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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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Celebrated former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Dave Hoekstra unearths stories as he travels, tastes, and talks his way through 20 of America’s soul food restaurants
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. loved the fried catfish and lemon icebox pie at Memphis’s Four Way restaurant. In New Orleans, beloved chef Leah Chase recalls introducing George W. Bush to baked cheese grits and scolding Barack Obama for putting Tabasco sauce on her gumbo. 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 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 photographs, recipes, and ruminations from notable regulars—including Minnijean Brown, one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957; former congressman and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young; jazz legend Ramsey Lewis; James Meredith, the first African American student admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi; and many others—The People’s Place is an unprecedented celebration of soul food and community.


“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 weekly radio program Nocturnal Journal with Dave Hoekstra on WGN-720 AM. A Chicago Sun-Times columnist from 1985 to 2014, he is the author of Cougars and Snappers and Loons (Oh My!), The Supper Club Book, and Ticket to Everywhere. He lives in Chicago. 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 children at risk through poverty or health issues such as autism. 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. He lives in Chicago.