Black Folks are like Mexicans, only we steeped American culture eons ago. That’s why you can travel to Chicago’s Little Italy and find a breakfast/lunch joint which caters primarily to folks of color and makes everyone else wonder why they can’t cook like this. Sweet Maple Cafe; consider yourself warned.
Yea, the gentlemangs rock coogie sweaters and the gentlefems are fresh outta The Color Purple.
“My’s chirrens lives in AFRIKKA!”
Don’t get me wrong, the dynamic in the dining room is extremely mixed: UIC students, southwest siders, prominent Afro-Americans who just can’t put down the swine, and yea, Bamas.
What is Bama? This is:
I was born in North Cakalak, so I’m used to this type of behavior. But for some of yall, this might be a frightening first. Rest assured, Bamas know how to cook. Primary ingredients usually include a tub-o-lard and fatbacks. Moreover, the Bama gets that culinary shine on during breakfast by supplanting typical lunch and dinner foodstuffs (such as fried pork chop and fried chicken) to fortify an normally lackluster meal.
We got to the spot around 11am and the host told us that the wait was going to be around 55 minutes. Usually restaurants in the city buff wait times to scare away patrons who aint serious, so we thought that we’d be sat in 30-40. Well, we waited for over an hour. In the vien of ‘that countray shit,’ Sweet Maple does not rush its customers and pisses on “turning tables” like that dood Calvin. This, coupled with the fact that the dining room is basically 10 tables, makes a wait as painful as being sold on the auction block to Massa Tom.
Don’t take my word for it. Digital photos NEVER lie.
Famished by the time we were sat, we ignored Bama dining rules and ordered hastily.
We went with ‘A Couple of Eggs’ breakfast, which features two eggs any style, a choice of biscuit or toast (please don’t be stupid and order toast), country bacon or sausage and an order of homefries. Everything on the plate was exceptional; the eggs where scrambled to perfection and the biscuits were warm and hearty. Homefries were a standard fare; onion, green pepper, oregano and, of course, a Bama must have-paprika. The country sausage was the head cornerstone, and if mass marketed, would have Jimmy Dean and Bob Evans calling they local social service agency for public assistance programs.
Then we scooped up one of the ‘Daybreak Sandwiches’ and some cheese grits. The former can be loaded with country sausage, bacon, or fried chicken. Having missed out on the fried chicken sandwich on previous visits, I was salivating when the biscuit medley arrived at the table. Unfortunately, the chicken just wasn’t as flavorful as the country sausage or bacon and just left me craving a Chick-Fil-a’s Chicken Biscut all damn day.
The latter, or DEM GRITS, were a proper consistency…not smooth like Mississippi Mud and not hard like South Cakalak cow pies. Not like Grandma used to make, but unfortunately she wasn’t back in the kitchen slapping cooks around with a broom stick, so I guess you get what you pay for.
To sum it all up, we live in Chicago, so expectations for a southern restaurant can ride a few notches lower than usual. Nevertheless, Sweet Maple makes a valiant effort at cooking up some of that Bama Shit. Kudos.