Restaurant Owner Claims The City Of Chicago Shut Him Down Because He's A Black Man
Photo Credit: Scott Olson

Restaurant Owner Claims The City Of Chicago Shut Him Down Because He's A Black Man

When Rashad Bailey started his Dinner and A Movie restaurant, he had high hopes for bringing good food and entertainment to the citizens of Chicago, IL.

But soon after his business opened, the trouble started. This trouble ultimately led to the City of Chicago shutting down the restaurant, which Bailey believes is solely based on race.

Law Enforcement On Watch

According to a local Chicago news report by Fox 32, Bailey opened Dinner and A Movie on April 30, 2021. The establishment served chicken and waffles, an assortment of alcoholic beverages, movies, and music. Bailey even provided catering services to local class reunions. However, the early success was soon overshadowed by the tension between Bailey and local enforcement agencies.

Bailey told Fox 32 that he found out that undercover cops frequented his restaurant.

“This year (during hearings with the city), I found out I had about ten undercover officers in my restaurant within a week’s time of me opening with no incidents happening,” Bailey explained.

In addition to the undercover cops, Chicago’s Alderman Scott Waguespack of the 32nd ward claims that there were over 80 calls to police from May 1 to July 2, 2021 — a reported increase from just four calls the year before.

Convinced It's All About Race

Bailey also claimed that the city’s office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection arrived with the local police department demanding an audit of his financial records within ten days of their arrival. An additional audit would allegedly follow, but this time, reviewing his food and alcoholic beverage transactions.

Although one shooting incident occurred at the restaurant, Bailey claims that the police had a slow response time and that despite the unfortunate nature of the event, no one was injured, and there were no fatalities.

Nevertheless, the police activity continued with alleged harassment and alleged searches during non-business hours. Bailey believes all of this results from being a Black man.

“If Dinner and a Movie was white, because that’s what they thought it would be, I would be there for 100 years,” Bailey told Fox 32.

He Said What He Said

Despite Bailey’s claims, the city noted violations that they claim ultimately led to the closure of Dinner and A Movie.

In a July 2022 statement, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection “revoked the business licenses for Dinner and a Movie, LLC, located at 2500 N. Ashland Ave. The establishment was found to have violated its Liquor License Plan of Operation by operating as a tavern, not a restaurant, operated in violation of its Nuisance Abatement Plan, and failed to take reasonable steps to correct the nuisance conditions created by the operation of the business.”

These actions allegedly led to the permanent closing of Bailey’s restaurant. He still contends that this matter is based on race.

“Because Dinner and a Movie was Black. The Black birthday is a problem, and some days we are. I told someone else, there are people out here in Chicago that shoot people and rob people, and they are savages and should be locked up. Because hardworking Black people, we don’t want to deal with that, and they group us together. I don’t want to deal with that,” Bailey explained.