Bronzeville district adds Garfield's 502 to club repertoire
Friday, Feb. 10 marked the grand opening of Bronzeville's newest entertainment and dining establishment, Garfield's 502, a music club and restaurant at 502 W. Garfield St.
Completing the two-year project, co-owners LaMarr Franklin and Jewel Currie celebrated by inviting Mayor Tom Barrett and Alderman Michael McGee Jr. to lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the club Friday.
Garfield's 502 is freshly remodeled, spacious and classy with a long, beautiful wood bar, plenty of table seating and a hardwood stage area for live music.
For the community, the site holds a lot of history. As the former Boobie's Place, a cultural institution and legendary blues bar founded by Everette "Boobie" Moore, Garfield's 502 will uphold the tradition of hosting live music on Friday nights.
"The music we have is old-school," says Franklin. "A little R&B, a little reggae, and it's all local musicians."
Despite the focus on music, however, Franklin says that he and Currie are looking to establish their place as more of a restaurant. Chef Gus Kelly -- the dean of culinary arts at MATC for 30 years -- serves lunch and dinner seven days a week at Garfield's 502, with the menu ranging from $6 sandwiches (burgers, cold cuts, steak) to $14 jumbo shrimp dinners. The kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, and stays open until 11 p.m. on the weekends.
The club, which first opened its doors on Jan. 1, is a big celebration for the community and the city officials involved in rejuvenating the Bronzeville district -- the neighborhood surrounding North Avenue from Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to North 7th Street.
"The City is committed to Bronzeville," says Barrett. With a $3.6 million TIF designated to supporting developments and new businesses in the area, Barrett says that Garfield's 502 is one of the first of many investments sought to enhance the quality of life in the community.
The club's slogan -- "Swinging into the Future" -- also works as an accurate motto for a neighborhood on the rebound.
"It's taken some time, and we've all been patient, but Bronzeville is alive and well," says McGee. "Garfield's 502 is the catalyst and we're going to continue work with the City to bring more revitalization to this area."
Upstairs from the restaurant, co-owner Currie is custom designing his soon-to-be new living quarters. "Opening Garfield's 502 had a dual purpose for me," he says. "I didn't just want to open a bar in this neighborhood, I wanted to be able to do everything -- work, live, shop -- in this neighborhood."
And downstairs, Currie and Franklin are converting the building's basement into a "community room," which the public can utilize for business meetings, gatherings and small parties, free of charge. "We'll have a projection screen, video equipment and another bar down there," says Currie. The whole building, he adds, will have free Wi-Fi.
"I want the people in the community to feel welcome here, no matter if they're looking to start their day with a business lunch or cap it off with dinner and a drink."
Garfield's 502's Web site is garfields502.com. The phone number is (414) 374-4502.
Re: Funka said: That's a scary stereotype!
Funka said: Bronzeville is like Nashville but instead of whiskey and country music its cognac and Luther Vandross.
Jim said: Thanks for the help Kurt....it is a very interesting and informative site.....best wishesand good luck to Garfields
Change back said: It is interesting how the cultural population of a neighborhood changes. That area was originally settled by Germans, Jews and Italians. It's interesting that there are more and more people of European decent moving back there...
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