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New Black owned joint venture in Orland Park!

New Black owned joint venture in Orland Park! We love to hear about powerful Black brands collaborating. Check out the newest restaurant addition to Orland Park, Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat and Phlavz. Whether you are looking for soulful vegan food or amazing caribbean, this spot has it for you. We LOVE the energy of the young entrepreneurs who started this. Make sure you support!

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Just in time for Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s area-wide ease of COVID-19 dine-in restrictions on restaurants, a trio of Black entrepreneurs are teaming up to bring a new vegan/jerk food concept to Orland Park.

Phil Simpson and Andrew Bonsu, co-owners of University Village-based restaurant Phlavz Bar & Grille (717 W. Maxwell St.), and Laricia Chandler Baker, the owner of Hyde Park vegan/vegetarian eatery Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat (1368 1/2 E. 53rd St.) plan to open a hybrid location (24 Orland Sq. Drive) at noon Saturday.

Separately, Bonsu and Simpson — who met while working various gigs in the music industry —and Baker were unknowingly searching for business locations in Orland Park before deciding to collaborate.

Andrew Bonsu (left) and Phil Simpson are co-owners of University Village-based restaurant Phlavz Bar & Grille.
 Foto Mack-Media

The trio says their businesses have “thrived” during the pandemic, inspiring the ideas of expansion.

“I think we always wanted to do things together,” said Bonsu, who’s eatery specializes in jerk food and drink options such as their signature drinks “Blacker the Berry” and “Phlavz Punch.”

“Growing up together [with Baker] we always wanted to do business but the timing of this showed itself; we said let’s do it together.”

And Baker, a self-taught chef who’s nicknamed “Chef Fab,” says the eatery will have separate kitchens to prepare food, while customers can utilize a shared dining space.

“We won’t be cross contaminating; we have one big building and Phil and Andrew will have their kitchen and I have mine, too,” said Baker, who went to Northern Illinois University with Bonsu. “The vegans can feel comfortable knowing that it’s one room, but two kitchens.”

Instead of bashing Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot for implementing restrictions tough on gig economy eateries, the trio decided to focus on the things they can control. And while so many businesses in the Chicago area have either downsized — or shuttered for good — the trio counts their blessings.

“We’re looking forward to expanding even more,” said Simpson. “It’s truly a blessing because we know that we survived. If we can survive this pandemic, we can survive anything.”

Laricia Chandler Baker, owner of Hyde Park vegan/vegetarian eatery Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat.
 Shaun Michael Photo

This article has been reposted from The Chicago Sun Times

I am the CEO of WDB Marketing, a full-service marketing company that specializes in brand management, graphic design, marketing solutions and full-service printing. I am proud to say we manufacture all of our print services in-house, making us the first African American owned full-service printing manufacturing in the South Suburbs. To date WDB Marketing has proudly serviced over 5,000 businesses and entrepreneurs in industries such as retail, professional services and not-for-profit. Our past and current client include the Chicago Urban League, Flavor Restaurant, the Chicago Defender, Just Turkey franchise and WVON 1690AM.

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