The Crusader Newspaper Group

Racial controversy surrounds closing of Black-owned Blue Island bar and grill

By Dakarai Turner,

It was an explosive night in the suburbs where a mayor was caught in the middle of a racially-charged controversy over a local bar and grill.

The mayor in Blue Island is accused of racial bias after the city shut down the bar and grill in response to a shooting.

The owner of the restaurant is black, and a lot of testimony Tuesday night hinged upon race. The meeting had to be halted briefly as people began speaking out of turn, shouting back and forth. One man even had to be removed.

All of this centered around the Island Bar & Grill — a popular restaurant in Blue Island and a March shooting in its immediate vicinity.

The business’ license was revoked and in an appeal hearing, city council was listening to very testy public comment on whether it should stay open. Ultimately, a vote took place and the restaurant will be closed.

The testimony had been divided along racial lines, to those who are black supporting the restaurant as a pillar of the community.

Those speaking against the business were white and Hispanic, saying the business is a problem creating noise and litter for the neighborhood.

The owner of the restaurant believed he was being targeted as a black business serving largely black patrons.

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