CHICAGO
02/04/2011 02:36 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Army & Lou's Closes: Historic South Side Soul Food Spot Hurt By Economy

Since 1945, Army & Lou's has been a South Side soul food destination. Rich in history and known for its amazing smothered fried chicken, one of the oldest black-owned restaurants in the Midwest shut its doors Sunday.

"Everybody who is anybody in this town has been to Army & Lou's. I'm very attached to this restaurant. My mother used to take me from a very young age," longtime regular CeCe Edwards told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's very emotional."

The current owners of the 75th Street spot told the Chicago Tribune that a sluggish economy made it too difficult for them to stay open. They hope the closing is temporary, however, and that new investors step forward.

"It's just too hard to stay open when the business is not there," co-owner Goldie McDuffie told the Tribune. "We have people no longer going out to eat as much and business has declined and because of that we have to say farewell for now."

Army & Lou's, located at 422 E. 75th St., was the late Mayor Harold Washington's favorite restaurant. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited the restaurant in the 1960's, as well as Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Muhammad Ali and former U.S. Sen. Charles Percy.

"It was a fine dining establishment, and the first place that a lot of middle-class African-American families back then were taking their children where there were linen tablecloths and napkins, and there was live music," McDuffie told the Sun-Times.

Army & Lou's will continue its catering services. Read more about the history of Army & Lou's here and here.