An assortment of traditional West African food dishes

Restaurant Review: For Black Restaurant Week Midwest, Dozzy’s Grill makes its mark in River North

An assortment of traditional West African food dishes

Black Restaurant Week Midwest runs from September 10-24 as “part of a nationwide effort to boost the visibility of and support for Black-owned eateries,” as reported by Block Club Chicago. 

Please note that this event is unaffiliated with Chicago BLACK Restaurant Week, which runs February 11-25, 2024, and is sponsored separately by a local organization. 

Black Restaurant Week Midwest’s fourth annual campaign is an opportunity to focus attention on the many black-owned restaurants, food trucks, and other vendors providing delectable edibles throughout Chicago. 

According to their website, Black Restaurant Week® Midwest was founded in 2016 by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell, and Derek Robinson, the week is dedicated to celebrating the flavors of African-American, African, and Caribbean cuisine nationwide.

You can see a full list of participants by clicking here

One participating restaurant, relatively new to the Chicago scene, is River North’s Dozzy’s Grill. Chef and owner Dozzy Ibekwe has brought the flavors of West African soul food to a much wider, eclectic audience in River North. 

I was fortunate to experience Dozzy’s Grill as they catered a conference I attended recently. If you haven’t had his fresh take on West African cuisine, I urge everyone to visit Dozzy’s River North storefront location. 

For example, I never thought oranges and red onion would be compatible in a salad, but combined as an AFROBEET SALAD, it is. When paired with organic red beets, cherry tomatoes, fennel, toasted walnuts, and an orange paprika vinaigrette, it’s a tasty mix as each flavor unfolds, one right after the other.  Pair the salad with a traditional JOLLOF RICE, which is long grain rice in tomato sauce. PERI PERI CHICKEN, a chicken thigh bathed in a Peri Peri Sauce, a hot pepper that’s a close relative of the tabasco pepper. When I’m in the mood, I mix the jollof rice and peri peri chicken together for a tomatoey, savory, hot bite. For dessert, a yummy NYANGBO CHOCOLATE MINI CUPCAKE is made with single-origin Ghanaian chocolate, gold dust, and Calabash nutmeg. 

Several other Google reviewers agree with me. 

“I’ve had Dozzy’s Grill on several occasions,” said a recent reviewer. “Being Burundian, it’s always great seeing fellow Africans showcasing the culture through food. Dozzy’s Grill is an experience.”

“We recently had Dozzy’s Grill cater our company luncheon. I cannot compliment them enough for going above and beyond with providing us the most delicious lunch,” wrote another. “From the Peri Peri Chicken to the fried plantains, every menu suggestion provided was extremely flavorful and delight to all. They should be a ‘must try’ on anyone’s list.

Dozzy’s Grill is located at 736 N. Clark Street. They are open Monday-Wednesday, 11am–5pm, Thursday, 11am–9pm, and Friday, 9am–9pm. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday. For information, reservations, and hours, click here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago