Even after freshly losing his business to Chicago license enforcers, Rashad Bailey speaks energetically, enthusiastically, passionately.
“They got a sticker on my door. They f*cking won,” he conceded Tuesday morning. After a 14-month battle, the city shuttered his Lincoln Park restaurant, Dinner and a Movie, permanently on Friday. “Plus one for White Chicago. Racism won.”
A lot of what Bailey said during an hour-long free-flowing conversation Tuesday morning will surprise people. But if you’re expecting the usual racism talking points, think again.
“I’m heartbroken,” Bailey said. “I had 600 people coming Friday, Saturday, Sunday [for celebrations]. They planned it two or three months in advance. I don’t even know how to tell everyone that racism won. D*ckheads won. That my skin is a problem.”
“For a moment, I felt like crying,” Bailey said. “I mean, I made it to Lincoln Park. We took all these pictures [of customers] having a good time and it was so nice. I’m gonna change my number ‘cuz people are still calling for reservations.”
“You got regular Black people who come to Dinner and a Movie. They’re like normal people. Then you get those other motherf*ckers. They’re savages,” he said “All it takes is one or two and it’s like, damn! Sh*t happened. I’m Black, so I can say this. At this point, whatever.”
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) sent an email to his constituents about the closing just before Bailey spoke.
A city hearing officer closed Dinner and a Movie “based on the Deleterious Impact (aka Public Nuisance) Ordinance,” Waguespack wrote. “Residents should now see a bright orange sticker on the door stating that it has been revoked and this applies to all licenses the business held.”
Bailey’s problems began about a month after he opened the restaurant at 2500 North Ashland in May 2021. Shots were fired and a large fight erupted outside his doors. No one was struck by gunfire, but police ordered the business to close immediately under the city’s “summary closure” ordinance.
Bailey, 31, soon re-opened after meeting with city officials and neighbors. A plan of action was drawn up. But, citing more problems, the city continued with “nuisance abatement” maneuvers until a hearing officer ordered the closure late last week.
The business can appeal, Waguespack said, but Bailey didn’t sound interested in another round: “What are they gonna do? Sue me some more?”
‘I don’t know these people from a can of paint’
One of Bailey’s chief complaints is that Black-owned businesses are treated differently in Chicago. And in all the wrong ways.
Referring to the daylight murder of rapper FGB Duck as he walked out of a posh Gold Coast boutique two years ago, Bailey said, “He was in a f*cking store on Oak Street and they shot his *ss up! Is that the store’s problem? No!”
“If it’s a Black customer at a White store, it’s a shooting. If it’s a Black customer at at a Black store, it’s a problem. Shootings by those bars on Hubbard Street with White and Arab owners? That’s not a problem.”
‘We got problems in Chicago’
“We’ve got a mayor that leads in Chicago that’s not from Chicago. So don’t pull that Black card on me. [Mayor Lori Lightfoot] knows nothing about other walks of life, the crazy savages—and, when I say ‘savages,’ I mean the crazy Black people who put pressure on regular Black people.”
“These are the same people spreading sh*t around Chicago. I don’t like those crazy motherf*ckers. It’s like, you have a good time, you go home. Them? The only thing they f*cking respect is being put in handcuffs. I’m 6’3″, 200 pounds and that sh*t is crazy.”
“As a city, we’re f*cked. The music they’re listening to … How’d we go from ‘everybody loves bump and grind’ to f*cking killing each other? How’d that happen?”
“We got problems in Chicago. This ain’t no f*cking Mayberry. People getting shot and robbed all throughout the city. People getting their cars stolen. People losing their life. Whatever [leaders are] doing, it’s not working.”
“Then you got a person leading the police department who’s not even from Chicago. He don’t even speak the f*cking language.”
“You got some [politicians] that are so far to the f*cking left that they pretend we don’t have problems in our community. Even after looting sh*t. That’s a problem. I don’t share that same ideal, that same way of thinking.”
“They wanna call it urban sh*t. Man, f*ck that. It’s f*cking savages. Bad people should be in jail. That’s the thing. So, when they walk up to you, you’re like, ‘How the f*ck are you out here?'”
“Lock all their asses up. I don’t know what’s going on with our DA or our state’s attorney. I don’t know what the f*ck they’re called because I don’t go to jail. But it’s a problem.”
