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Photo credit: Melanie L. Brown for Steed Media

Tell us your name and about your business.

My name is Cliff Rome. I am the owner and proprietor of Rome’s Joy Company. It’s comprised of Rome’s Joy Catering, Blanc’s Gallery, Parkway Ballroom, Peach’s restaurant and H Dogs Chicago, which is our gourmet hot dog eatery. We do on and offsite catering in the city of Chicago, located on 45th King Drive.

Where did you attend college?

I attended Kendall College, but most of my culinary training was for Wolfgang Puck. I followed Wolfgang for a number of years. I was awarded the opportunities to work abroad under the tutelage of the chef that worked for Wolfgang.

How did you get into the restaurant owning business?

Like most people you get into the industry and if it’s a passion then you move forward. Working under Wolfgang and being enable to travel abroad gave me more inspiration to not only become a good chef but to own my own business. One thing lead to another and I just started off understanding the mechanics of the industry and what the requirements were going to be. I ran with it.

Why the name Peach’s?

Peach’s is named after my mentor’s daughter. You couldn’t be on the South Side and not have a great name Peaches. Everybody has a Peaches in their family, so that name [resonates] in the African American community.

How long has your business been in Bronzeville?

We’ve been in Bronzeville for 15 years, we started off with Rome’s Joy Catering and restored the Parkway Ballroom.

When did Peach’s and H Dogs come into existence?

We started the H Dogs’ project about five years ago. We started the idea of Peach’s about seven years ago. We actually brought it into fruition last year, so it’s been just under a year. H Dogs has actually been there for five years. We just hit the reset button on H Dogs, so we’re going to come with a different concept.

Why did you choose this location?

Location is key being on the South Side of Chicago, with just the historical significance of what it meant to Black folks.

What is your most popular dish at Peach’s?  What is your favorite?

My restaurant favorite and probably customer favorite are the salmon croquettes.

Are there any customers who have visited Peach’s that you were amazed or in awe to see?

It’s no real amazement. It’s a facility on the South Side of Chicago where you get everyday customers. We get blue collar workers, politicians, and some celebrities. You just start to think about where we’re located on 47th street and realize it’s the heart beat of Bronzeville.  It’s the major corridor of King Drive at the intersection of 47th street. You’re going to get anyone whose anybody any day of the week.

How many employees do you have?

We have 25 employees. Most of them are part-time employees. The reason we are here is because there needs to be opportunities where people can work. No better place than Peach’s simply because all neighborhoods need a restaurant or institution in their community that not only supports the people but it supports them by giving them a check and that’s a way to empower so many people.

I think our next step is not necessarily to grow the hours but to grow the business the way we can do onsite catering. We can start where volume be on a more consistent basis where we’re able to bring more people on within the hours that be a lot. If there’s an overwhelming demand we’re then able to stretch those hours from 7am-3pm to maybe 7am-7pm.

How has business been going?

Business has been great. We’ve gotten really great support from our community. I think the goal is to be able now to continue to support our community by providing quality jobs, put quality service once they enter the space. At the end of the day dining hours is not something you have to do, it’s something you want to do. We got to have people come back to Peach’s for that great experience.