And soul food.
That's just the way it's been here since 1966.
You mention soul food, and someone invariably will bring up Edna, and someone will specifically mention Edna's biscuits. Hard to argue with facts, and the fact is that Edna's biscuits are the best biscuits on earth.
Most things are open to debate, but that's not one of them.
In more ways than one.
(Edna serving her peach cobbler in 2006)
Bobby Rush said that Edna Stewart "nourished and fed the civil rights movement." Her restaurant at Madison and Kedzie was a meeting place for civil rights workers, a rallying point. Edna would feed them ham hocks and greens, and they'd discuss the next steps in the movement. She'd dish up that ridiculously sinfully delicious fried chicken and sweet potatoes, and she wouldn't take any money. Edna Stewart was plugged into the civil rights movement in a big way.
Soul food and Edna. Hand in hand.
Martin ate at Edna's regularly.
Presidents, Daleys, Aldermen, bookies, mobsters, preachers and limo drivers have eaten at Edna's, as have people from all over the world.
Come as you are, and you will get the next available table or booth. Casual attire.
Nothing fancy about Edna Stewart nor Edna's Restaurant, which is why they fit in so well here. Part of our fabric really. Always clean as a whistle, but with that Garfield Park vibe running through the joint.
It's been said that Edna would hire someone just released from prison, as long as she got a good feeling about that person.
There is just something about both the person and the place that are utterly impossible to describe. The kind of person you wish you'd known your whole life. The kind of place where you feel like you really want to belong.
February 19, 2010 was declared Edna Stewart Day in Illinois by Governor Pat Quinn.
Yesterday morning, while a million or two people were making their way into The Loop to celebrate the Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup, Edna Stewart died at Oak Park Rush Hospital at the age of 72. She'd been diagnosed with ovarian cancer last November, and in the words of her brother Sam Mitchell Jr. "She wanted to make her birthday."
Gov Quinn released a statement...
"Today, I join the people of Illinois in mourning the loss of Edna Stewart, who was renowned nationwide for her legendary soul food cooking and landmark restaurant. Throughout her life, Edna Stewart proved, in the words of one philosopher, that `No mean woman can cook. It calls for a generous spirit, a light hand, and a large heart."'
Amen to that.Sister had soul.