St. Rest Country Kitchen, Chicago‘s oldest Black-owned soul food restaurant, is celebrating its 50th year anniversary. The late Rev. Larry Hopkins and his wife Sophia Hopkins founded the restaurant in 1972. Hopkins’ daughter Daniella Coffey is now leading the eatery with her husband John, her mother and general manager Angela Chatman.

“Great customer service, sanitation and great food. Those are our pillars here, and of course, faith,” Coffey said in an interview with Fox 32 Chicago.

St. Rest’s wide selection includes turkey legs, short ribs, smothered pork chops, cabbage, black-eyed peas, succotash and candied yams. The restaurant has attracted some of Chicago’s biggest celebrities, including Michael Jordan.

When Coffey inherited the restaurant in 2021, the business was $600,000 in debt and facing foreclosure. Over the next year, however, the family restructured the business and paid off their debt. Coffey and her team say their business tells a story of resilience. They also take pride in the comfort they provide to customers.

“As soon as you walk through the doors, everyone is family. That’s just how it is down south back in the day,” Chatman told Fox 32.

Coffey said it’s especially important for her to inspire women to chase their dreams.

“You don’t need another person to validate you. You have everything that you need in your hands. The only thing left is for you to use it,” she said.

In a Facebook video she posted in 2021, Coffey said the family calls the restaurant’s food “heart food.”

“Because we know what comes from the heart reaches the heart,” she said. “When you walk in here, it’s almost like walking into grandma and grandpa’s house, you know you’re gonna get some good food, you’re gonna get some wisdom, you’re gonna get good service, you may get a hug. That’s just how we roll here.”

Faith is especially key for the family.

“We are a Christian-based family,” Coffey said. “This business was built off of faith. My father, pastor Larry Hopkins is the founder, and when I tell you he was a hard-working, he was a man of faith. He was a man that believed God. He has been through many challenges. His legacy has lived on.”