Police responded to a knock-down, drag-out, table and chair-tossing, full-on brawl Saturday night inside Dinner and a Movie, the beleaguered restaurant and bar at 2500 North Ashland in Lincoln Park.
Video posted to Facebook shows men and women hurling chairs and tables during the fight around 10:45 p.m. Witnesses told officers that one man displayed a gun before Chicago police arrived.
“I called [police] 30 minutes before. They said it was a shift change,” Rashad Bailey, the restaurant’s owner, said Monday. There were four security guards on duty Saturday night, he said.
“What am I supposed to do? I sell catfish and Casamigos … I’m supposed to give them a background check before they come in for waffles?”
Frank Gates posted video of the fight to Facebook on Sunday morning. Watch:
Saturday’s brawl could not have come at a worse time for Bailey. He’s scheduled to appear in front of the Mayor’s License Disciplinary Committee next Monday, April 4th. Dinner and a Movie’s license to operate hangs in the balance at the hearing, which follows a series of complaints from neighbors and failed efforts to reign in alleged problems with the business.
But Bailey said he had not had any problems for eight months.
The trouble began last June when shots were fired and a large fight erupted outside the newly-opened venue. No one was struck by the gunfire, but several people were overcome by pepper spray during the altercation, Officer Ronald Westbrooks, a police spokesperson, said at the time.
Police ordered the business to shut down and issued a summary closure notice due to the shooting incident, Westbrooks said.
Bailey, 31, soon re-opened after meeting with city officials and neighbors. Another meeting resulted in a list of 19 things neighbors wanted Dinner and a Movie management to take care of. Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) said in late August that they completed all but a handful.
The optimism and good vibes did not last long. In mid-October, Waguespack told constituents that a community meeting with Dinner and a Movie “was terminated this week and sent to the next level of nuisance abatement. Ongoing issues included failure to link cameras to OEMC, security patrol and noise issues from patrons leaving the bar while intoxicated.”
In an email Monday evening, Waguespack said, “It will be up to the liquor commissioner and a judge to decide what happens April 4th and after. They should have ample evidence to find the business causes a continued deleterious impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the community and the license could be revoked.”
Terrorists and aliens
“The last altercation we had was eight months ago,” Bailey said Monday. “I’m always thinking about it. What can I do?”
Claiming “the Chicago Police Department refuses to show up in a timely manner,” Bailey said he recently offered to pay the city to post an on-duty police unit outside Dinner and a Movie during peak hours. They turned him down, he said.
“They’re being reactive. Everywhere I look, I’m under attack,” he continued. “The structural racism I’m dealing with is if you need police at your business, then the business is the problem.”
Why should police post a patrol car outside his business when so many others operate without a dedicated police unit?
“I have Black customers … There may be something that may occur. What is the demographic of the crime [in Chicago]?” Bailey asked. “Based off the numbers … there are bad people in the bunch. They came in [Saturday] night. We haven’t seen them in eight months.”
“They’re not Black people. They’re aliens and they sneak in,” he continued. “I don’t want Black terrorists. They terrorized my customers and my business.”
“192 days of service with no incidents …the aliens showed up and attacked us.”
Convinced that CPD is — at the very least — not supportive of his business, Bailey said he has been wrestling with the idea of starting his own security company.
“A business owner is trying to build his own security firm. I sell catfish and waffles. That’s crazy.”
Bailey said the cost of security “is financially killing me, and nothing’s happening. You made $1,500 and gave $400 to security. You can’t run a business like that.”
“All this for catfish?” Bailey wondered. “If they got such a problem with my black ass, cut me a check and let me go.”