Athena Williams, a West Side native and the executive director of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center in Oak Park, spoke briefly on Thursday about memories she has of her father’s West Side restaurant, once a community institution.

My father had a business, Green Southern BBQ. It’s interesting, because as old as I am, some people, when they see me, they reflect back to my father’s business. 

Growing up, it was on the corner of Lake and Pulaski, right under the L stop. I graduated from Whitney Young and I would take the train, get off and go right there to the business. And then we moved over to Washington and Pulaski later on. 

I grew up in Garfield Park, we had the business there, and we lived in the 4400 block of Jackson and I would walk home from the restaurant and see all of the business owners. Business was thriving then. It was just great to see all the Black business owners in the community. 

My father was a staple and I was Mr. Green’s daughter. So, walking home, I would stop in all of the businesses and talk to the business people. We were thriving back then. And I’m looking forward to the Soul City Corridor [a portion of  Chicago Avenue, from Austin to Kilpatrick] becoming that again.