Two popular Chicago eateries came together to open their second locations as the first combination restaurant of its kind in neighboring suburb Orland Park, IL on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Chef Fab owner of Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based restaurant, and Andrew Bonsu and Phil Simpson, co-owners of Phlavz Bar and Grille, urban contemporary, jerk inspired cuisines created a cross blend of their establishments to offer the south suburbs a dining experience for customers with different food preferences, prepared in two separate kitchens, and served in one vibrant dining area.
Last year, both restaurants celebrated their first year in business building a loyal customer base. The owners are grateful to be able to start 2021off by expanding after so many restaurants had to close their doors or downsize in 2020 due to the many changes in the industry brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We really do not know how to run a restaurant business outside of a pandemic. To be able to prosper during this time is amazing,” shares Phil Simpson, co-owner of Phlavz Bar & Grille. “We would not be expanding without support from our family, friends, and the community. It is important to me and my business partners to be an example to others. This is what you can accomplish when you work hard on your dreams.”
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony community and business leaders were present to personally give their best wishes to the new business owners. The 2021 Orland Chamber of Commerce President Joyce Bibeau presented the owners with new members’ plaques and welcomed them to the Chamber. Dr. Cornel Darden, Jr. President/CEO of Southland Black Chamber of Commerce & Industry closed out the ceremony applauding them on their new endeavor. The Village of Orland Park, IL Mayor, Keith Pekau was the first customer served after the ribbon cutting.
“It’s always good to add new businesses to our area. We have a lot of big companies and chain stores in Orland Park as you can look over there and see more, however, it’s the locally-owned restaurants that add a unique touch to make the community special,” says Mayor Keith Pekau. “Especially during these times for you to choose to open here with us, we are honored and we wish you only success.”
Local residents can order online from both locations and popular food delivery services. Inside dining is permitted with limited capacity, masks are worn when not eating, and social distancing six feet apart.
About Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat: Opening in April 2019, CBINM has quickly earned a reputation as the go-to restaurant to get Chicago classic fast and comfort foods made for vegans and vegetarians to satisfy their craving. CBINM is a modern and flavorful to-go flexitarian, transitioning vegetarian restaurant you’ll be sure to love! CBINM wants to transition into a plant-based diet as easy as possible by making healthier versions of everyone’s favorite dishes, working hard daily to become everyone’s favorite non-meat restaurant in the Chicagoland area and abroad. cantbelieveitsnotmeat.com
About Phlavz Bar & Grille: Located in Chicago’s rich and culturally diverse University Village neighborhood, Phlavz Bar & Grille offers a contemporary take on Jamaican Jerk food that owners Andrew “Dilla” Bonsu and Phil Simpson affectionately refer to as “Urban Jerk.” Standard sides like cabbage and rice & peas that you may find at traditional jerk restaurants prepared with a unique twist make them new and exciting all over again. With next-level food, an extensive drink menu, and an electric atmosphere that’ll knock your socks off, Phlavz Bar & Grille will redefine how jerk cuisine is done. phlavz.com
Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago (lulu.com) or email: [email protected].