ENGLEWOOD — From egg rolls stuffed with collard greens or mac and cheese to salmon and brown rice, Howard Bailey promises his new American/Caribbean restaurant will offer both creative and healthy cuisine not typically seen in Englewood.
Dream Cafe & Grille, 748 W. 61st St., opened to the public on Monday. Bailey, who used to own a nightclub, said he wanted to give the community an alternative to the food chains that are spread throughout Englewood.
“Everything is made here on the premises, nothing is frozen, nothing is canned, everything is made from scratch and locally sourced,” he said.
Bailey, an Englewood resident, knows firsthand how difficult it can be to find fresh foods in the community. When he found himself starting to gain weight, he attempted to eat better, but said there were no healthy food choices near his home.
The restaurant’s menu includes sandwiches with grilled, jerk or Moroccan chicken. There are Caesar salads that have salmon, steak or chicken. Brown rice is a side dish, along with ranch-style mashed potatoes.
Among the more creative appetizers on the menu are the collard green egg rolls. Bailey also makes egg rolls stuffed with mac ‘n' cheese.
He said he wouldn’t be able to offer the community the alternative if it weren’t for his chef, Russell Moore, who was a finalist on the PBS show, “Cooking Under Fire,” in 2005. Moore, 46, is also an Englewood resident.
“We’re trying to touch some of the best and favorite cuisines throughout the entire world and bring it together under one menu with a healthy twist to it,” Moore said.
Being able to offer Englewood healthier alternatives is also important to him, he said.
“This neighborhood is known as a food desert, where it is almost difficult or next to impossible to find healthy options,” Moore said. “A lot of the things you’re stuck with getting inside of 10-mile radius are pizza puffs and soda,” he said.
Moore said Dream Cafe & Grille hopes to make it so residents don’t have to travel Downtown for high-quality food.
“We’re doing things like infusing Southern belle with Asian to make our collard green egg rolls. We also have a slightly nontraditional mac and cheese. It has fire-roasted harvest corn, roasted red bell pepper, baby spinach and four different cheeses all folded into one,” he said.
Bailey encourages people to come out.
“I'm not going to give someone a frozen patty and some French fries with a whole bunch of preservatives in it. Our burgers are made here, our fries are cut here, literally everything is done in-house, even our barbecue sauces and ketchups,” he said.
“We try to stay true to the freshness,” he said.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
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