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Chez Violette offers a taste of Haiti

Posted on July 21, 2011

Chez Violette offers a taste of Haiti

By Megan Millard for

Violetta Adrien always had a passion for cooking, and Chez Violette, a restaurant located at 2311 West Howard Street specializing in Haitian food that she owns with her husband, Samson is simply a dream come true.
But the story behind this couple and their restaurant extends further back than its opening date, December 3, 2010. Violetta’s love for cooking came at an early age in her native country of Haiti, where it is traditional for the oldest girl to cook for her family.

“When people eat and compliment her food, she likes it,” Samson said.
After years spent cooking for her family, Violetta journeyed to Chicago in 1980, following her father who had already emigrated here. She married Samson a few years later in Haiti and he then travelled to Chicago as well “We grew up in the same neighborhood in Haiti,” Samson said. “We went to the same elementary school. She happened to move here first and then we got married.”

Violetta would spend the next few decades working at Evanston Hospital in various departments. But her passion for cooking never faded. She continued to cook—for friends and family who encouraged her to continue to pursue her dream. Finally, Violetta attended Kendall College in Evanston where she obtained various certificates.
It was then that she began to cater parties, and provide food at local events at church.
“We had a small kitchen in the house,” Violetta said. “People kept asking, ‘why don’t you open a restaurant?”

“The idea kept getting larger and larger,” Samson said.
After mulling over the decision to open a restaurant, the couple decided to go for it. Violetta left her job at the hospital and Samson left his job as a cab-driver and finally opened Chez Violette.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Samson said.

Although Violetta is able to do what she loves full-time, the couple is struggling. In an economy that is seeing hard times, the couple is finding themselves working long hours, working tirelessly to spread word of their restaurant so they can pay the bills.

Despite the challenge, the couple is hopeful that they will be able to give the people of Chicago a taste of Haiti.
“It’s like nurturing a mango tree,” Samson said. “You may not have any mangos at first. But then one day you will have more. The day will come when it will flourish.”
Through the hard times, Violetta has not let go of her passion.
“I like to serve the people,” she said. “I am very happy to see people pleased with the food, and I do it with a lot of joy.”

Samson and Violetta know that many Chicagoans may not be familiar with Haitian cuisine, so they encourage people to come in and try a sample of what they have to offer so they will know what they will be paying for.

Pates are a popular Haitian appetizer served at Chez Violette, and are flaky pastries with a fish, chicken, or beef filling. Try the Griot, or fried pork, with a side of fried plantains or red bean and rice. For dessert, try the Pain patate, a dish made of sweet potatoes. For a full menu and more information, visit

“We encourage people to come in and get a taste of Haiti,” Samson said. “Give us a try.”
Chez Violette is open every day except Monday, from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

The Adriens are offering a 10 percent discount on orders for anyone who prints a copy of this article and brings it into the restaurant. Alternatively, if they have meat pies in stock, bring in a copy of this article, buy a meat pie, and receive a second complementary meat pie.

Megan Millard is a recent graduate from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Journalism. Originally from Wisconsin, she currently lives in Chicago and is pursuing a career there. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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