This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Chef Kelley Davison of Bettie Lou’s in Andersonville. Focusing on American cuisine with an urban twist, Chef Kelley’s menu pulls inspiration from European, Asian and Island dishes. A fan favorite, the Soul Rolls, have made their appearance at several Andersonville events now, including last year’s Farmers Market Dinner and Taste of Andersonville. Chef Kelley has an unrelenting positive outlook on life and drive to spread love within the community, which is evident in her warm and welcoming approach at Bettie Lou’s location at 5633 N Ashland.
“My idea is for you to feel like you are at Grandma’s house, where everything is freshly made.” – Chef Kelley Davison
Listen to Episode 110 with Chef Kelley!
Here are some references from Episode 110 that you may want to check out:
-Chef Kelley always created cool food, but she never set out to be a Chef. She had worked in restaurants in the past, but only in the front of house capacity.
– Before working in restaurants, Kelley worked in fashion as a stylist and seamstress. She even designed her own clothing line and also worked with celebrities as a stylist.
– Bettie Lou’s takes its name from Chef Kelley’s mom who kept the entire family well-fed and healthy growing up. While her mom specialized in soul food, Chef Kelley has altered many of the original recipes for healthier eating, including vegetarian options. A photo of Kelley’s mom, Bettie Lou, is the logo for the restaurant and t-shirt.
– Chef Kelley found herself hanging out in Andersonville a lot, and while she was catering on the side, opening a restaurant was a little bit of a pipe dream that just kind of happened. There were a lot of people involved with opening and investing, of which she is so grateful.
“I’m saving everyone one plate at a time.” – Chef Kelley Davison
-The famous soul roll is made from three of Chef Kelley’s favorite things: collard greens, candied yams and six cheese mac and cheese and all rolled into an egg roll, as easy to eat as a walking taco.
– The restaurant is decorated in a cozy manner where you can come in and relax while slowing down and having a home cooked meal.
– Chef Kelley believes in starting her day with a positive attitude, despite the current COVID situation. She was able to bring back a select number of staff to help, but not many. She’s optimistic, though, that the support of the neighborhood will see them through.
– Chef Kelley points out that the City of Chicago will fine a small business $2500 if they do not mandate wearing a mask inside. Because she and her staff have had issues with customers not complying, they are not serving the 25% indoor capacity, but have instead set up some tables outside and continue to offer pickup and delivery.
– Chef Kelley’s been able to employ her staff as her delivery drivers offering free delivery within a 2-3 mile radius of the restaurant. Order directly through Bettie Lou’s instead of using the delivery apps.
– Everything at Bettie Lou’s is made fresh, so expect to wait at least 20 minutes if you walk in to order. The two most popular dishes on the menu Jerk Chicken and Soul Rolls. Every side item on the menu is a vegetarian item. The vegetarian items are all quicker to make at only 10 minutes. Check out the menu here. Chef Kelley has even had vegetarians bring the food back thinking they couldn’t eat it because it tasted too good to not include meat!
– Chef Kelley is still catering for outdoor family gatherings and hosting small private events (10 people or less) in the restaurant’s private room. For more information about either option, call the restaurant at 312-725-2247.
– More than anything, Chef Kelley misses people – giving people a hug – and the social interaction. As a Chef, she feels like she washes her hands 1,000 times a day anyway.
– Chef Kelley so appreciates all of the people who thought about her on her birthday on August 6 and left kind reviews.
– The best way to support Bettie Lou’s during this time is to consider catering, private parties, or just keep Bettie Lou’s in mind for a meal out or in, and tell a friend. Always ask what specials are on the menu.
– Chef Kelley would switch places with one of the clothing boutiques on Clark Street if given the chance to switch places with an Andersonville business for a day.
– View Bettie Lou’s hours of operation, Wednesday – Sunday, on the website.
“Andersonville was the only choice.” – Chef Kelley Davison