New Culver’s in Pullman to serve tourists and residents

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Maddox Walton’s favorite dish is a Butterburger topped with ketchup, mustard, lettuce and a side of Culver’s fries. The 8-year-old likes to top it off with an ice cream sundae, with sprinkles.

But since Maddox and her mother Meagan McNeal moved to Pullman two years ago, getting her favorite meal hasn’t been easy.

“When we moved here there was nothing,” said McNeal, 35. “We always had to drive to Bronzeville or Evergreen [Park] or Crestwood.

But on Monday, Maddox was one of the first to place an order at a new Culver’s located at 111st Street and Doty Avenue, just off the Bishop Ford Freeway.

Before the new Culver’s arrived, McNeal and Maddox frequented nearby restaurants, including the Potbelly in the dining room across the parking lot.

Maddox Walton, 8, lists his favorite meal at Culver’s during Monday’s inauguration and ribbon cutting. With him is his mother, Meagan McNeal.
Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times

But they noticed construction at the Culver site and continued to monitor construction of the 4,300 square foot restaurant.

“I can’t legitimately tell you how excited we got as we were going back and forth to get home and they added the sign or the parking blocks,” McNeal said.

Finally, one day Maddox came home, bursting with excitement, rushed over to her and said, “The menu is ready! “

This is owner / operator Baron Waller’s sixth Culver’s restaurant, his fifth in Illinois and second in Chicago.

Waller will also own and operate Culver’s in West Garfield Park, near the new Chicago Police and Fire Department training center. Plans call for the opening of this location next fall.

At Monday’s opening, Waller said he wanted to build in Pullman to “be part of the resurgence” of the region.

As Culver’s largest African-American franchise owner, he also wanted to be part of a predominantly black community.

“We want to come to our neighborhoods and make an impact,” said Waller, 60. communities, bring some stabilization in these communities and create jobs.

Culver franchise owner Baron Waller speaks on Monday, November 8, 2021 at his new Culver's located at 111st Street and Doty Avenue in Pullman.

Culver’s, which opened in Pullman on Monday, is franchise owner Baron Waller’s fifth location in Illinois.
Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times

Pullman Culver’s brings 70 new jobs and qualifies for $ 1.5 million in federal and state tax credits. He also received a $ 250,000 grant from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund of Chicago.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said Culver’s was part of the “renaissance” in the area.

Located on land abandoned by Ryerson Steel in 2006, Culver’s is adjacent to the Method factory which opened in 2015; last year, an Amazon warehouse opened; and just down the block is the Pullman National Monument, which opened its visitor center this summer.

And, Beale said, other developments are underway.

Addressing the Monday crowd, Beale said Culver’s offered neighborhood families and visitors to the monument a place to eat, but “then we’re going to work on a place for them to sleep!”

He didn’t give details, but said it shows Pullman is viewed differently.

Culver employees watch Monday's press conference celebrating the opening of their restaurant, located at 111st Street and Doty Avenue in Pullman.

Culver employees watch Monday’s press conference celebrating the opening of their restaurant, located at 111st Street and Doty Avenue in Pullman.
Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times

“I think it changes the narrative in our community and the stigma we have on our community,” Beale said. “These companies wouldn’t have taken a risk … if they hadn’t sensed something was going on. … It changes the mindset, and once you change the mindset of people, then you’re going to start to see the fallout.

As for McNeal, she’s just thrilled to have one of her favorite dishes – the shrimp basket – on the nights she doesn’t want to cook.

Cheyanne M. Daniels is a reporter for the Sun-Times via Report for America, a non-profit journalism program that aims to strengthen the newspaper’s coverage of communities on the South Side and West Side.


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