As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about strong women leaders who attained success with their incredible ideas, I had the pleasure of interviewing Suheir Williams.
Suheir “Susu” Williams is the owner and founder of S2 Express Grill a new style eatery serving delicious, quality gourmet food at affordable prices. Starting in 2019, S2 Express Grill brings you high-quality food at affordable prices.
S2 Express Grill has two locations on the south side of Chicago and opening soon a sit-down location and daiquiri bar on 8734 S. Stoney Island in the Calumet Heights Neighborhood. S2 Express Grill is the perfect blend of decadence and deliciousness.
Many thanks for doing this us, tell us about your journey?
My journey is not an uncommon story from many women entrepreneurs. Determination and dedication in the face of many adversities and obstacles have powered my success. I’ve worked in the consumer hospitality business for over 15 years with large multinational companies as well as managing some of the most successful entertainment venues in Chicago. So, it was an easy transition to a restauranteur.
What’s the story behind S2 Express Grill?
S2 Express Grill was founded in 2019 by my husband Andre and me. Prior to opening S2 Express Grill, my husband owned one of the most popular nightlife venues in the Chicago area. For various reasons, In 2019, he decided to relocate the venue to a different location that would better suit our ever-growing clientele.
In the interim, so many people took to social media saying how much they missed the food we served which was your traditional bar food but made fresh daily and made differently from any other local bar and grills. We decided to open a restaurant only where people could continue to enjoy our scrumptious cuisine on the go.
So we expanded our menu and S2 Express Grill was born. Everything is made fresh daily. That’s the key. When at all possible, we try to source our fresh ingredients from local vendors to help support the local economy.
Our customers never get tired of S2 because our delicious menu has a huge variety to choose from. We try to have something for everyone including veggie dishes, prime meats, fresh seafood, as well as gourmet desserts. My husband and I love to travel and enjoy a variety of cultural culinary from different city’s. That helped us to craft our unique food experience.
Right now, we have two locations, S2 Express Grills (5058 S. Halsted and 129 E. 103rd st.) open which are predominantly to-go restaurants. Many more Expresses are on our radar. Our beautiful, trendy eat-in location will open this year before the summer located at 8734 S. Stony Island Ave S2 City Grill & Daiquiri Bar. The new location will be the benchmark for fine dining on the south side of Chicago. Next, is S2 SOUTHSIDE Bar and Grill located at 11043 S. Ashland Ave this location will also include a daiquiri bar with an outdoor patio. This will be a gorgeous, modern 40+ bar and grill. Then we have plans for S2 Express Grill’s outside of our home base Chicago in Brooklyn, NY as well as the neighboring state of Wisconsin by the end of 2021. We are just getting started.
Most of the time, we have heard, those who owned restaurants, are much enamored of food? Is it the same in your case??
Yes! Definitely! I’ve always been a “foodie”. I’ve always enjoyed different cultural foods. Moreover, I’ve always enjoyed cooking so I would say I have an excellent palate for well-prepared cuisine. I love to eat and love to feed people.
Is opening a restaurant your childhood dream?
Actually no. My childhood dream was always to be a mom. My cousin Eddie also a successful entrepreneur encouraged me to open our restaurant in a space that he had available.
What makes your S2 Eatery different from other restaurants in Calumet Heights?
Our restaurant is different because no other restaurant offers the variety on their menu like we do or the kind of cuisine that we offer in the neighborhoods where our restaurants are located. I am also happy to say everyone loves everything and each person has their favorite dish. Typically you’d have to travel out of the neighborhood to get lamb chops, steak, lobster, crab legs, etc. For so long people could really only get that type of items at a formal, sit-down restaurant located downtown or in a swanky neighborhood. People all over Chicago love to eat good food and we are glad we can be right down the street.
What does your typical day as a Restaurant Women-Entrepreneur look like, and how do you make it productive?
First, getting my kids ready for the day, then off to school. Checking my schedule, several meetings with my managers and staff. Site visits all locations as much as possible. Every day is productive because I plan my time wisely. I’m always eager to get back home to my kids. It’s my family that I work hard for and they make it worth it.
Favorite quote or affirmation?
“BE YOUR OWN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL!”