â€œI want to make this crystal clear. Josephineâ€™s Hardtimes Cooking is alive and well. It is not closing. She is no quitter; rather she’s a fighter,â€ said Josephine Wade’s pastor, Bishop Gordon Simon, pastor of Triedstone Church of Chicago and Bishop for the Midwest Full Gospel Baptist Church.Â
By Chinta Strausberg
The popular Josephineâ€™s Hardtime Cooking Restaurant is not closing, Bishop Gordon Simon, pastor of Triedstone Church of Chicago and Bishop for the Midwest Full Gospel Baptist Church, said Monday who urged all African Americans to support this popular eatery thatâ€™s been in business for more than two decades.
Gordon, who is the pastor of Josephine Wade, owner of Josephineâ€™s Hardtime Cooking Restaurant, 436 E. 79th St., Chicago, Il., denied media reports that her restaurant is closing. â€œThat simply is not true,â€ said Gordon. â€œShe has been making improvement changes in the restaurant like the Wi-Fi Internet she had installed many months ago and other projects that are currently being negotiated as far as prices are concerned.â€
Wade opened the doors of then Captain Hard Time 22-years ago around the same time Gordon began his church. Since then, economic times have been a roller coaster and lately on the down side.
â€œI donâ€™t blame the disappearance of soul food restaurants on a 17 percent population loss among blacks. Even with a population loss, African Americans still represent 36.8 percent of Chicagoâ€™s population according to the U.S. Census,â€ said Gordon. â€œWe just have to do a better job of supporting our own businesses.â€
Gordon commended Wade for installing Wi-Fi Internet in her restaurant, for menu changes that include healthier selections. He also commended her for plans she began many months ago that will beautify the upgrade the popular eatery. Gordon applauded Wade for grooming her son, Victor Love, as her successor and together they are mapping the restaurantâ€™s future for the Chatham area.
â€œIt takes money to make Mother Wadeâ€™s dreams and plans become a reality, and right now because of this economy, all businesses are hurting, not just Josephineâ€™s Hardtime Cooking. Bank of America is laying off 3500 people. Mayor Rahm Emanuel laid off 625 people. Gov. Pat Quinn is being forced to lay off 1900 workers and shut down seven state facilities. While other companies and governmental agencies are pink-slipping their employees, Josephineâ€™s Hardtimes Cooking is holding its own,â€ said Gordon.
Â â€œIt is not just black restaurants that are feeling the pinch of this fledgling economy. All businesses are being affected by an uncertain economy and a high unemployment rate especially in the black community in Chicago. Thatâ€™s a recipe for failure, but knowing Mother Wade as I do, she will never give up,â€ Bishop Gordon said. â€œAs a member of the faith community, we support her.
Â â€œI want to make this crystal clear. Josephineâ€™s Hardtimes Cooking is alive and well. It is not closing. She is no quitter,â€ Gordon stated. â€œRather, sheâ€™s a fighter and yes, itâ€™s hard when your own people are unemployed. Itâ€™s hard for African Americans to find jobs. Weâ€™re usually the last hired, first fired, but though the she buys her produce at the same place the downtown hotels do for their restaurants, Mother Wade chooses to keep her price of $13.00 for a buffet meal the same.
â€œOf course, it is difficult to make the kind of extensive changes and beautification needing to be done. The restaurant business today is not the same as yesterday especially when you are offering good and healthier food and youâ€™re competing against the fast food industry in a community under economic siege,â€ Bishop Gordon stated. â€œWe stand behind Mother Wade in her efforts to provide healthy, quality food at a reasonable price for her customers.â€
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.