St. Rest #2 Country Kitchen soul food restaurant in Chatham celebrates 50 years

Jasmine Minor Image
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Chatham soul food restaurant celebrates 50 years
During Black History Month 2024, the St. Rest #2 Country Kitchen soul food restaurant in Chatham is celebrating 50 years on Chicago's South Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- St. Rest #2 Country Kitchen in Chatham is a family-owned restaurant celebrating 50 years.

The family has a long legacy of hard work and determination dating back to slavery.

The legacy of Daniella Coffey's father, Larry Hopkins, lives in the food, the people and the spirit of serving at St. Rest #2.

"He was a sharecropper," Coffey said. "He would make cotton. So at 12 years old, he had a vision that he was going to be his own entrepreneur."

Now his vision is hers to take on.

"My father closed his eyes April 11, 2021," Coffey said. "He died in my arms, last breath."

Coffey took over the family business just months before his passing. She said at just 19-years-old her father opened the restaurant with his wife, Sophia Hopkins.

"The bible said let the good override the bad," Hopkins said. "So that's what we did. We overrode the bad."

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From picking cotton to creating the place they say "the saints come to rest."

The restaurant is open just three days a week and welcomes long lines around the corner for those craving true southern-style soul food.

"The smothered pork chops, the ox tails... collard greens," Coffey's niece Angel Chatham said.

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However, the dream wasn't always easy. When Coffey took over, the restaurant was $600,000 in debt. Her husband pulled money from his 401k and sold their house, dedicating themselves to the business.

'In less than a year we were 600 plus thousand dollars out of debt, and the property has paid off in full."

"I pray to God I will live to see the business go higher and higher," Hopkins said.

In this case, higher means bigger.

"We can really see expanding and bringing in breakfast and making that a training and development center for entrepreneurs," Coffey said.

She has big dreams for St. Rest, but most of all she hopes her father is proud.

"I believe he would say, 'baby girl, I told you, you could,'" Coffey said.