How turkey love is revitalizing Chicago’s distressed neighborhoods

Quentin Love has a history of being ahead of the game. He started his first restaurant chain, Quench, 15 years ago on the lower-income South Side of Chicago, Illinois. They feature exclusively turkey, chicken and vegetarian options on their rmenu.

Quench eventually grew to eight locations, earning a reputation for healthy cooking around Chicagoland.

In a city where nearly half of black men are out of work or out of school, revitalizing commercial corridors like West Chicago Avenue is especially urgent. According to the West Humboldt Park Family and Community Development Council (WHPDC), unemployment in the neighborhood is around 20 percent, and around 25 percent of storefronts are vacant along the eight-block stretch between Kedzie and Central Park Avenues.

From Turkey Chop’s early days, Love found ways to get involved with the surrounding community. Every Monday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the restaurant closes and becomes a soup kitchen staffed by volunteers offering free, hot and healthy meals to anyone who comes in, as well as delivering meals to those who cannot. They’ve served more than 50,000 free meals as of last December.

Love envisions having at least 10 Turkey Chop locations in revitalizing neighborhoods around the Chicago area. Each will be a workforce development springboard for men and women building new careers in the food service, while providing healthy food for communities desperately in need of it.

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