By Farrah Turenne
Chef Sara’s Café is a boutique café and coffeehouse on the South Shore owned and operated by Chef Sara and family that specializes in fresh affordable cuisine. It is a family establishment own by siblings Sara Phillips and Gene Phillips located at 7201 South Exchange.
As Chef Sara herself explains, “We’ve been serving the South Shore neighborhood and the visitors for one year at the cafe.”
Not only have they managed to develop strong ties to the neighborhood and its residents, but with customers outside the area as well, with people singing Chef Sara’s Café praises on different websites and through extensive word of mouth.
It’s an oasis – a comfortable environment with great people and exceptional service, that makes you feel at home. Those are some of the customers’ response when asked, or bluntly just offered out of the blue. I recall the first time I, went there and I have to say I agree 100 percent.
Sara’s vision is simple: offer delicious cooking at fair prices while promoting a healthy lifestyle. She wants to not only retain the customer base, but also show the community a better choice for healthy living so that everyone is able to enjoy and afford her food.
About 82 percent of the café’s regular customers know Sara from her humble beginnings selling her food by cart door to door and they enjoy her home cooked style meals on a daily bases.
When ask why the South Shore location, Sara and her brother both explain this is their childhood neighborhood and they are giving back.
Chef Sara is culinary trained. She attended the Art Institute and this is her second profession. Her first was as an airline attendant, where she acquired knowledge from around the world about her passion and dream of cooking. Now she’s sharing her gift with Chicago’s public.
All foods at Chef Sara’s Café are made with fresh fruit & vegetables and made from scratch – dishes like Shrimp and Cheesy Grits, Salmon Burgers, Turkey Chili and all types of salads. It’s food for all, but especially health-conscious people.
My favorite is the Asian Salad & Shredded Cabbage, with sliced almonds, Japanese noodles, and Asian dressing.
Chef Sara’s family and staff would like to aide the community by offering a healthier choice for breakfast/brunch and lunch. What separates them from others is the fact that food is as she says, “fresh, affordable food, lovingly prepared for everyone.”
Let’s not forget they are a complete coffeehouse, and the coffee drinks are exceptional and fresh every cup. Chef Sara’s Café offers all types of coffee drinks – the brand used is Stivers coffee – and after one cup you’ll will say the same thing…“exceptional.”
They also offer smoothie drinks, the most popular of which is the veggie smoothie with kale greens, broccoli, assorted vegetables and your favorite fruit. Despite what you’d think, the surprise is that it has a dominant fruit taste.
This Café for sure is for those who would enjoy a home-cooked meal, just like Mom used to make, but prepared in a healthy way.
Feel free to stop in; they are open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Also check out Chef Sara’s Café page on Facebook for her daily special.
Chef Sara’s Café
7201 South Exchange Avenue
Chicago IL 60649
Face-book/Chef Sara’s Cafe