Chicagoist Presents: The Benton House "Ramova Room" Soup Kitchen Jan. 24

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 6, 2012 5:40PM


Ramova Grill's former counter, holding a buffet of food, Sept. 8, 2012. (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)

In September I wrote about the new home found for the former Ramova Grill's counter, booths and seating at Benton House, the Bridgeport neighborhood center whose origins date back to the settlement house era. Shortly after the post published, I spoke with Benton House executive director Mark Lennon about hosting an event in the "Ramova Room."

With the help of Friends of South Halsted's Maureen Sullivan and some helpful advice from the Soup & Bread team of Martha Bayne and Sheila Sachs, Chicagoist is proud to announce we'll be hosting a soup kitchen in Benton House's Ramova Room from 6-9 p.m. Jan. 24. Since the histories of Benton House and Ramova Grill are both intertwined with the larger history of Bridgeport, I wanted to involve chefs who had ties to the neighborhood: chefs who grew up, work, or live in or near the neighborhood.

We managed to put together an amazing lineup of chefs. Mark Mendez (Vera) grew up in Bridgeport. Kevin Hickey (Allium) actually attended pre-school at Benton House and still lives in the neighborhood. Pleasant House Bakery's Art Jackson readily said yes, as did Jay Sebastien and Carrie Clark of Bridgeport Pasty Co. Maureen Sullivan got Zaytune Mediterranean Grill's Daniel Sarkis to participate. Even though Nightwood is in Pilsen, it's close enough to Bridgeport that we got Jason Vincent to come aboard. This lineup is only a small example of what's happening down here with the restaurant scene, and we're excited to introduce some of you to the cooking they're doing.

And we aren't done yet. In fact, we're working a couple of surprises we hope to announce once we get more confirmation. Until then, pencil in the date and time.

Benton House is located at 3052 S. Gratten Ave.