This February, we are sharing our favorite Black-owned businesses in Lakeview East. These businesses and their leaders are integral parts of the Lakeview East Community, and we are honored to have their thriving businesses in our neighborhood.

The Smoothie Joint | 948 W. Newport

Telesha Christopher, the heart and soul behind The Smoothie Joint at Sheffield and Newport, transformed her dream into reality with remarkable grit and passion. Starting as a home daycare owner, Telesha faced numerous challenges, from financial hurdles to a pandemic, without government aid. But her unwavering spirit saw her through, especially with the timely partnership with 1-800 Flowers that kept her dream afloat. Today, after leaving her full-time job for her true passion, Telesha’s Smoothie Joint is a bustling hub of community and deliciousness. It’s a vibrant testament to her resilience and dedication, where every smoothie served is a sip of her remarkable journey towards success and community engagement. Be sure to stop in on Fridays, where all of their smoothies are $5 all day long!

Comfort’s African Cuisine | 2835 N. Broadway

Comfort’s African Cuisine, nestled at 2835 N. Broadway, is more than just a restaurant; it’s a celebration of heritage and family. Opened in late July 2023, this Nigerian eatery has quickly become a neighborhood gem, thanks to the Afolarin family’s dedication. Co-owners Tobi and Gbenga Afolarin, along with Gbenga’s wife Helen and sister Eunice Okesola, the executive chef, have created a warm, welcoming atmosphere where guests are invited to savor traditional Nigerian dishes like grilled croaker fish, jollof rice, and catfish pepper soup. The restaurant’s name, a tribute to Tobi Afolarin’s mother, Comfort, embodies the essence of both genuine hospitality and delicious comfort food. Here, dining is an experience. Customers engage with West African culture, particularly through the unique way of eating dishes like egusi soup with fufu, using hands to scoop up the hearty flavors. Geraldine Mullen, Tobi’s wife and partner in the restaurant, loves the joy customers find in this authentic experience. Comfort’s also features a lounge for social gatherings, adorned with African art and artifacts, adding to its cultural ambiance. Open every day, Comfort’s African Cuisine is a destination where food, culture, and community beautifully intertwine

Culver’s Wrigleyville | 1111 W. Addison St

Meet Baron Waller, a true neighborhood hero and a shining example of success in 2023! Opening his 9th Culver’s franchise, he didn’t just bring mouthwatering burgers to the community, but also a hefty dose of heartwarming hospitality. Baron is not just any franchise owner, he’s made history as the largest minority franchise owner in the country! His secret ingredient? A generous sprinkle of mentorship and a whole lot of care. During training days, Baron’s energy is infectious. He’s not just teaching his team the ropes – he’s inspiring them with his knowledge, passion, and a deep love for community service. This approach has turned each of his franchises into more than just restaurants; they’re cozy community hubs where everyone feels like family. Celebrating Baron during Black History Month isn’t just about his impressive business feats; it’s about honoring a man who brings smiles, exceptional service, and a sense of togetherness to our neighborhood.

Coffee, Hip Hop & Mental Health |1051 W Belmont Ave

Christopher LeMark is the CEO and Founder of Coffee, Hip-Hop, & Mental Health. LeMark created this non-profit organization with the mission of normalizing therapy and making it more accessible to black and brown communities. Through coffee sales and donations, CHHAMH provides free therapy sessions to those in need. CHHAMH has garnered support from major media outlets, which has helped them grow their organization and expand their mission. Christopher LeMark and Coffee, Hip Hop, & Mental Health are doing essential work by de-stigmatizing mental health, and we are proud to be home to their flagship location on Belmont!

Laugh Factory | 3175 N Broadway

Boasting as one of the best Comedy clubs in Chicago, Laugh Factory’s President of Operations is Curtis Shaw Flagg. Flagg began as an intern and worked his way up to become an integral figurehead for the company. He is extremely dedicated to the neighborhood, and serves as a member of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Laugh Factory has become a well-known comedy club and numerous comedic legends have walked through their doors. As well as hosting comedic legends, Laugh Factory prides itself on being a place where lesser-known comedians have a chance to catapult their career. Curtis Shaw Flagg’s leadership and creativity has solidified Laugh Factory’s successes, so stop into Laugh Factory on N. Broadway and see the iconic venue in action! 

Bamboo Club | 3505 N Clark St

Jasper Robinson is the General Manager for Bamboo Club. In his free time, Jasper serves on the board for the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce as the Vice President and specializes in helping businesses in the Wrigleyville area. Jasper has helped make memorable experiences for thousands of Cubs fans and neighbors throughout the years, hosting one of the best pre and post game parties Wrigleyville has to offer. In the off season, Jasper’s creativity helps create incredible and immersive pop up experiences that change throughout the seasons. Bamboo Club is known for their all-out decor and social experiences on top of having an extensive food and beverage menu. We are grateful for Jasper’s hard work and dedication in maintaining this sucessful thriving hotspot!

Ancient Grounds Coffee | 1022 W. Belmont

Ancient Grounds Coffee Co., co-founded by Joshua Fields, sprang from a dream shared over a cup of coffee. Nestled right on Belmont Avenue, this unique coffee shop stands out with its commitment to community, exceptional coffee, and delectable cuisine. With a focus on quality blends, inviting aromas, and a menu featuring delicious sandwiches and nutritious acai bowls, Ancient Grounds is dedicated to leaving every customer with a smile. It’s not just a place for a coffee break; it’s a hub where great coffee meets great friends, symbolizing the spirit of community and the joy of shared experiences. They have free wifi, so stop by and break up with your work from home schedule with delicious coffee!

BodyBrite Med Spa | 2949 N. Broadway

Body Brite is a medical spa owned by Jenise Powell! Jenise has an eye for all things beautiful & helps others achieve their beauty goals through her vast knowledge of Med Spa services. This Lakeview East beauty boutique offers luxury skincare treatments at affordable MedSpa prices. Their mission is to help your beauty shine with an impeccable level of service. BodyBrite is dedicated to providing their clients with a diverse menu of services that will have you leaving feeling like your best self! We are so happy to have BodyBrite in the Lakeview East neighborhood, so be sure to book with this Black-owned business for your next spa treatment!