Every once in a while I want some “good food”. No bells or whistles, just ol’ fashioned good food. That was my thought process when looking for a breakfast spot in Chicago. I knew I wanted something sweet and savory, but something that would keep me full most of the day. I decided to give some thought into dining at a Black-Owned Restaurant and I stumbled upon this spot.
Luella’s Gospel Bird, located off of Damen Avenue, is a sister location to the famous Luella’s Southern Kitchen. The owner Darnell, named this restaurant after his late grandmother Luella. His grandmother is from Mississippi, so that helped with more of the southern influences that are expressed throughout the menu. I decided to give this restaurant a shot because I wanted some authentic Shrimp and Grits and something sweet to go with it. During my visit I was able to chat with Chef Chance Bradley on what makes the dishes so unique. He suggested that I order the Shrimp and Grits as they are made with cream and cheese. He’s a Louisiana native so he knows a thing or two about southern dishes. The interior of this restaurant is literally like someones kitchen. It has such a home feel to it, that you have no choice but to believe the food you’re about to eat is made with love.
I decided to take his advice and get the Shrimp and Grits. These grits were some of the best I’ve had thus far. They were creamy, savory, buttery, and salty. The salty flavor came from the bacon that was incorporated into the dish. It worked really well with the ocean flavor of the Shrimp. The dish was presented in a small cast iron skillet so the cheese melted evenly with the grits from the warm of the pan. I would recommend this dish to anyone who values good southern cuisine.
The next dish that was ordered was the Blueberry and Brown Sugar French Toast. It consisted of homemade thick cut bread, comparable to a Challah Loaf. This sweet dish was dipped in milk before being drenched in secret spices and topped with fresh Blueberries. The syrup was a mixture between a sugary texture and a thick caramel sauce. The flavors of this dish was out of this world. The only thing that would’ve put this dish over the top would be homemade vanilla ice cream. There are plenty of places that offer an a la mode French Toast, so I think sticking to the roots of simplicity does this place well.
Overall, this is a place I’d go to a thousand times. This was genuinely good food and felt like you were in your grandmother’s kitchen. I appreciate good cooking as much as I do a Michelin-Star, but something about a Black Owned Southern inspired restaurant just does it for me.