The L Station Luxe & Soul, a Black-owned restaurant and lounge at 186 N. Wells St., is a downtown spot unlike any other.

Upon entering the newly opened eatery that still sports celebratory balloons (as it opened on Nov. 11), you’re greeted by smiling staffers, inviting smells and 1990s/2000s R&B that will have you closing your eyes and groovin’ before you know it.

In an interview with The TRiiBE on Nov. 15, manager Tenyiah Patterson was asked how she felt about the restaurant. She’s the mother of the owner, 23-year-old Le’Roy Patterson.

“I’m excited. I’m grateful for what we’re bringing to this community and to the city of Chicago. It’s an upscale atmosphere; this is not your normal soul-food restaurant. This is an experience; this is a vibe. I feel grateful more than anything. I can feel the vision; I can see where it’s going,” the younger Patterson said.

And where might that be? “It’s going everywhere,” Patterson responded. They already have plans for expanding to other cities.“This is big. We want to master the art of what God gave us here and then we’re going to take it further,” she added.

The restaurant has already experienced booming business, thanks to social media —primarily, The L Station’s Instagram account. Lines were reportedly down the block on opening day.

Talking about The L Station a little more, Patterson said, “This is what we deserve and what you guys deserve. People should be able to come here and eat some food in a safe environment. It just feels good in here.”

When asked why the Loop was chosen for their location, Patterson casually replied, “Why not? This is downtown Chicago. This is prime. This is where we want to go. This is our city. It’s the perfect location—look at all the customers walking by. We’re right off the Chicago River for the summer and there are the city workers. We want them to come in and get a good vibe. We welcome everyone—and people will get a good meal at a good price.”

These are the salmon bites at The L Station. Photo by Andrew Davis for The TRiiBE
Tenyiah Patterson [photographed] is the manager of The L Station, and mother of the 23-year-old owner, Le'Roy Patterson. Photo by Andrew Davis for The TRiiBE

Something that’s also different about The L Station is that the items tend to bend more toward the health-conscious, although the items are still tasty. The salmon bites—which have what one might call a “sweet heat”—are among the very few fried items, as even the wings are baked. 

Other items (all at reasonable prices, by the way) include lollipop lamb chops; turkey and jerk-turkey tips; and loaded fries with shredded turkey and cheese. Sides include macaroni, cabbage, yams and baked beans.

“We also want to promote healthy eating but in a soulful way. That’s why a luxe kind of experience,” Patterson said, adding that she sees the menu “being elevated” as time passes. 

“When you think of soul food, you think of fried chicken and stuff. We can change that narrative. You don’t have to fry chicken for it to be good,” she added.

The L Station is not yet on delivery apps like Grubhub and DoorDash. “We want to give the community some time to come in first before we get involved with [delivery] lines,” said Patterson. “They deserve a chance to sit in here because you guys deserve an experience.”

The L Station offers soul food and a soulful vibe for everyone. As Patterson said, “Come and experience it for yourself. The L Station is food; it is comfort and it’s next-level. Come and experience us. We’re so Chicago.”

is the Digital News Editor for The TRiiBE.