Business, Local News

African Food Factory and Grill opens on Dixie Highway

Maryam Lala is bringing African cuisine to Homewood by opening African Food Factory and Grill on Dixie Highway in the former home of Parks Pastries. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Homewood’s newest restaurant, Homewood African Food Factory and Grill, is now open. The restaurant is one of the first of its kind in the Homewood-Flossmoor community. 

Maryam Lala is a resident of Hazel Crest and a Nigerian native who has owned Southside African Restaurant on the South Side of Chicago for eight years. Recently, she decided to expand her business to the South Suburbs. 

Lala felt there was a lack of options for African cuisine in the area. 

“When I go out, and I see all the restaurants and I don’t see African restaurants, I feel like African restaurants [are] missing and I have to fix it,” Lala said. 

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The Homewood African Food Factory and Grill will be one of many emerging Black-owned businesses in downtown Homewood.

Lala is proud of the creative establishments that other Black business owners have opened. She feels honored to be joining the Black business owners in the community. 

By opening the Homewood African Food Factory and Grill, Lala hopes to bring African culture to the community. The menu will consist of several traditional African dishes including jollof rice, varieties of fried rice; melon-based egusi soup; fufu, a yam dish; grilled fish; goat meat pepper soup and more.

Lala said the menu will include not only Nigerian dishes but influences from other African cultures, too.

“African food is like bringing the culture to the table,” Lala said.”I’m not only selling the food, I’m also promoting the African culture.”

The slogan, “Home away from home,” will be incorporated through the restaurant as Lala will serve all customers quality dishes and create an authentic atmosphere. 

“Everybody that comes in there, I want it to feel like home and the food is actually what is going to take everyone back [to Africa],” Lala said. “When you put the food in your mouth, you’re going to feel at home.”

Lala hopes to continue expanding her restaurant and the African culture to downtown Chicago and eventually to other states.

“This is a dream come true, and I just feel happy to be a part of the Homewood community,” Lala said. 

Hours of operation for the Homewood African Food Factory and Grill are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. The restaurant is located at 18201 Dixie Highway. To contact the restaurant, call 708-960-4166. 

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