Two, black-owned Chicago eateries came together to open their second locations in Orland Park on January 30. Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat and Phlavz Bar and Grille, created a cross blend of the two establishments. Laricia Chandler Baker (aka Chef Fab), owner of CBINM and Phlavz co-owners, Andrew Bonsu and Phil Simpson, teamed up to offer the south suburb a dining experience for customers with different food preferences, prepared in two separate kitchens, and served in one dining area.
Last year, both restaurants celebrated their first year in business. The owners are grateful to be able to start 2021 off by expanding after so many restaurants had to close their doors or downsize in 2020 due to the many changes in the industry brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We really do not know how to run a restaurant business outside of a pandemic. To be able to prosper during this time is amazing," shares Phil Simpson, co-owner of Phlavz Bar & Grille. "We would not be expanding without support from our family, friends, and the community. It is important to me and my business partners to be an example to others. This is what you can accomplish when you work hard on your dreams."
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, community and business leaders were present. The 2021 Orland Chamber of Commerce President, Joyce Bibeau, presented the owners with new members' plaques and welcomed them to the Chamber. Dr. Cornel Darden, Jr., President/CEO of Southland Black Chamber of Commerce & Industry, closed out the ceremony, applauding them on their new endeavor. The Village of Orland Park Mayor, Keith Pekau, was the first customer served after the ribbon cutting.
"It's always good to add new businesses to our area. We have a lot of big companies and chain stores in Orland Park as you can look over there and see more, however, it's the locally-owned restaurants that add a unique touch to make the community special," says Mayor Keith Pekau. "Especially during these times for you to choose to open here with us, we are honored and we wish you only success."
Local residents can order online directly from both locations and through common food delivery services. Indoor dining is permitted with limited capacity and they ask that masks are worn when not eating and customers maintain social distancing.