CHICAGO — A favorite neighborhood eatery offering fine dining, while teaching students all aspects of operating a restaurant is coming back to Englewood.

After being closed in 2020, plans are now in place to re-open Sikia restaurant located at Kennedy King College.

Besides fast food, Sikia was the only sit-down restaurant in Englewood. Thanks to a generous grant, Sikia restaurant will make a comeback.

Culinary students training under chefs at Washburn Culinary and Hospitality Institute at Kennedy King College are learning to perfect baking bread and pastries.

“Our students are excited to serve the community we don’t have a lot of opportunities at fine dining here but this is the start and it’s a great start,” Chef Instructor Cara Benski-McPhee said.

Quality fine dining is returning to Englewood, a community where leaders at Kennedy King said doesn’t have any sit-down restaurants other than fast food spots.

“It sounds cliché but to be the only sit-down restaurant on this side of town is really a big deal for the people who live here,” Jewel Mideau, Executive Dean of Washburn Culinary and Hospitality Institute, said.

In 2009, Sikia restaurant got up and running providing culinary and hospitality students hands on experience.

Like many businesses though, it shut down in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are in the heart of Englewood and we know that the Englewood community deserves the best and the shiniest and the brightest and so this gift from Mackenzie Scott is going to allow us to do just that,” President of Kennedy King College Katonja Webb Walker said.

“This is a great opportunity for our student learners and our community to try out menu ideas and recipe ideas that they wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to share in the community and get real time feedback,” Mideau said.

Although a specific re-opening date next fall is not set in stone yet, community members are already eager to return to Sikia, known for delicious food made from scratch.

The neighborhood is asking us to re-open we have waiting lists people asking can they hold events here,” Benski-McPhee said.

“I think the reopening of Sikia is going to reposition us not to be so hidden anymore we want to just be a gem not the hidden gem,” Walker said.

On Nov. 15, a group of invited guests will be invited to Sikia for lunch to offer insight and feedback on what they want to see in the new restaurant.