This is Where: A site specific response to decay / farewell to Gladys Luncheonette

On “This is Where”

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{from AUGUST 2012 CHICAGOIST}

“Another classic marker of the South side has been consigned to history’s ether with the demolition of Gladys Luncheonette Monday. Located in Bronzeville at 4527 S. Indiana, the restaurant w

as one of the most popular soul food restaurants in the Midwest. Owner Gladys Holcomb first opened her restaurant on State Street in the mid-1940s, and then moved it to a basement location at 4541 S. Indiana before moving to its final location in 1963. Holcomb ran the restaurant until 1997, when age and declining health prevented her from maintaining the day-to-day operations of her luncheonette and she sold the restaurant to her daughter and other investors.

Gladys Holcomb passed away in 2003. Shortly after her passing, the Illinois General Assembly passed a resolution honoring Holcomb and the restaurant:

WHEREAS, Gladys’ Luncheonette became one of the most popular “soul food” restaurants in the Midwest, known for its delicious fried chicken, smothered chicken, smothered pork chops, peach cobbler, “melt-in-your-mouth” biscuits, and other down home, southern delicacies; many famous people were known to dine at the Luncheonette including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lou Rawls, Redd Foxx, Governor Jim Thompson, Della Reese, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Gladys Knight, and a host of others.

Gladys Luncheonette has been closed for years and decayed to the point where rehabbing it would have cost as much, if not more, as buying the lot outright.

“This is Where” conceived & directed by Dance of Decay curator Baraka de Soleil with performance by Carolyn Alvarado Castillo, video/photography capturing by Myra Boone on the site of Gladys Luncheonette.


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Author: Barak adé Soleil

creative practitioner, independent consultant and curator. making dance, performance art and theatre. working within community.

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