In autumn of 2020, Butter and Brown Bistro opened in the heart of the Lake and Austin business district in Oak Park. Now, the breakfast-focused restaurant is making a bold move to Forest Park. Owners Tiffany and Lanell Brown shuttered the Oak Park location and anticipate reopening in the former home of Taco Tu, 7321W. Madison St., in just a few weeks.
The restaurant will continue to serve its menu of southern home-style favorites including shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles and their popular salmon cakes between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. They also plan to make use of the bar in the space by offering fruity cocktails as well as wine and beer.
The Browns have been longtime fans of the Madison Street business district and regular customers at the boutiques and restaurants located on the Forest Park throughfare. They envision Butter and Brown fitting in nicely with the array of businesses on the street. They aim to be a family friendly establishment that appeals to those looking for a hearty breakfast, lunch or early dinner.
“We loved our humble beginnings,” said Tiffany Brown, co-owner of Butter and Brown Bistro. “We loved the community and being so close to public transit, but the space was just too small.”
When their lease came up for renewal the family began exploring options for expansion. They briefly considered opening a second location, but when the family saw the Madison Street space, they seized the opportunity to more than quadruple their seating capacity and expand the size of their kitchen. The new space takes their seating capacity from 50 to more than 300 and increases their kitchen storage capacity significantly.
The restaurant is awaiting final inspections and Chef Terry Brown (no relation) is eager to get cooking in the generously sized kitchen. In the meantime, the owners are focused on updating the “dark and gloomy” room. Light now floods into the dining room where the owners have capitalized on the brightness by painting the walls a cheery shade of gold and upgrading the light fixtures throughout the establishment. In the future the Browns hope to install a fireplace in the back of the restaurant to give the place a cozy glow on cold days. As an added draw, Butter and Brown will have a “robot waitress” they have dubbed “Judy” to support their hardworking human staff.
The Browns have been pleased with how welcoming Forest Park has been to Butter and Brown Bistro. They look forward to joining the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and participating in all the local festivities associated with being part of the Madison Street business community.
The Browns enjoyed support from residents of Chicago and Oak Park at their former location and hope their regular customers will make the trek to Forest Park to get the meals they have grown to enjoy. Tiffany Brown is most concerned about the elderly patrons who dined in the Oak Park location as frequently as three times a day who may not have means to travel to their new Madison Street home.
“We are sad to leave them, but we are figuring out a way to get our die-hard customers here,” said Brown. “They became like family to us, and we want them to experience the next level of Butter and Brown.”
The owners are clear that leaving their first location was an emotional decision but credit the experience with teaching them a lot about the ‘dos and don’ts’ of restaurant ownership. Tiffany Brown is also clear the Oak Park location was tinged with personal sadness for her. In addition to opening at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, her mother, who was a champion of their effort to start the business, died just weeks before they opened. Her son died shortly thereafter adding another somber association with opening Butter and Brown. Time has helped her heal, but it was impossible to separate those losses from their first restaurant home. She is clear her family views the move to Forest Park as a “fresh start” and she is entering this new era of Butter and Brown with an open heart and level head.
“This is just a dream space,” said Tiffany Brown, “To have this much freaking space on this strip is a blessing. This street is a family oriented multicultural melting pot and it feels like home to us.”