A Few Words About Our Restaurant
Listen closely to the stories you will hear as you dine at Tom’s Place!
The word on the street is that the walls will whisper history to you. Built in 1883, the storefront has served as a grocery store, a chamber of commerce, a beauty salon, and more, serving the hardworking people employed at the Union Stockyards, and those who followed, all with dreams of a better life. The stories of the people, past and present, continue to be shared over a simple meal. The warmth of Tom’s Place reaffirms the art of conversation and storytelling, and the exchange of resources.
Tom himself (b. 1922, d. 2017) as the father of one of the owners, visited the neighborhood often, cooking pancakes for the young people around, encouraging them in their education and job skills development.
Serving breakfast and lunch, Tom’s Place aims to nurture the development of workforce skills in the community youth, with special connections to the culinary programs of nearby Richards HS and Juarez HS, as well as Kennedy-King City College. After restaurant hours, workshops and discussion groups on neighborhood organizing, parenting, housing needs and more will keep the place lively.
Pull Up A Chair
Our Story And How It All Started
Bruce and Angie, with a combined 65 years living and working in the Back of the Yards, long have had a dream of offering a space where people could come in and share stories and touch their spark of life. Angie pictured running a plant store, while Bruce dreamed of flipping pancakes and talking to people while doing so. Maria, a longtime friend and collaborator, challenged Bruce in 2018 to stop dreaming and start making it happen. And so Bruce, with the support of Angie and Maria, pursued resources to make this possible.
The purchase of this historic Back of the Yards business/residence, along with a Chicago Neighborhood Opportunities Fund grant in 2019, secured the starting point of the project. Despite the many challenges as a result of the Covid pandemic that started at about the same time as the start of the rebuilding, Bruce and Angie kept their vision fixed on the goal and are excited to begin to welcome guests in the Fall of 2021.