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WEST RIDGERS SAVOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD'S INTERNATIONAL CULINARY DELIGHTS

We often hear how diverse our neighborhood is – but a group of around forty West Ridgers and friends experienced this diversity for themselves on Wednesday, April 19, when the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce held its second neighborhood restaurant crawl. Participants travelled by bus to six restaurants, representing five countries.

We were divided into two groups, led by Irv Loundy and Edin Seferovic.  Both groups visited the same restaurants, though in a different order. Our group began the evening with a mouth-watering spread of black mushroom rice, fried pork with a spicy sauce and spicy cold slaw at Kizin Creole Restaurant, 2311 West Howard. (Kizin means ‘cuisine’ in Haitian Creole). The only Haitian restaurant in Illinois, it was opened four years ago.  

Our next stop was BBQ Supply Co. (formerly Rub BBQ), 6954 N. Western, which has recently been remodeled and expanded,  Here Dylan, director of restaurant operations for the restaurant group, sliced pieces of tender Snake River Farm waygu beef brisket smoked overnight in one of the restaurant’s wood smokers.  It was served with Texas toast, a slice of pickle and smoked chips.  Then we crossed Lunt Avenue to drop in at Lickity Split, 7000 N. Western, where diners had their choice of lemon (my selection —delicious!), vanilla and chocolate custard ice cream.

Our next stop took us to the western edge of West Ridge -- El Carrito, 6019 North Lincoln, a charming place serving the street food of Mexico City. Here we enjoyed tinga, a soft taco filled with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and cilantro. Our next stop was Turkish Cuisine, 2546 W. Peterson, where we were served a sumptuous vegetarian feast of dolma (stuffed grape leaves), hummus, eggplant in tomato sauce, and spinach pie with fresh homemade bread.  

Our final stop was Simi’s African Cuisine, 6310 N. Western Avenue, a Nigerian restaurant run by a charming couple who named it after their young daughter. The group enjoyed chinchi, crust bite sof pastry; jollof rice (rice cooked in a tomato sauce); fried plantain and plantain mixed with chicken gizzards, candied yam and egusi – spinach with melon seed which was a crowd favorite.  

The restaurant owners and servers were warm and welcoming and many in our party looked forward to a repeat visit. Thanks and congratulations to Irv Loundy and Edin Seferovic for organizing this wonderful event.  We all look forward to future programs, including a Curry Crawl and a Kosher Krawl.

Colleen Taylor Sen

Colleen Sen is a West-Ridge-based culinary historian and author six books. Her most recent book is Street Food: Everything you Need to Know About Open-air Stands, Carts, and Food Trucks Around the World. She is coeditor of The Chicago Food Encyclopedia, to be published by U of I Press in September.

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