By Erick Johnson, Chicago Crusader
First came the gospel music. Then it was time to eat. Hallelujah!
Dozens of shoppers at River Oaks Mall in Calumet City on Friday, Jan. 5 packed the food court to see Celebrity Chef Kim Stratton open her new southern cuisine eatery with a delicious menu and ribbon cutting ceremony.
With the aroma of the fried chicken and smothered pork chops wafting in the food court, hungry customers waited in a long line as community leaders, relatives and friends helped Stratton kick off her eatery’s first day of business with a festive grand opening.
Wearing her chef’s jacket, Stratton, a prominent gospel singer who has been nominated for Grammy, Stellar and Dove Awards, performed one of her hits before opening her eatery.
The eatery, called Kim Stratton’s Kitchen, serves soul food ranging from macaroni and cheese to fried chicken to sweet potatoes. There is also a sweet and moist caramel cake for dessert. The eatery has eight employees, some of whom are Stratton’s children. The eatery has nostalgic black and white photos of Stratton’s late parents and moments of her with other celebrities, including media mogul Oprah Winfrey.
Stratton had a similar restaurant in northwest suburban Palatine, but closed it to concentrate on her new location. Stratton said she has received two offers to open similar eateries at other greater Chicago area malls.