Pullman/Roseland Community Celebrates First New Stand-Alone Restaurant in Over 30 Years
A national favorite is serving nearby new businesses, residents, and visitors at the Pullman National Monument
November 8, 2021 (Chicago, IL) – Baron Waller, the Chicago entrepreneur who envisioned the site, joined today with city officials and members of the Pullman/Roseland community to celebrate the grand opening of the new Culver’s, and the first new stand-alone restaurant in the area in more than 30 years, at the corner of 111th Street and Doty Avenue.
9th Whbbard Alderman Anthony Beale expressed the excitement that has surrounded the grand opening: “For years the community has worked to convince a restauranteur to come to the Pullman/Roseland area. We are delighted that we have an exciting new destination for residents, visitors to the National Monument, and for the hundreds of people working in Pullman Park and the nearby businesses.”
The new 4,300 square foot Culver’s is the first free standing restaurant built in Pullman/Roseland in more 30 years and is the third Culver’s location in Chicago for owner Baron Waller. The development was financed by a New Markets Tax Credit investment from Chase, a $250,000 Neighborhood Opportunity Grant awarded to Waller from the City of Chicago, and additional resources from Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) and the Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF).
Waller, Culver’s largest African American franchise owner, owns a location in Bronzeville and another in the Ravenswood and Lincoln Square community and is hoping to open an additional location on the north and west side of the city in 2022. In addition to the city locations, Mr. Waller also owns three Culver’s restaurants in the southwest suburbs.
“We’re proud to have the opportunity to support Baron Waller and the development of Culver’s in Pullman/Roseland along with CNI and CCLF,” said Kevin Goldsmith, Director of Tax Credit and Intermediaries Lending at Chase. “It’s exciting to contribute to the revitalization of a historic neighborhood through a project so well aligned with our firm’s $30 billion racial equity commitment.”
The new Culver’s featuring 124 indoor seats, patio seating, and a drive-thru lane and window, is joining Lexington Betty Smokehouse and Majani’s Soulful Vegan Cuisine that serve the community at the One Eleven Food Hall, and a Potbelly’s within the 111th Street Gateway Retail Center that CNI developed. David Doig, CNI President, who with the Ryan Companies redeveloped the former 180-acre Ryerson Steel site on which Culver’s is the last retail development on the property, says the very fact that attracting a restaurant to the area took years, is a lesson to all.
“CNI has worked with Alderman Beale, U.S. Bank, and Ryan Companies for years to create the conditions that instilled the market with confidence which drew Culver’s to corner of Doty and 111th,” said Doig. “This is a great day for our community and the city because our strategy of creating retail and industrial jobs, building and renovating housing, recreation, and educational opportunities are working, and despite the long odds and pundits’ pronouncements, Pullman/Roseland are rebounding, and there is more to come.”
The national chain was launched in 1984 when Craig Culver along with his family opened the first Culver’s in the family’s hometown of Sauk City, WI. They built their reputation on providing great cooked-to-order food with an emphasis on service, hospitality, and community involvement. Their signature items include the Butterburger and Fresh Frozen Custard. Today, there are more than 775 locations in 25 states, including two in Chicago and many more in the Chicago-region. “I’m so excited that Baron has brought Culver’s to this community,” said Rick Silva, Culver’s President and CEO.
“I am thrilled to becoming part of the Pullman/Roseland community because it so significant to the African American experience and to our city and nation’s history,” said Baron Waller. “We are bringing the Culver’s mission to life in the Pullman/Roseland community and offering a neighborhood amenity where every guest who chooses Culver’s leaves happy.”
Commissioner Maurice Cox complimented the events of the day: “Alderman Beale, CNI, Chase, and all the community partners have demonstrated that integrated strategies of development – housing, jobs, recreation, and schools – do work. It attracts the confidence of businesses and entrepreneurs like Culver’s and Baron Waller and inspires us to replicate this success.”
Monday’s ribbon cutting and grand opening marked the latest new development by CNI in Pullman that is continuing to make Pullman one of the fastest growing employment areas in all of Chicago. These include the Gotham Greens 105,000 square foot greenhouse, which created 60 new jobs when it opened two years ago. Next to it is the first Opportunity Zone project completed on the Far South Side, the 400,000 square-foot SC Johnson distribution facility. Last May, the 38 live/work units within the new Pullman Artspace Lofts became fully occupied. And a year ago the city’s first Amazon Fulfillment Center opened and brought over 200 new jobs. Today’s opening celebration comes only two months after the Pullman National Monument site celebrated the completion of its new Visitor Center and State Factory grounds. The historic site is expected to attract 300,000 visitors annually and is conveniently located adjacent to Culver’s.
“Thanks to the Culver’s team and all of our community development partners, we have brought all the pieces together at the right time to move closer to what the Pullman/Roseland community has long had a ‘taste for” – a new Culver’s,” said 9th Ward Alderman Beale.