CHICAGO — There aren’t too many people on Chicago’s South Side and beyond who don’t know “Mother Wade.”
Josephine Wade came to Chicago from Arkansas. The daughter of sharecroppers, she knew what it was like to be poor and dreamed of a better life.
Wade opened Captain’s Hardtimes restaurant with her husband in 1986. Located in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood, it’s now known as Josephine’s Cooking. She now co-owns it with her son Victor Love.
She has hosted Heads of State, politicians and celebrities. The late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, wouldn’t come to Chicago without stopping for a bowl of Mother Wade’s famous gumbo.
Wade even held a gumbo fundraiser in August donating all proceeds to an Aretha Franklin charity.
She employs a lot of kids in the neighborhood at her restaurant. She also helps underprivileged youth “We Women Empowered” organization.
Last year, on her 75th birthday, she was surprised with a street named in her honor, right in front of her restaurant on 79th Street and Vernon Avenue.
In August, Mayor Rahm Emanuel held an event honor her service to the community.
She is a giver who definitely appreciates the love that is given to her from her community.
Josephine “Mother” Wade is one of Chicago’s Very Own.