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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gladys' Luncheonette


If I drive thru the Bronzeville neighborhood I might run by this abandoned restaurant on 4527 S. Indiana. I wonder when this place closed but the owner, Gladys Holcomb passed away in 2003. The person who took this photo (by Curtis Locke on Flickr) said that she served her soul food on the south side of Chicago for 52 years.

Attached to this is a resolution by the Illinois General Assembly of course I can't figure out when this was written and passed. Surely this happened not too long after Mrs. Holcomb's death in 2003. I was surprised to find out some of the luminaries who ate at this place...
WHEREAS, Gladys' Luncheonette became one of the most popular "soul food" restaurants in the Midwest, known for its delicious fried chicken, smothered chicken, smothered pork chops, peach cobbler, "melt-in-your-mouth" biscuits, and other down home, southern delicacies; many famous people were known to dine at the Luncheonette including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lou Rawls, Redd Foxx, Governor Jim Thompson, Della Reese, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Gladys Knight, and a host of others...
The food must have been that good with all the luminaries going to this place, especially the governor of Illinois.

Here's another nice picture of the building from David Schalliol on Flickr!

15 comments:

Bill Baar said...

It was good... I worked all the way over at Herrington and King Peforating on West Fillmore near Austin on the swing shift and guys would drive all the way over to get carry out. It was a real institution...

Anonymous said...

I worked at glady's for 12yrs beginning in 1976.I've meet politicians, entertainers,pastors as well underworld figures.Glady's was a tough little lady but extremely giving.

She was very proud of the resolution pictured.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is a sad thing with someone like Mrs. Hocomb dies and leaves the resturant to her adopted daughter from Africa. The heiress of he resturant name is also Gladys. They heiress had just let the resturant go; all the money has been dranked up; she is drunk every day and all she does is sleeps on Conselate General of Liberia Africa's couch daily. It's a shame that black businesses can't continue to go on. The bible said it best; "A Fool and His Money will soon depart"! Clasic case of a foolish person. So full of pride and arrogance. It reminds me of the Prodical Son! I hope someone either buy's the place and fix it up and bring Gladys back or either the city need's to tear it down because it is an eyesore to the community!

Anonymous said...

Yes...I too heard the girl from Africa, Gladys was an alchoholic an on drugs too. It is a shame because my Church did a serman on black businesses that need to come back to the community. If we are waiting for the adopted daughter Gladys Sesay to open the business and keep Mrs. Holcolm's legacy alive, don't hold your breath. Gladys Sesay is a shameful drunk and she is homeless. It reminds me of the movie Lady Sings the Blues with Billie Holiday. It is a damn shame that the torch was passed on to her. It would be best that someone comes in to either save it or tear it down. Damn shame. I too loved the food but Pride always comes before destruction or the fall of man!

Sharon

stephen douglas said...

Its true...Little Gladys inherited the resturant and she is a lazy bumb always begging and feels so entitled that people should give her something because she is Gladys Holcomb's adopted daughter. Its embarrasing to see her come down so low because of stupidity.

Anonymous said...

I have known Little Gladys for over 26 years and it is a shame that people are still envious of her even in bad times. They have to go the extend to fabricate lies. God is Good because He will always show you who your enemies are. Friends of Little Gladys know and can testify that she is nothing as mentioned. (Those words are not even worth repeating.)

Mark Dahl said...

As a personal friend of Little Gladys I can honestly say that she is one of the sweetest, kindest and most generous person I've known. Apparently, whoever wrote some of the previous posts have never met or hardly know Gladys. Perhaps these posts were written because of hate or ignorance; either way it is an indictment against them, not Gladys.

Anonymous said...

Well I have to admit, I used to work at the resturant and I was there when Pam Zeckman came to shut the place down because of a major rat problems. Mrs. Holcomb had already died and left the resturant to little Gladys. Little Gladys was very mean and still owes me money and she was very lazy, greedy and triffling. I wish the city would just tear down the building so that someone that cares will do something. Little Gladys is never going to do anything but drink drink and sleep and sleep. She is a bum. I saw her from a distance at a grocery and she is all swollen from being an alchoholic. Maybe if she would have just fed Dorothy Tillman and the inspectors, she would be open. She was too mean and stupid and wouldn't play the political game.

Anonymous said...

I too saw the rat segment on channel 2 by Pam Zeckman. There was rat droppings in the food and all over the counters. And when the mother died, the adopted girl from Africa had all these foreign Africans serving people and cooking peas and rice. It looked like she was trying to compete with her adopted mother. If soul food was a staple in that resturant for 50 years why would she come and change it? That was so rediculois! Just plain ole stupid! No business sense at all!

Lawrence

Anonymous said...

I did not have the pleasure of meeting Gladys, but now as a member of this community realize how she and the legacy of her famous restaurant impacted the lives of this community. I did, however, meet and had several conversations with Mr. Holcomb. He was a gentleman in the truest since of the word. It is unfortunate the restaurant did not pass on successfully to their heirs. What is also unfortunate is the fact that this building is abandoned, decrepit and a common place for illicit activity. Vagrants and transients continue to sleep there rendering this building unsafe for our community. This building should be demolished. I welcome other opinions.

Anonymous said...

I did not have the pleasure of meeting Gladys, but now as a member of this community realize how she and the legacy of her famous restaurant impacted the lives of this community. I did, however, meet and had several conversations with Mr. Holcomb. He was a gentleman in the truest since of the word. It is unfortunate the restaurant did not pass on successfully to their heirs. What is also unfortunate is the fact that this building is abandoned, decrepit and a common place for illicit activity. Vagrants and transients continue to sleep there rendering this building unsafe for our community. This building should be demolished. I welcome other opinions.

Anonymous said...

I am in total agreement with 4527 South Indiana being torn down. There is all sorts of squaters living on the property. I also heard a homeless person almost set the property on fire back in February this year. It is obvious the family isn't going to do anything with it. I do appreciate history, in particular black history. But to have an eyesore property attracting crime and depreciating the value of neighboring property, is worse than anything. How about demolishing the property and putting up a sign saying this is where the original Gladys Luncheonette use to be? I have small children and I don't want anything to happen to them while they are walking to school on this block. I brought into the condominum concept 5 years ago and it is rediculous spending this much money and living on the same block with these types of properties that really should be condemned. I think everyone would agree to this. I am sorry for being so blunt.

charles

Anonymous said...

Idea! What about getting some share holders together and reopening the restaurant.

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome idea.....if it isn't too late! My condolences that the daughter too just died and who knows what is going to happen to her mother's legacy. It was a staple in the community and a Landmark.

mel schnapper said...

I'm trying to locate "little Gladys" who I dated while in Chicago in 1985. I'm mel@schnapper.com HELP! from anyone.

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