HUMBOLDT PARK — As owner of a restaurant named Turkey Chop, it’s no wonder Quentin Love thought he had to do something extra special for Thanksgiving, and that led him to give away a free turkey brunch to all in the neighborhood who needed one.
“I give back every day. It’s important to reach out to the people of the community and let them know we’re here. And what better day to do it than Thanksgiving,” Love said.
The restaurant at 3506 W. Chicago Ave., which serves no pork or red meat, opened in February. On Thursday, Turkey Chop partnered with community group Ceasefire and the West Humboldt Park Development Council to provide more than 300 meals for the poor and homeless of the neighborhood.
The meal, which included turkey, corn, red beans and rice, green beans, pumpkin pie and caramel cake, was well received by those who came.
“I mean, the turkey was good, but these string beans were the best for me,” said Dee Connor, 40, who just recently got out of jail and is without a job.
“It’s real good, it’s real positive for the neighborhood,” said 33-year-old Maine Moss, a father of five who’s also currently unemployed.
Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) –- whose ward office donated 10 turkeys for Thursday’s meal –- was also on hand with son Walter in tow, to help hand out meals and mingle with residents.
“They're overloaded with volunteers. I think it’s a wonderful thing to see so many people, who could be at home with their families, taking the sacrifice and coming out to make sure somebody else gets some help,” Burnett said.
In addition to providing Thursday’s meal, Love also teaches free Monday night cooking classes, open to anybody who wants to learn to create a healthy meal or just sharpen up on their knife-wielding skills.
Resident Sybil Roberts, a 56-year-old daycare worker who’s now in her second session of cooking classes, said the cooking lessons have been a real help.
“I’m still learning. I learned how to use the chef knife, so that was interesting. You cut it like this,” said Roberts, rocking her hand back and forth on the table.
“You should call this article ‘Doing Good in the Hood,’” said resident Antwone Winfield, a self-processed Turkey Chop regular who volunteered Thursday.
“There’s nothing like it around here,” Winfield said of Turkey Chop. Love is "re-teaching people how to eat and how to live.”
For those in the neighborhood who missed Turkey Chop's meal, The Salvation Army Mobile Unit will also be handing out free meals at Chicago and Spaulding avenues starting at 4 p.m. For more information call Tamika Brown at 312-421-5753.