Sophie Bolich

Brunch Buffet Opens on Northwest Side

Event venue transitions to full-fledged restaurant with popular weekend brunch.

By - Feb 21st, 2024 04:46 pm
Opening day for Weekend Grub at Dior's Gallery. Photo by Jeff Cannady (PWR FWD Media).

Opening day for Weekend Grub at Dior’s Gallery. Photo by Jeff Cannady (PWR FWD Media).

For nearly three years, Dior’s Gallery held a weekly Grub at the Gallery soul food brunch buffet where guests could enjoy French toast, pancakes, catfish, smothered pork chops and more.

The event launched in early 2021 as a one-off, said venue owner Danielle Eastern. Instead, it marked the beginning of her journey to restaurant ownership.

“People just loved it,” she said. “And we loved it too.”

The pop-up, featuring live music and food from local caterers, continued throughout the following years, garnering a loyal following as word of the weekly buffet featuring soul food, barbequed meats, brunch, grilled items, Asian cuisine and more spread throughout the Northwest Side and beyond.

But that all came to a halt — albeit temporarily — last October, when Eastern discovered she would need to acquire a restaurant license in order to continue operating at the gallery, 10855 W. Park Pl.

Last Sunday, after taking a three-month hiatus to complete the licensing process, Eastern welcomed a crowd of hungry supporters to the grand opening of her newly-minted restaurant, Weekend Grub.

Dozens of visitors turned out on opening day for a feast of smothered chicken, turkey wings, mashed potatoes, fried catfish, fried chicken, salmon croquettes, macaroni and cheese, greens, breakfast potatoes, butter biscuits, bacon, waffles, shrimp and grits, cornbread and much more.

Musicians Christopher’s Project and Damone Rose performed sets during the meal, while local bakers, including Ainne’s Sweets and Sweets by Ms. Jackie, sold homemade desserts.

“I feel like it’s a full-circle moment,” said Eastern, who recalls joking with her mother — a prolific entrepreneur herself — about the possibility of one day opening a restaurant.

“It was always a joke. It was never on a vision board — never anything I set out to pursue. It just literally manifested through vocally putting it out there. And then this event gave it a body. It gave it a space to be true.”

The concept, which prioritizes community and a convivial atmosphere, remains largely the same in its new format, Eastern said. But there have been a few minor changes.

Rather than a rotating lineup of caterers, Weekend Grub is now prepared by Zeb Allen of Ziggy Mealz. The chef’s weekly menu features a vast variety of dishes including nine different meats, 14 side dishes and a handful of specialty items.

Eastern said the restaurant has opened her eyes to a new realm of opportunities. “We kind of have free rein to explore this new industry,” she said. “If this is possible — and this wasn’t even on my radar — imagine how many other things are out there. Imagine how far we can go.”

Dior’s Gallery occupies a storefront within Liberty Plaza at Park Place. The strip mall is home to a handful of other businesses including a Cousins Subs and a chiropractic office. Eastern said that a majority of the businesses are owned by African American women — a fact that makes her proud.

“We are close, they support us and we support each other,” she said. “It’s just beautiful.”

Eastern said she has big plans for the future of Weekend Grub, including several events planned for the spring. But for now, she’s “just grateful.”

“I’m just humbled. I’m thankful for our supporters…I’m grateful for all that it is and where it’s headed.”

The breakfast buffet is not all you can eat. Rather, it’s designed for guests to file through and fill their plates, then pay at the end of the line. The restaurant features just shy of 60 seats for dine-in. Meals are also available to-go.

Weekend Grub is open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The business is also working towards acquiring its liquor license, with hopes of restoring its crowd-favorite blue raspberry green apple lemonade to the menu.

For more information, or to preview Eastern’s Weekend Grub jingle (inspired by Ice Cube’s “We Be Clubbin'”), visit Dior’s Gallery on Facebook.


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Categories: Food & Drink

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