Fast food restaurants and liquor stores are common on the south side of Chicago, but a trend is growing on the south side with healthy soul food vegan restaurants in these communities. The latest restaurant to join restaurants serving vegan and vegetarian food, like Soul Vegetarian, Quench, Vegetarian Life and 5 Loaves Breakfast Café, is Yah’s Cuisine, which opened Tues, Jan. 12, at 2347 E. 75th St.
“My main thing was to stay in the South Shore area because there’s a drought of healthy vegetables and healthy dinners,” Yedidah King, the owner of Yah’s Cuisine, said to the Chicago News & Events Examiner. “I wanted to put a restaurant where they had every fried food or liquor store in the community. My main thing was to make something that people could feel good, feel safe, where people who had diabetes could go ahead and eat at, and it tastes like something they’re used to eating.”
Yedidah, 31, has been a vegan all of her life.
“Funny story is that my dad told me that my mom would only eat strawberries and watermelon when she was pregnant with me,” said Yedidah. “It just so happens that those are my favorite foods now.”
She was born in Chicago but spent 22 years of her life in Israel, and recalls a time when she saw a pig’s head in a store. She burst into tears and from that moment on decided vegan life was going to be her lifestyle.
“In 1996, I came back over here to do speeches for the youth,” she said about her return to Chicago.
After losing two jobs, she sat down for three hours to think about what it was she wanted to do for the long run.
“I felt so bad about the way our people were being treated and how we were starving for nutrients and our health was bad,” said Yedidah. “I knew the best way to help people was to re-infect them with healthy food rather than infect them with unhealthy food.”
Three years ago, Yedidah started a catering business to save money to open a restaurant.
“I am the sole proprietor of the restaurant,” she said. “(My favorite part) is how the people respond. They’re grateful when they come in just for putting something of this nature here. They had to always go up north and downtown to get it. That’s part of being an owner, experiencing people’s inner-peace when they walk in and they feel the ambiance. That’s the best part of being an owner.”
The eggplant lasagna at Yah’s Cuisine is the most popular dish.
“I love everybody and want everybody to experience what I’m doing,” Yedidah said. “Learn what I’m doing so that all of us can eat this way and feel healthy together so we can all live and enjoy our lives. Stop paying for health care plans just trying to live.”
Yah’s Cuisine just recently got Wi-Fi accessibility and credit cards are accepted.
Hours of operation at Yah’s Cuisine are Monday through Saturday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., from Jan. 12 to Mar. 31. Starting April 1, Yah’s Cuisine will open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays to Sundays and will be closed on Mondays.