When you visit Tee's Snack Shop, owned and operated by Rosemarie Rodriguez at 5118 W. Madison St., you might see the whole neighborhood drop in. Mr. Bonneville, in his 80s, will tell you of riding streetcars on Madison, when it was so full of stores you didn't need to shop anywhere else. You can get a youthful perspective from Shamira Gaston, who stops in when she's off duty from her factory job.
During one recent visit Rodriguez, who is bilingual and Puerto Rican and African American, spoke of her popular shop:
Tee's is named "T" for the Taylor family that had this place for 34 years. For a while, I ran a catering truck from here, but got out of that part of the business last year when everybody started doing food trucks. I've owned the snack shop for 10 years, and have run it for nine. It's nothing fancy, but we fixed it up and painted it. I've still got some more ideas to make it nicer, and we have a patio out back for parties and special events.
We offer fresh food prepared right on the spot. We're the original home of stuffed turkey and beef burgers. We fold the meat around two additional ingredients that the customer chooses, and then we grill the burger, put it on a toasted brioche bun or good wheat bread. Salmon croquettes served with syrup are a favorite around here too, and grits with cheese — we put the cheese in with the grits, not just on top.
I think people feel good about this shop, it's a place where everybody knows your name like the 'Cheers' TV show. I'm so small you can't compare me to McDonalds, but some of these kids are so used to fast food they don't know what real food from home tastes like.
— BONNI McKEOWN
Answer Book 2017
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