Inspiring Family Traditions and Sustainability with Nana Organic
There are beautiful, sexy paintings on its brick walls but this is no art gallery. The food takes center stage here at Nana Organic (click here). Snuggly located in Chicago’s historic Bridgeport neighborhood, Nana Organic is charming cafe featuring American cuisine with a Latin twist.
Restauranter Omar Solis has a deep bond with his mom, whom many of his family members call Nana. As always, my mission is to dive deep into the mind of business owners that cares about their communities. I found inspiring motivation in my conversation with Omar Solis. Motivation to defy odds, to add value, and to promote positivity.
Want to be a fly on the wall while we converse? Read on.
How did life lead you down the road of a restauranteur?
It was a series of things. I was on a journey with my personal health, which started me looking for alternative ways to get healthy. I was diagnosed with epilepsy and told I was going to be on medication for the rest of my life. I was a youngster at the time and it was troubling yet very impactful to me.
I began to take interest on the impact food has on the inside of your body.
Also, I was raised in a food-centric family with my dad owning a restaurant. My mom always cooked food from scratch. So getting closer to the earth and finding products that are sourced from local sustainable farms were things I can associate with because as a child I was exposed to that with my travels to Mexico.
How’d organics become a focus for you?
Allison Waters started a huge food movement on the west coast. She was one of the early pioneers of this organic food movement. I accidentally stumble upon it and was intrigued by it.
I was thirsty to understand where the food was coming from and looking at my health at the same time. The more knowledge I acquired the more I was able to connect the dots. I begin formulating a basis to what was to become this restaurant.
What were your major challenges?
A lot of trial and error. Being an entrepreneur often comes with a mountain of challenges. This business is one of the hardest businesses to get into. It can chew you up and spit you out. You are challenged physically, mentally, and financially. I chose a time to fuel this operation up during one of the most financially challenging times in this nation, 2008 – 2009.
I took on the challenge to pursue my passion and to bring something to this community that it has never seen before.
How has the neighborhood received your mission to provide honest food for the community?
Often times, what people don’t understand, they fear. Historically this is a very segregated area. Over time it has evolved. I can’t solve all of its diversity issues but I can start on this corner. I’m just taking things back to the basics and putting more of a fresh perspective to it. We pulled all the aspects that hit all the senses that apply to the restaurant business like food, ambiance, and music.
I’m taking things back to the basics and putting more of a fresh perspective to it. We pulled all the aspects that hit all the senses that apply to the restaurant business like food, ambiance, and music.
I set out to bring something positive to the community, and we are doing just that.
What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
It has to be our new plantain sandwich. It’s a wonderful sandwich filled with pulled chicken, cilantro-lime slaw and pickled onions in between two crispy plantains. You have to try it!
I think you’re right, I will!
Visit Nana Organic (click here) today
3267 s. Halsted, Chicago, IL.