Plans have been finalized for a new Huddle House restaurant to be built in the Calumet Heights neighborhood, making it the first Chicago location for the popular Atlanta-based chain diner.
Huddle House is set to open its South Side location next spring, possibly in February or March, according to Alvin Rider, an aide to Ald. Michelle Harris (8th).
“There’s no great breakfast places in the area, and that’s what the community has been asking for,” Rider said. “We’ve got a lot of input in terms of what it looks like.”
The new restaurant will be one of three development projects at 9401 S. Stony Island Ave., on the east side of Stony Island, Rider said. That 5-acre lot has been vacant for more than a decade after a motel there shut down.
Huddle House and a to-be-determined project — likely a restaurant or coffee shop — will each take up one acre directly off Stony Island, with a new 134-unit independent senior living building going up on the back part of the lot, Rider said. A private developer owns the land on which the senior living building and the other project will be built, while Huddle House owns the land for its new restaurant.
Though discussions haven’t yet progressed with individual restaurants for that other development, Rider said Starbucks, Panera Bread and Portillo’s were suggested by residents in a survey last year.
As for the community’s concerns about congestion in the area, Rider said new traffic lights will be installed at the entrance, while talks have been held about widening the viaduct just south of the developments.
Design drawings for the new Huddle House are being finalized with construction bids set to be put out soon, Rider said. One of the planned inclusions that came as the result of residents’ input is a community meeting room inside the diner.
A Huddle House spokeswoman said the chain signed an agreement with local entrepreneur Siraj “Sam” Elahi to open the restaurant.
“I am excited to bring Huddle House to the great city of Chicago,” Elahi said in the statement. “I know Calumet Heights residents will feel at home with Huddle House’s warm and welcoming atmosphere and will love our delicious Southern comfort food. I can’t wait to make an impact on the community.”
The Atlanta-based restaurant has 344 locations nationwide — including 9 in southern Illinois — but none in the Chicago area.
A major competitor to another popular diner, Waffle House, Huddle House has been a staple of the south for five decades.
Known as a neighborhood diner that is typically open around the clock, Huddle House’s newest location will make Chicago the largest U.S. city to be home to the breakfast food titan.