They say people are not eating out as much.

"We'd run across the street and get some smothered chicken macaroni and cheese and some mashed potatoes and enjoy. We're gonna miss that," said Guy Smiley.

ABC7 found a hungry crowd at League Styles barbershop across the street. Many there grew up in the neighborhood and have early memories of the historic restaurant.

"They had the best greens in the city. It's gonna be a shame to see them leave, but somebody else has to step up to the plate," said Michael Walton .

Some in the community were surprised that a staple in the neighborhood would be shuttered.

"We really didn't know it was that dire in time to be able go in and do any interventions," said Ald. Fredrenna Lyle, Sixth Ward.

Alderman Lyle's ward office is on the same block. And her family was close to the first owners William and Luvilla Armstrong.

"They've been here longer than a lot of the businesses along most of the strips in the area," said Lyle.

Now efforts turn to finding other business owners to take up where Army and Lou's left off.

"We hope the anything that comes into community would be equal to or greater. Army and Lou's will be missed," said Ronald Stewart, Park Manor Neighborhood Community Council.

"It is important for the city of Chicago to look for ways to support our small businesses. Many of them are drowning," said Miguel DelValle, mayoral candidate.

Although the restaurant is closed, Army and Lou's is still operating as a catering business.