Jazz club and restaurant, Chicago’s 312 now open
Jazz & blues restaurant
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – A swanky new black-owned restaurant for blues and jazz lovers has opened in Pembroke Pines, and if the opening night crowd is any indication of what’s in store for Chicago’s 312, the new spot has a promising future.
South Florida Times publisher, Robert G. Beatty said the opportunity to partner with Ben Richmond, an accomplished chef and restauranteur just “fell in his lap,” when the two met at a local wine store. After learning what each did for a living, a conversation regarding Richmond advertising his impending new restaurant in Beatty’s paper ensued. When circumstances changed, and Richmond found himself in need of a new partner, Beatty was in the right place at the right time and decided to join Richmond in the restaurant business.
Richmond owned a medical transportation business and Beach Café restaurant in Chicago before selling both and relocating to Key West, where he lived for eight years.
“I missed the Chicago food, old classics from city of Chicago," Richmond said.
His plan was to open the restaurant in Hollywood, however, the Pembroke Pines location “sort of found me.”
The name is a tribute to Chicago’s oldest area code before it changed to 773 and 708. “We brought it here to Pembroke Pines,” shared Richmond, who said the menu captures the “Windy City’s” uniquely delicious food and its blues scene. “A lot of blues originated in Chicago.”
Customers can expect to indulge in deep dish pizza beginning in May and barbecue that will be smoked in oak brought in from the Midwest. “We’re really trying to hone that Chicago flavor in Pembroke Pines,” Richmond said of Chicago’s 312, which can seat 500 people. Another aspect of the restaurant’s uniqueness includes access to the Grand Palms hotel and golf course. Ultimately, he said, the space has something for everyone. “If you want to come and sit in the back and have a drink in the small dimly lit room and have a conversation with your significant other, or if you want to get involved with the blues.”
The restaurant is currently open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Monday through Thursday; and until midnight on Friday through Sunday – serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and a Sunday jazz brunch. Patrons can enjoy live music on the weekends. Pianist Buddy Guy will appear at the restaurant in a few weeks.
Richmond said the breakfast menu will include chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, pancakes and other breakfast staples, but in a “more gourmet style. For example, you’ll get waffles with candied cashews on it with bananas and strawberries. You will feel happy when you leave,” he said.
The last Sunday of each month will feature a “gospel brunch,” with an interesting twist. “We’re looking for churches that would like to participate,” he shared. In addition to congregants getting a discount on their brunch, the restaurant will donate some of the proceeds to the participating church.
Chicago’s 312 is located at 110 Grand Palms Drive, Pembroke Pines, 33027. Self and valet parking are available. The restaurant’s website will be up soon, but in the meantime, customers and those interested in booking the space for events can contact the hotel at 954-431-8800, ext. 4.
Ben Richmond and Robert Beatty, Chicago's 312 partners Chicago snowbirds flock to Chicago’s 312 Stacy Brooks Carol Ann Taylor and her sister, Priscilla Taylor.