Business

Culture Food & Entertainment now open after renovations

Culture Food & Entertainment, 18031 Dixie Highway, Homewood, officially reopened Tuesday, July 12, serving its first guests from 6 p.m. to midnight.

“We are so excited. We are happy to still be here, because we know a lot of businesses didn’t make it over COVID,” said co-owner Joan Sullivan.

The venue opened on New Year’s Eve 2019, and within weeks the pandemic hit.

Plans had to change. 

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Lindsey Evans, operations manager at Culture Food and Entertainment, said the venue is ready to welcome guests for delicious food and great entertainment. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
Lindsey Evans, operations manager at Culture Food and Entertainment, said the venue is ready to welcome guests for delicious food and great entertainment. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

There had been a good response early on, especially to the live entertainment, but the pandemic shutdowns put a halt to gatherings, and the business turned to offering food for carry-out and streaming artists while encouraging customers to support them.

“We opened New Year’s Eve of 2019, and we ended up closed around March 15 because of COVID. We re-opened in the summer of 2020 for outside dining only and were back inside around August,” Sullivan said. “Then there were shutdowns again in October, and we re-opened again in March of 2021. Then we closed the week of Christmas for the construction.”

Adding a kitchen was always part of the business plan. The owners worked toward the original vision of creating a supper club environment with a full-service restaurant and live entertainment. In December 2021, Culture closed for renovations.

A permanent stage with VIP seating will host musical performances Thursdays through Sundays. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
A permanent stage with VIP seating will host musical performances Thursdays through Sundays. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

“We got all our permits together, we got our contractor and we said ‘Let’s do this’ even though COVID was doing another increase,” Sullivan recalled. Culture was expected to reopen in eight to 12 weeks, but supply chain issues pushed everything back.

In addition to difficulties faced in adjusting to the pandemic and construction delays, one of the owners, Michael Towns, passed away earlier this year. Sullivan now manages the business with co-owners Robert and Sheree Lee.

Culture is finally the space that matches what Sullivan, the Lees and Towns intended. It can seat 180 guests.

“We separately and collectively are people committed to our communities, the arts, food experiences and entrepreneurship,” said Michael Towns in an earlier interview with the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle. “We have demonstrated our ideals through our individual and collective efforts in our churches, in the creation and marketing of life changing gospel music.”

Joan Sullivan, co-owner of Culture Food and Entertainment, is excited to welcome guests to the supper club in Homewood. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
Joan Sullivan, co-owner of Culture Food and Entertainment, is excited to welcome guests to the supper club in Homewood. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

Sullivan said that the menu will include “American fare. We’re going to have the full gamut — beef, seafood, chicken, salads, appetizers,” she said.

Robert Lee serves as executive chef and has had a 30-year career in food preparation, kitchen management and catering. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Arts at Robert Morris College, Lee previously owned and operated More Than Enough Soul Food Cafe in Chicago.

The new menu can be found online at thatstheculture.com. One highlight of the menu is chicken wings that will have seven different sauce options.

New hours will be Tuesday through Thursday 6 to 11 p.m., and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m. til midnight. Culture will be closed on Mondays. It will be available for private events.

Culture Food & Entertainment is located at 18031 Dixie Highway, Homewood. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

“We are now a full service restaurant with entertainment,” said Sullivan. Culture guests can book online reservations through the website thatstheculture.com. No phone reservations are accepted. Reservations are for two-hour seating, along with a $15 entertainment charge during the days with show seating times.

Culture will host musical performances Thursdays through Sundays. 

“Live music will remain a part of our footprint,” said Sullivan. “We’re excited about the re-opening. It’s been really great even when we had the limited menu and hours. People have really come out and supported us, and we look forward to offering a bigger menu.”

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