Charles Mayfield, the social equity owner of CESAM LLC and The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, have opened the doors to a new concept – OKAY Cannabis – at 781 N. Milwaukee in Wheeling, Illinois. This collaboration between the restaurant group and a dispensary licensee brings a cannabis dispensary, a café, and cocktail offerings under one roof. It also marks the restaurant group's first suburban establishment.
OKAY Cannabis is a lifestyle concept. In addition, there is an event space that will be activated with educational and community-focused events.
OKAY Cannabis is 93% BIPOC-owned. Charles Mayfield, the social equity owner, is a 24-year United States Air Force veteran and lifelong public servant. In addition, OKAY will be working with a Chicago-based violence prevention organization to create pathways for employment, career, and wealth-building. The dispensary will also work with a diverse group of cultivators to select their inventory, including flower, pre-rolls, gummies, topicals, and more. The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group and their social equity partners plan to open two more OKAY Cannabis locations – in West Town and Evanston – in the coming months.
The nearly 12,000 square-foot space was collaboratively designed by Jaime Magaliff of Eastlake Studio, with Erik Attkisson and Satellite-Agency collaborating on the design and leading the OKAY branding efforts. Ownership approached their first location looking to create a colorful environment with a link between hospitality, dining, and cannabis.
"By combining a real cannabis dispensary and bakery/cocktail bar under one roof, we're really trying to create more of a gathering place that people can make a part of their lives whether they are there to buy cannabis or not," shared Scott Weiner, co-founder of the Fifty/50 group. "We are the only dispensary in Illinois and one of the first in the nation that has a liquor license attached to it. We plan to weave the hospitality we're known for at our restaurants into OKAY Cannabis, creating a newly conceived destination that serves the needs of many."
"My goal has always been to open a cannabis dispensary that became a part of people's lives. So many concepts focus on getting people in and out. I believed there was an opportunity to do more. I want people to stay, relax, and just be OKAY."
West Town Bakery was founded in 2011 and features has pastries, cakeballs, artisan breads, and other sweets. They offer Dark Matter Coffee at all of their locations and this will be the 4th location to also serve cocktails. Certified Master Baker, Chris Teixeira, along with pastry chef Kaitlynn Johnson will also be introducing a new line of sandwiches, cookies, and entremets to the menu in Wheeling. They plan to roll out a brunch menu in the early spring for those looking to hang out on the more than 100-person outdoor patio.
Guests must be 21 years of age to enter OKAY Cannabis Dispensary. Both OKAY Cannabis and West Town Café + Bar will be open daily from 8am-9pm.