A restaurant offering healthy and affordable meals and food service training

Inspiration Kitchens-Garfield Park (IKGP) repurposed a former factory in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods into a restaurant. The fresh, healthy food in the 80-seat restaurant is prepared by students in IKGP’s award-winning food service training program, which provides a life-changing opportunity and counseling and support services for area residents struggling with poverty and homelessness. The restaurant also offers vouchers for free meals to local low-income residents.

Inspiration Kitchens-Garfield Park is an epitome of hope. It is an outstanding example of a place that brings people together—around good food, job training, and a well-designed space.

2013 Selection Committee

The restaurant, kitchen, and offices are housed in a 7,315-square-foot former factory next to an elevated rail station. The design features a light and airy interior and employs a wide range of energy-efficient elements, including a solar thermal hot water system. A large front window connects diners to the street, and a garden onsite and nearby community garden provide fresh produce for meals.

IKGP and the public-private-nonprofit collaborative process that created it exemplify important aspects of the social enterprise development process, including the power of partnership, thoughtful and effective design, and deep commitment to social change.