Today, Rachel’s Place, formerly Leroy’s, the teenage Southside Chicago hangout closed its doors and no one sheds a tear.
One remembers the large cardboard cutouts advertising malts and ice cream. The restaurant wasn’t famous for either of them. Inside, was a kitsch representation of a real diner. Other signs advertised fresh chicken and homemade pies, but were false statements too.
Destruction (always man made) was a constant in Rachel’s Place. Employees would break tables, chairs, dishes, or burn the place down. But that wasn’t the reason why Rachel’s Place closed. It wasn’t even because of the gang violence. The restaurant’s target audience was teenagers. A business can’t profit when 16 year-olds are buying a one-dollar flat soda without ice and soliciting for hours on end. Teenagers aren’t stupid either. They know that their city is known for good food, and nothing represented the 312 on its menu. Thawed-under-a-heat lamp chicken tenders are cheap as well as frozen fries, but it would have been nice to see a Chicago Hot Dog, a slice of deep dish, or even a Italian Beef on the menu. Rachel’s Place wasn’t a health conscious joint either, it was in the middle of Chicago for God sake.
The owner had an estate sale a month ago. Two things were purchased: the annoying yet whimsical spinning out door sign and the jukebox. Neither of them worked.