The kind of place every neighborhood wants, 5 Loaves Eatery is a brightly painted, friendly breakfast spot making delicious soul-food staples like chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits. And food with soul it is: the name comes from the five loaves that Jesus multiplied in Matthew, and the owners give away at least one free meal each day to someone in need. It’s a fitting replacement on 75th Street for Army & Lou’s, one of Chicago’s sorely missed soul-food spots. But it hasn’t been easy being the center of the Grand Crossing neighborhood. In the ten years since 5 Loaves opened, it’s survived one fire and two instances of robbers stealing the copper wiring to sell for scrap. Thefts like those are especially hard on a restaurant—the owners not only have to replace the wire but lose all the food that was in the refrigerators. When it happened the second time, in February, the neighborhood rallied like the cast of It’s a Wonderful Life to get the family-owned business up and running again; one person even paid it forward with a check for $1,000. If you want a good breakfast—and want to feel good about who you’re supporting with your business—you couldn’t do much better than visit 5 Loaves Eatery.
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