Things are getting better at Dinner and a Movie, the new restaurant and bar at 2500 North Ashland, according to the local alderman and the venue’s management. But at least one of the establishment’s neighbors is not convinced after armed men apparently robbed one of the business’ customers inside a car outside their children’s window last week.
The mysterious confrontation — no police report was ever filed, CPD says — was captured on video.
Dinner and a Movie’s troubles began in late June when about 17 shots were fired outside the fledgling restaurant during a fight involving its customers. No injuries were reported, but the city forced the business to close temporarily.
A month later, owner Rashad Bailey blamed his troubles with the city on racist neighbors rather than gunfire and other concerns.
“It’s disheartening because I’ve never been in this type of situation or experienced racism. I was naive and had no idea things were like this,” Bailey told Block Club Chicago.
Last Tuesday night, someone walked out of Dinner and a Movie, stepped into a parked car across the street, and was then promptly assaulted by two gunmen who pulled up next to him.
A neighbor’s surveillance camera system recorded it all. Watch:
After getting into his SUV, the victim sat for a few moments until another SUV pulled up next to him. Two men got out of the other car and entered the man’s vehicle with guns drawn. A third person remained in the assailant’s SUV.
Exactly what happened inside the SUV is not known, but it’s definitely not good. Guns are clearly seen, and the driver’s hands can be seen facing palm-out while one of the offenders uses the barrel of a handgun to push his head against the side window. The armed men eventually get out of the car — one turns back to pat down the victim — and they leave in their SUV.
The victim backs out and cuts across Ashland Avenue, screeching to a stop outside Dinner and a Movie. With the car’s taillights still on, the man runs full-speed into the restaurant while the assailants turn left on Ashland.
“This is my second emergency call in less than two months reporting gunmen in connection to this bar,” said the neighbor whose cameras recorded the incident. [This] frightening incident took place outside of my children’s window!” They asked us not to identify them by name.
“We have lived here for nearly a decade without a disturbance of this kind. Now there’s several, and two of them have been very traumatic to witness,” the neighbor said.
CPD spokesperson Karie James confirmed that police responded to a “person with a gun” call on the 2500 block of North Ashland after the incident, but no report was filed.
According to Sean Howard, Dinner and a Movie’s new spokesperson, the restaurant had “no problems” with the apparent victim. “He sat by himself eating for an hour or so. Paid his bill.”
“My best guess…and I’ve been doing it for 30 years, it’s a big probability it stems from another part of the city,” Howard said. “He never reported anything to us.” And the gunmen never came into the restaurant, he continued.
Howard also struck a conciliatory tone, saying the Block Club Chicago story was “a teaching moment for our establishment and a teaching moment for Rashad.”
“Everything isn’t based upon race,” Howard said. “We take in all the criticism…We hold ourselves accountable.”
“The shooting [in June] happened on our watch,” he continued. “There were a lot of improvements made over the past 60 days.”
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) agrees. After seeing the surveillance videos for himself, the alderman said Dinner and a Movie’s management was making quick work of the improvements city officials and neighbors asked for.
Neighbors who participated in a recent community meeting “seemed to think there was some improvement. Some are still wondering if it’s a bar or restaurant,” Waguespack said.
The meeting resulted in a list of 19 things neighbors wanted Dinner and a Movie management to take care of. Waguespack said all but a handful have already been completed. Among other things, the business now has at least two security guards at all times, and Howard says one of them is an off-duty CPD officer.
The city also gave the business a “to-do” list following the June closure. Progress has been good there, too, according to Waguespack.
“We know we have great neighbors,” Howard said. “Some of our harshest critics have been coming in, patronizing us.”
“Chicago is a city based on relationships, not a business license.”
After last week’s incident, CarX, the business that owns the lot where the confrontation took place, installed chains to keep drivers from entering the area after hours, according to Waguespack.