Fresh Family Foods

Fresh Family Foods, a unique grocery store concept located in one of Chicago's most notorious food deserts, neighborhoods that lack access to mainstream grocery stores, will celebrate its grand opening on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 336 E. 95th St., across from Chicago State University.

Fresh Family Foods is the brainchild of Chicago restaurateur and fast-casual dining guru Quentin Love, creator of the popular "no beef, no pork" Quench chain of restaurants, located on the South, West and North Sides of Chicago.

Love and co-owner Dianna Wiley have teamed up with LaDonna Redmond, a longtime advocate of agricultural co-ops and healthy food choices in minority communities, to develop a boutique-style grocery offering fresh produce, a juice and coffee bar, and freshly prepared hot meals reminiscent of Whole Foods. Patrons will enjoy a fresh selection of produce and be able to order from the full Quench menu inside the store, which includes limited seating for in-store dining.

Fresh Family Foods is located in the Roseland community. Chicago State students will enjoy a 25% discount on Quench menu items inside the store. Patrons will be able to access pastry selections from another South Side eatery, Brown Sugar Bakery, part of Love's umbrella company, the I Love Food Group, (www.ilovefoodgroup.com) and freshly popped buttered, cheese and caramel Poptime popcorn.

"Children and families living on the South Side deserve better," Wiley said. "Shoppers will be treated to nice music and a nice atmosphere. We said, 'Why not bring that type of quality to the Black community?'"

Fresh Family Foods holds another distinction: It is the only Black-owned grocery in the State of Illinois. Unlike other grocers and convenience stores in surrounding communities, Fresh Family Foods will not sell tobacco products or alcoholic beverages.

"Our vision for Fresh Family Foods was to be an alternative to stores in minority communities that have traditionally charged two or three times the price for stale food and unattractive produce," Love said. "Research shows that African Americans have suffered disproportionately from heart disease and diabetes as a direct result of the poor food choices that are available to them close to home."