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The Last Remaining Native Foods in Chicago Becomes Employee-Owned; Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Chicago Native Foods Ribbon Cutting

Native Foods owner Dame Dia, 34th ward Alderman Bill Conway, and Lotika Pai, Chief Small Business Officer from the Mayor's office and Friends

Celebrating community and commitment, Chicago’s last native food joint embraces an employee-owned future with a special ribbon-cutting event.

CHICAGO, IL, UNITED STATES, April 15, 2024 / -- Native Foods, the only remaining location of the once widespread plant-based fast casual chain in Chicago, celebrated a major transition to employee ownership with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 11. Located at 218 S. Clark St., Chicago, IL 50504, in the bustling heart of the Loop, this milestone event was marked by the presence of owner Dame Dia, 34th ward Alderman Bill Conway, and Lotika Pai, Chief Small Business Officer from the Mayor's office.

Founded originally in California, Native Foods has been a pioneer in offering delicious, plant-based menu items. Among the crowd favorites are the panko-crusted Cauliflower Dippers, Thai Chili Brussels Sprouts, and the Poppin' Jalapeno Burger. The Chicago location is now the sole outpost following the closures of the branches in Hyde Park, Wicker Park and Lakeview.

Dame Dia, who has served as the Chicago District Manager and has a rich 15-year career in the restaurant industry, was presented an extraordinary opportunity to own the last standing Native Foods location in Chicago. This transition was enthusiastically received by the community, particularly amid concerns about the future of Native Foods. Dame's journey to ownership is not just about business, but a narrative of resilience, community support, and cultural heritage," remarked Alderman Will Conway during the ceremony.

Exciting New Spring/Summer Menu Unveiled
Native Foods proudly unveils its innovative Spring/Summer menu, brimming with creative plant-based dishes that promise both delight and satisfaction. Among the exciting new additions is the Vegan Shrimp Po'boy Sandwich, a fresh take on a classic favorite and 3 Tacos 3 Ways: Grilled Chicken Taco combines coleslaw, salsa fresca, and cilantro, dressed in green goddess dressing; Fried Cauliflower Taco is tossed in Thai chili sauce for a sweet and spicy kick; and the Vegan Beef Taco is topped with the same fresh ingredients and creamy green goddess dressing. Each dish showcases Native Foods' commitment to culinary innovation and plant-based pleasure.

The ceremony was a festive convergence of community, cuisine, and commitment to sustainable business practices, highlighting the potential for more culturally rich and community-focused dining experiences in Chicago.

For more information, visit or contact:
OnJaLee LaShay
Director of Marketing
Native Foods | 773.972.6543
Social: @chicago.nativefoods

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OnJaLee LaShay
Native Foods, Director of Marketing
+1 7739726543
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Chicago Native Foods Ribbon Cutting