5 Loaves Eatery, a quaint community restaurant nestled in the heart and soul of the Chatham Community, has been a part of the tapestry of the South Side of Chicago for nearly 18 years.
Having survived many setbacks throughout that time, and way before Covid-19 set in, 5 Loaves’ love for its community and vision of pouring into the community has fueled its perseverance until its most recent hurdle - being closed down by the City of Chicago due to past debts that weren’t handled. At the time, the funds needed to be redistributed to stay afloat and cover increased operational costs including: staffing, inventory and food costs.
Having made it through the initial part of the pandemic, as many restaurants had to do by jumping through hoops and pivoting, our family restaurant has adjusted and readjusted to stay open and serve our customers. While many haven’t understood what that looks like behind the scenes, it’s included the very difficult decision to shut down our dining room (oh how we've missed serving our guest), while basically handing over our business model to delivery platforms that cut into 30-40% of sales - until this year when the cut was temporarily decreased to 15% (nearly a year into the pandemic).
This began the domino effect as 5 Loaves would have to cancel lunch, due to the beginning of the staffing shortage and product scarcity, which resulted in an additional cut in sales and an increase of stress for our matriarch and Owner and Operator, Constance Simms-Kincaid, as our family continued working to stay open.
All the while, 5 Loaves was being denied financing from the very bank it had been with since day one. As for other funding, 5 Loaves received just enough each time it applied for grants and loans, to keep it afloat for a few more weeks. They accredited that to God’s miracles - the very concept on which the restaurant was founded.
Unfortunately, the latter part of this story is so familiar to many businesses at this time but especially the small businesses and restaurants like 5 Loaves Eatery. 5 Loaves has now been closed for nearly 3 months. It’s first inception was due to staffing and illnesses; but the real hardship has come now that Uncle Sam has come to collect and the cash till is empty. PLEASE donate towards 5 Loaves Eatery’s return of being bigger and better! We love our community and this will be the biggest miracle to date. These funds will be used to lift the debt of 5 Loaves Eatery and for its reopening cost which include:
82K to cover the additional fees and penalties tacked on by ST1s
40K to pay towards the payment plan of 200K, necessary to reopen
6K to return a loan given by family - plus additional interest
20K to bring back 5 Loaves with a highly trained staff - allowing us to offer competitive wages, to assist with operating cost and to clear past debts incurred in the last 3 months
To begin the fundraising campaign we’re setting our initial goal to allow us to cover debt and fees needed to reopen with a somewhat clean slate. We hope to increase our goal as the fundraiser gains traction and aim to gain these funds going into the beginning of next year.
Why is this important?
5 Loaves was originally founded on the idea of providing a safe and welcoming space for people to break bread while discussing and planning change within its community. Beyond this, similar to the story found in Matthew 14 - of Jesus performing the miracle of feeding the multitudes with 5 Loaves of bread and two fish - we’ve been able to multiply the little that we started with and grow it to feed our community more than a hot meal. Through our restaurant, we’ve been blessed to pour back into others by feeding those in need, by hosting donations and holiday drives and even being able to cater to homeless shelters. 5 Loaves embraces its guests who are in need of some extra love through a familiar meal, a smile, kind words and a hug here and there.
The Chatham Community needs this type of restaurant; which offers not only fresh food, but also a variety of options to accommodate most dietary restrictions while being welcoming and focused on the guest experience. Most neighborhoods have a plethora of options when it comes to grabbing a bite to eat. Unfortunately, the South Side of Chicago still struggles to have such amenities that other communities or neighborhoods take for granted. Having hosted guests both near and far, 5 Loaves has become the go-to, trusted, spot to get a home cooked meal made with love and care and we’re hoping to continue building upon this vision and mission.
Our Community is not only missing our food, but they are missing our love, purpose and passion for what we do. We know that we are nothing without our guest and appreciate greatly any donations and prayers.