Hyde Park

Chicago Restaurant Owner Serving Free Meals Robbed at Gunpoint

A Hyde Park restaurant owner said one of the suspects who robbed his business Wednesday night was one of many that had been taking advantage of his free meal service over the last several months

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A Hyde Park restaurant known for serving free meals to those in need was robbed at gunpoint by one of those patrons on Wednesday, according to the owner.

Surveillance video shows two robbers at the Litehouse Whole Food and Grill holding the cashier at gunpoint while the second hopped the counter.

Restaurant owner Eric Rico Nance said what that second suspect said to his employee next left him stunned.

“He told Trenell that he didn’t want to do this, but due to corona, his family doesn’t have any money and he’s sorry. He said ‘Me and my family don’t have any money. I’m sorry, I don’t want to do this,’” Nance said.

Nance said he has been providing free meals to those in need for the last seven years and because of the coronavirus crisis, that need has grown from about 30 to 100 meals a day.

One of those who’ve been taking advantage of the Litehouse Grill’s generosity was that second suspect, whom Nance said he had fed several times.

"We've taken personal care of him for the last six months," Nance said. "To come in here and rob us knowing that that’s what we’ve provided is really a smack in the face. It really hurts to be honest with you.“

Nance said he’s been on a mission to feed one million people battling hunger, but is not sure he wants to continue to push forward with that goal. He said he wishes the men that robbed him would’ve asked for help instead of putting his now devastated employees in harms way.

“The cashier, she’s terrified she broke down crying several times, my employee Jordan couldn’t sleep. He had to take a sleeping pill, he has anxiety. I’m responsible for these people,” Nance said.

“I think its cowardly to point a gun in the young lady’s face and the man’s face. I think it’s terrible, but I definitely forgive them."

Contact Us