Congressman Rush Celebrates at Ribbon Cutting Celebration for Local Business (Midlothian, IL) — Tavares Williams wasn’t afraid to take his time. While his journey to being a new restaurant franchise owner took longer than expected, he believes the lessons learned will serve him well as his business opens this month. He opened the fourth Chicago Wingz Around the World franchise in Illinois at 4816 W. 148th Street in Midlothian. The other locations are in Bronzeville, Naperville and Evanston. There is also a location in Hammond, Ind.
The restaurant franchise, started by Leon Holmes, features wings, shrimp, fish and dozens of specialty sauces.
“I met Leon a couple of years ago right before he closed his branch at 75th and St. Lawrence in the city. He offered an opportunity to me and a few other business owners to start a franchise location of our own,” said Williams. “I decided that a location in the south suburbs would be ideal and I took a vanilla box in Midlothian and built it up. There is a lot of traffic and visibility at 147th and Cicero and I believed if I had the right renovations and business plan that this would work.”
Williams and a group of more than 25 family members and dignitaries celebrated his ribbon cutting Wednesday. Those who attended included Bremen Township officials, local mayors, Sixth District Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller and 1st District Congressman Bobby Rush.
“I am overjoyed to be here with everyone and to welcome this distinguished owner, especially now in these coronavirus times it is great where we are celebrating a business opening instead of closing,” said Rush. “You have a worldwide vision of Chicago Wingz Around the World so we wish you nothing but success.”
Because there was no existing infrastructure for a restaurant, he had to start from the beginning. They broke ground, upgraded plumbing lines, designed the interior layout space, made sure the restaurant was ADA accessible, ran water lines throughout the unit and installed an elaborate exhaust system that will circulate fresh air from outside and suck out the grease exhaust since the food is fried. He used his time diligently to tap into the private network of other restaurant owners; learning from their experience and ways to cut his costs. It was all two years in the making.
“It took me a lot longer than I originally thought,” said Williams. “But I made sure that it was not going to be time wasted. The biggest overall lesson was just learning more about the food industry. There is a large wealth of knowledge that is not always readily available for someone who is looking to own a restaurant for the first time. I felt confident that I was investing in the right industry and I needed to strike while the iron was hot.”
His wife, Patricia Williams, who attended the ribbon cutting with their two children Donovan, 8, and Zoe, 7, echoed that sentiment.
“It was a long journey so it is surreal to see this day where we are opening up the business,” she said. “Tavares grew up near this community so it is near and dear to his heart. We believe in the importance of having good successful businesses in the area because it can cause such a tremendous impact.”
He plans to collaborate with other restaurant and business owners and see if they can create synergy and market their goods together.
“There are opportunities for events where if we sell two different products that look right together then we can partner,” said Williams.
Local government officials said they are excited to work with Williams in partnerships and support more businesses in the area.
“We have some excellent black entrepreneurs in the Southland that are looking to showcase their talents and we have to support those businesses,” said Darren E. Bryant, Village of Robbins Mayor. “We make up the majority of the population in the area so we should look to develop and sustain those businesses with our dollars.”
The time building his Chicago Wingz Around the World allowed him to survey the COVID-19 landscape, perform market research and note trends.
“I’ve learned that there are certain restaurant types that were quite successful during the pandemic. Fast food and carry out food were things that people desired, and if you do it correctly, you can make this work,” said Williams, who also plans to operate a food truck for the business. “Plus with the advent of Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates, Door Dash and others, it allows for smaller carry out businesses to still thrive.”
Congressman Rush Celebrates at Ribbon Cutting Celebration for Local Business