The Woodlawn is for the Culture

The Woodlawn is for the Culture

Black people do own land and property.  Black people are responsible for improving spaces in black communities. Black people are creating businesses with other black people.  Black people are including the black community into their blueprint so please stop letting people tell you otherwise.

The Woodlawn sits right on the corner of 79th and Woodlawn.  More than just an event space, The Woodlawn (1200 E. 79th St.) is a wifi cafe, a podcast studio, and a mouthwatering food menu serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“It’s really about re-purposing space rather than having a multi-purpose space. That’s the basic concept to me. If you have space to find multi-purposes for and use community partnerships to help hedge that then yes, get the people in the community with the tangible skills, bring them in and let them do it,” said owner Donnell Digby.

Digby has been in real estate for over 18 years now.  He is from Chatham and he is full of ideas.


After officially opening in October of 2018, The Woodlawn has hosted a few open mics, comedy specials and some private events, There are a selection of classes and workshops for everyday of the week.  A variety of dance classes like salsa, reggae and line dancing. There is yoga and boxing happening in the space, chess classes and so much more constantly being added to the schedule.

What really innovates this spot is the turn-key commercial pop-up kitchen where local chefs are invited to come and serve the public as they further hone their culinary skills and operate as a public business.

“So our kitchen is the first licensed pop-up kitchen in Chicago.  We let different chefs, caterers restaurant tours come into our space and utilize our kitchen as their very own.  So you can come as a pop-up, bring your own menu and serve to the public out of our restaurant as your own pop-up restaurant,” said Digby.


Digby said although owning a resturaunt was never a personal goal, he does appreciate the option of extending his food choices in the area.  He is currently in collaboration with Chef Chuck of Friistyle Chicago during breakfast hours and lunch and dinner are being dominated by Doughboy and his world famous “Spaghedough”.

By housing business owners, educators, artists, entrepreneurs, creatives and hosts, Digby is allowing his circle of bosses to determine the vibration of the space. We the people come The Woodlawn to support our folks.

“We all build off one another’s energy. Synergy is a collective kind of energy. So if you could build off that eco-system you can have black power. That’s what’s needed and that’s what’s not seen in our community”, said Digby.


Art by The Real Trill Ninja cover the entryway walls, and works from other artists hang throughout the rest of the space.  They keep the playlist grown and sexy and with a combination of good food and good vibes you almost completely forget all the ugly truths mass media pushes on Black Chicago.

The Woodlawn is for the Culture so stop by, eat good and stay for a while.

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