This is an old/new restaurant that deserves a place on our weekly Kooley List. The Currency Cafe is in all essence an Arts Cafe. Nestled in the Arts Block extending along East Garfield Boulevard from South Prairie Avenue to South Martin Luther King Drive; the Arts Block and The Currency establishes a new standard for university community partnerships.
Theaster Gates, head of the Art's and Public Life initiative at the University of Chicago, took a major risk when he opened the Currency Exchange Cafe in the hood next door to the Arts Incubator he developed there last year. But it was a risk that paid off. The menu features old southern comforts like shrimp and grits and the breakfast soul bowl that's filled with eggs, collard greens, potatoes and your choice of sausage. The music is on point and the customers are an eclectic group of creatives, entrepreneurs and U of C faculty and students.
If you are not afraid to come to the gentrified hood, make this one of your stops this summer.