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The People's Place
The People's Place

The People's Place

Soul Food Restaurants and Reminiscences from the Civil Rights Era to Today

By Dave Hoekstra, Foreword by Chaka Khan, Photographs By Paul Natkin


240 Pages, 8.25 x 8.25

Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF

Cloth, $29.95 (US $29.95) (CA $35.95)

Publication Date: October 2015

ISBN 9781613730591

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Oct 2015)


eBook Editions Available

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Price: $29.95


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. loved the fried catfish and lemon icebox pie at Memphis's Four Way restaurant. Beloved nonagenarian chef Leah Chase introduced George W. Bush to baked cheese grits and scolded Barack Obama for putting Tabasco sauce on her gumbo at New Orleans's Dooky Chase's. When SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael asked Ben's Chili Bowl owners Ben and Virginia Ali to keep the restaurant open during the 1968 Washington, DC, riots, they obliged, feeding police, firefighters, and student activists as they worked together to quell the violence. Celebrated former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Dave Hoekstra unearths these stories and hundreds more as he travels, tastes, and talks his way through twenty of America's best, liveliest, and most historically significant soul food restau­rants. Following the "soul food corridor" from the South through northern industrial cities, The People's Place gives voice to the remarkable chefs, workers, and small business owners (often women) who provided sustenance and a safe haven for civil rights pioneers, not to mention presidents and politicians; music, film, and sports legends; and countless everyday, working-class people. Featuring lush photos, mouth-watering recipes, and ruminations from notable regulars such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, jazz legend Ramsey Lewis, Little Rock Nine member Minnijean Brown, and many others, The People's Place is an unprecedented celebration of soul food, community, and oral history.


"Yum and a slice of American history with a side of culture preservation thanks to Dave Hoekstra!" —Sam Moore, legendary soul singer whose hits include "Soul Man" and "I Thank You"

"Just about every African American musician and singer was raised on the soulful style of cooking and carries it close their hearts while sharing their own gift to the world. Seeing this collection of restaurants and photographs of those who made their presence so well known during this period in American history brings a great feeling of nostalgia as well as a reminder of the struggle of the day." —Altheida Mayfield, widow of Curtis Mayfield

"A beautiful book that takes us on a journey through the country's soul food corridor and into the smells and tastes and memories that bind every American. In Hoekstra's hands, The People's Place becomes our place, warm and nourishing, a treasure in our midst." —Robert Kurson bestselling author of Shadow Divers and Pirate Hunters

"Choose this book for its valuable history lessons, culinary history of a people and the value of a good meal creating community." —Louisiana Book News

Author Biography

Dave Hoekstra is the host of the radio program Nocturnal Journal with Dave Hoekstra on WGN-720 AM. A Chicago Sun-Times columnist from 1985 to 2014, he is also the author of The Supper Club Book, Cougars and Snappers and Loons (Oh My!), and Ticket to Everywhere. Chaka Kahn is a musician whose unique blend of jazz, rock, funk, soul, disco, and pop has earned her 10 Grammy Awards. In 1999 she established the Chaka Khan Foundation, which assists at-risk children. Paul Natkin is a professional photographer who has photographed major music stars since the mid-1960s, including Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Tina Turner, and countless others. His images have appeared in Creem, Ebony, Jet, Newsweek, People, Rolling Stone, and Spin, among others.