Creating Generational Wealth
Serial entrepreneur Jean Claude Aurel Jr. is a family man who works to create better futures for his nieces, nephews, and only son. Aurel buys insurance and properties and recently stepped into the restaurant industry. Aurel’s latest endeavor is Lior’s Cafe, a Haitian restaurant providing an elevated dining experience on the Southside of Chicago at 10500 S. Halsted. Lior recently opened in late 2023.
“We’ve been getting a lot of support from the community,” said Aurel.
According to the site, the definition of Lior is God’s gift of light to me. The restaurant is named after Aurel’s god-daughter Lior who he describes as smart, cute, challenging, and a girly girl. A portion of profits goes towards Lior’s future.
Lior’s menu features appetizers, first and second-course meals, and sides. All second-course entrees are served with pikliz (pickled cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, and Scotch bonnet peppers) and banan peze (fried green plantains).
Aurel’s son is a chef at the restaurant where he’s spent time in Haiti learning from aunts and cousins who own restaurants. Lior also has a Haitian chef who has been cooking for around 40 years. These two chefs teach the prep and line cooks Haitian cuisine. The plan is to train the staff until they’re ready for bigger tasks.
The staff are hired from the community with little to no experience, so Aurel is asking for his community to show some grace. To ensure they are constantly improving, there are QR codes around the restaurant for customers to leave reviews on what could have been done better and what they enjoyed. Lior’s staff meets two times a week to go over reviews and create improvement plans.
Lior is open Wednesday to Saturday starting at 4 p.m. As the team grows and systems are improved, Lior’s will expand its hours and serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Aurel chose the Southside of Chicago because he wants to encourage residents to be a part of the economic development that has been going on for years. Aurel said most of the current development is not owned by the people who stay in the neighborhoods, so they don’t always get a say in what resources are brought into the neighborhood.
“It’s important for our community to have businesses to recirculate the dollars that’s been deprived back into our communities…we have to start within ourselves and our communities. We can’t wait for someone else to come in and help us.”– Jean Claude Aurel Jr.
He hopes to see the Southside and West side full of businesses and resources that every neighborhood should have like fresh produce, tailors, yoga classes, and more. Aurel said one should be able to go for whatever they are inspired to do right inside of their neighborhood.
“If I can do it, then everybody can do it. I’m not doing it alone. If we all help each other I know the Southside and West Side…can also be reflected in the sites of the neighborhood,” said Aurel.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.