Joined by Craig Culver, the co-founder of the eponymous company, and Baron Waller, the Chicago entrepreneur who envisioned the site, city officials and the Pullman community braved the cold weather to celebrate the start of construction of a Culver’s restaurant at the corner of 111th Street and Doty Avenue in Chicago.
“For years the people of Pullman and Roseland have worked to convince a restauranteur to come to this community,” said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale. “We are delighted that in 2021 we’ll have a new destination where those who live here or those who come to play golf, visit the National Monument or work in the growing number of businesses here, can enjoy a good meal or a frozen custard for which the restaurant is known.”
The new 4,300-square-foot Culver’s will be the first freestanding restaurant to come to Pullman in recent memory with its planned opening in Spring of 2021. It will be the second Culver’s location in Chicago for owner Baron Waller and business partner Ronald Wells who were awarded a $250,000 grant from the city of Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund for its development. Waller owns a Culver’s in Bronzeville and another is planned for Chicago on Montrose Avenue.
The new Culver’s will join two other dining concepts, Lexington Betty Smokehouse and Majani Soulful Vegan Cuisine that have been serving the Pullman community at the One Eleven Food Hall and a Potbelly’s, all within the 111th Street Gateway Retail Center that Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) developed in 2018.
Claire Boatright, CNI’s Vice President, Real Estate and Inclusion—who with the Ryan Companies has redeveloped the former Ryerson Steel properties on which Culver’s will be the latest building—said the very fact that attracting a restaurant to the area took years, is a lesson to all.
“CNI has been working with Alderman Beale, U.S. Bank and with the Ryan Companies for years to create the conditions that instilled the market with confidence that drew Culver’s to the community,” said Boatright. “This is a great day for Pullman and Chicago because our strategy of creating retail and industrial jobs, building and renovating housing, recreation, and educational opportunities are working, and despite the odds and the pundits’ pronouncements, Pullman and Roseland are rebounding.”
Tuesday’s groundbreaking marked the latest new development by CNI in Pullman over the last 12 months that is continuing to make Pullman one of the fastest growing employment areas in all of Chicago. These include the new Gotham Greens 100,000 square foot greenhouse, which created 60 new jobs when it opened in November 2019. Next to it is the largest speculative building in the region, developed by CNI and Ryan Companies that was leased to SC Johnson and will open later this year.
This past summer the 38 live/work units within the new Pullman Artspace Lofts became fully occupied. And on Wednesday, October 28 the new 150,000-square-foot Amazon facility that is bringing hundreds of new jobs to the area will open. Culver’s opening will coincide with the completion of the Pullman National Monument site scheduled for September 2021. The historic site is expected to attract 300,000 visitors annually.