Chicago entrepreneur bringing popular southern restaurant’s first location to Chicago’s South Side


Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined local entrepreneur Siraj Elahi of American Antwan Land, LLC, for a groundbreaking ceremony for Chicago’s first Huddle House restaurant on the south side.

The Calumet Heights neighborhood will be the chain’s first Chicago location on a newly developed five-acre site at 9401 S Stony Island that will also be home to the Montclare Senior Residence, a seven-story, mixed income independent living development.

Huddle House will operate 24 hours a day and bring up to 80 permanent jobs to the neighborhood.

The estimated $3.2 million project was awarded $1.1 million in Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) Grant assistance in 2019.

Announced in 2016, NOF grants were designed to strengthen neighborhoods by leveraging development in and around downtown toward investment in Chicago’s South and West sides.

The NOF uses these grants to support development in commercial corridors in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods.

Once open, Huddle House will be one of only two eateries in the 8th Ward with a dine-in option, serving a critical need for food alternatives within the Calumet Heights community.

Based in Atlanta, Huddle House restaurants have earned adoration in their communities for their warm, friendly atmospheres where every conversation, sip of coffee and bite of home-cooked meals are savored.

Known for its delicious breakfast, Southern hospitality and big portions at fair prices, Huddle House embeds itself into every community it serves by bringing friends and families together over delicious food, served from the heart.

Siraj Elahi, a Chicago entrepreneur and developer with more than 30 years in the food and beverage industry wanted to bring Huddle House to Chicago to address the lack of breakfast options for residents on the city’s South Side, while also creating jobs for neighborhood residents.

In addition to grant assistance for construction costs, the NOF award includes a Local Hiring Bonus, which reimburses up to 25% of total eligible project costs for the hiring and training of local employees.

African American firm of Brown & Momen will serve as the general contractor, and project will create up to 60 temporary construction jobs. Following the opening of the Calumet Heights’ location, Elahi plans to open two additional Huddle House restaurants in the Chicago area, each bringing up to 80 permanent jobs.

In February, Mayor Lightfoot announced reforms to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, to increase grant funding for new construction projects to enable more capital for individual community improvements along the South, West and Southwest side commercial corridors as part of the city’s Invest South/West initiative.

The initiative creates a network of communities for planned growth, with priority projects identified by the community, for the community.

These projects may include new retail, transportation, parks and other infrastructure and quality of life investments for local residents.

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