Raised by the streets
“You know why we have a problem in Chicago that’s become so aggressive that no one can control it? It’s because when you take the community center away, the streets raise the kids.”
“2010 is when all the sudden the park district started renting out the spaces, vouchers, and the parks aren’t available. For White people, that’s OK. You can drop [the kids] off at daycare and sh*t. But Black people need the parks, the snack, the summer camp. So, when you push the kids out of the community center, you lose the community.”
“They’re learning behavior, language, on the streets. They know about what happens on 79th, the rappers, and other bullsh*t crazy sh*t. But there’s no f*cking nets on the rims [at park district basketball courts]. The pool’s closed.”
“So, who’s gonna raise you? The f*cking street’s gonna raise you. And if you’re a bad f*cking child, and it’s never corrected, what happens? It gets passed along and you become a problem. And now they’re erupting because you ignored them for 10-plus years.”
“We get Black people in office, they ignore the Black community. You’re Black first. Take care of yours. The Italians’ gonna take care of Italians. Yeah, don’t ignore them, but take care of yours.”
If you think Bailey might be running for office, think again.
“No! F*ck Chicago. F*ck this corruption. This is not like a city where if you’re a good person with a good heart and good character and do the right thing, you’ll do OK. I feel like we’re in the old days.
“I’m over this sh*t. They treat you better in red states anyway if you’re a business owner.”
Bailey has long complained that the city, and particularly the police department, were out to shut him down from the beginning.
“I put my restaurant in a good neighborhood to get away from the f*ckin’ crazy.”
“The first day, [former 19th District Police Cmdr. Chris Papaioannou] pulls up and says, ‘Who are you? I didn’t approve this. This looks like a club.'”
“It’s institutional racism, so he just walked around, ‘It’s a club. It’s a club.'”
“The next day, he makes a phone call to vice and within seven days of me being open, I had five groups of undercover police inside my restaurant recording and taking notes, trying to build a case against me. We didn’t have a fight. We didn’t have a shooting. That was June. These motherf*ckers were there May the 8th.”
“I love Chicago PD. I watch every episode. But when you deal with them in real life, man, you hate them.”
One of the complaints Bailey heard from the city was that Dinner and a Movie’s receipts showed that it did not meet a licensing requirement that limited liquor sales to 40% of revenue. Yet, he says, the city refused to let him open before 4 p.m., so he couldn’t even serve lunch to get more food sales.
“They was looking for sh*t. It was like, ‘Oh! You have finger food.’ Because I don’t cook steak and lasagna, it’s not real food? Go f*ck yourself.”
“They said, ‘Oh! They don’t have food, they have party wings.'”
“Hey, you f*cking d*ckhead. Buffalo Wild Wings is a billion-dollar company. Go audit their sh*t and see what comes up.”
“‘Well, you’ve got people dancing on their cars two blocks over.’ That’s Dinner and a Movie’s problem? People blocking driveways blocks over?”
Pointing to the city’s temporary closure of a McDonald’s following a mass shooting near State and Chicago in May, Bailey was incredulous.
“Does McDonald’s sell liquor? Some wild, young Black people were there being f*cking d*ckheads. Why are you putting that on McDonald’s? McDonald’s sells chicken nuggets. What the f*ck? Get your Happy Meal and go away! What the f*ck you talking about?”
Recalling another situation: “A guy jumps out and kills a guy with a Draco, they close the gas station [where the murder] happened because the gas station’s gotta do better. What the f*ck you talking about?”
“The police put it on the businesses. We can’t give anybody tickets. Crime is your business.”
“How about coming up with solutions? There is no solution. The solution is we want your Black ass out. It’s not everybody, but it’s a few of ’em and that’s enough.”
“People say, ‘Oh, there’s Black businesses. You got Batter and Berries. It’s a Black business.'”
“They’re f*cking breakfast. Get your pancakes and get out. Ain’t nobody shooting nobody in the morning.”
Bailey declined to say what was next for him.
“I’m not telling nobody nothing. I’m over. I need to stay the f*ck away from these crazies,” Bailey said. “What they just showed me as a Black man in Chicago is I’m not safe in Chicago. It’s not from my own people. It’s from the corruption. All these rules and guidelines were put in 60 years ago and they keep it like that so they can enforce it at their discretion.”
“I’ve been in court 14 months. I was only open 16 months. What the f*ck? How is that possible? And I can’t serve lunch.”