I was in high school when the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan had the grand opening of the Salaam Restaurant on the Southside of Chicago. I remember the members of the NOI in Houston being so excited about it. I heard stories about the beautiful architecture inside the restaurant and the excellent food. I experienced it for myself in 1997 during my first ever trip to the Windy City and it lived up to its reputation.
While driving up 79th Street, you could see the towering rotating star and crescent blocks away. The lines were so long just to get seated that the only thing I could do was get a quick fish sandwich in the Blue Seas bakery area of the establishment.
However, the decor was the most amazing thing I had ever seen in my life at that time--especially Black-owned. The restrooms were so clean that you would've felt comfortable eating a sandwich off the floor. (Well, that's not good hygiene but you get the point) From that point on I would eat at the Salaam on many occasions while attending our annual Saviours' Day Convention. Standing in the long line was well worth it. Why? Because we were supporting our own.
Due to certain undisclosed issues, the Salaam Restaurant closed down I believe over 10 years ago. Now, it is on the way back! According to information I received, the reopening is slated for February 2012 during our Saviours' Day Convention weekend. In a recent email, officials said:
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, for if it was not for him, Salaam Restaurant would not be possible. We also would like to thank all those who have contributed and continue to contribute their monies toward the opening of Salaam Restaurant, Bakery/Coffee Shop. If you have not yet contributed towards the opening of Salaam Restaurant, then we would like to take this opportunity in inviting you to share in this historic endeavor to reopen Salaam Restaurant and to know that you played an important role in making this opening a reality for you and the entire Chicago South Side Community; a Salaam Restaurant for the People by the People!" (You can donate by going online or visiting your local NOI Mosque or Study Group)
They released the following beautiful renditions of the what the Salaam will look like in certain parts:
A lot of work is being done in preparation for this reopening that is being spearheaded by Student National Secretary Berve Muhammad along with a team of non-stop workers and skilled experts. Check out footage below of some of the work: