When Edna Stewart passed away last summer, the food world mourned the loss of a soul-food doyenne, and feared the closing of her historic East Garfield Park restaurant, Edna's.
Nine months later, Stewart's spirit lives on at Ruby's. The storefront's sign and the dining room's bright white walls are new, but the menu and staff remain unchanged.
Lillie Joiner, the manager and head of the kitchen, has been at the restaurant for 30 years. "This is Edna's food--her biscuits, her everything," she says. "The only way I know how to cook is the way she cooked, so it's gotta be hers."
Indeed, the fried chicken's golden crust ($10.50 for light meat; $9.50 for dark) is as crisp as ever, the collards as salty and juicy, and the biscuits as pillowy. Breakfast still starts at 6 a.m. and is served until 3 p.m. on Sundays, and meatloaf, corned beef and meaty pork neck bones remain the Wednesday specials.
Pair a meal with cavity-inducing sweet tea, and finish with spiced peach cobbler ($3), banana pudding ($3.50) or a thick slab of layer cake ($3).
So comforting to know that such a delicious part of the past lives on.
Ruby's Restaurant, 3175 W. Madison St. (near Kedzie Ave.); 773-638-5875