BY GRACE LILLIS
Dining options in Steubenville gain variety with the recent opening of the family-owned restaurant A Lil’ Taste of Chicago on Sunset Boulevard.
For Samuel Woods, owner and creator of the quaint eatery, this restaurant is more than a business.
“I’m just an average guy who had a dream and went after it,” says Woods, “and now here I am today.”
There are high hopes that the restaurant will flourish and make a name for itself among both the university population and the local residents of Steubenville. There are no distinct plans for the restaurant’s future yet, aside from building up a positive reputation.
From the looks of it, A Lil’ Taste of Chicago won’t have any problems building a reputation. Despite its small size and being just shy of three months old, it already has loyal customers and rave reviews. One customer even hailed it as “one of the best places to eat in Steubenville” on tripadvisor.com.
What is even more amazing, Woods revealed to us, is that he has never had any formal training in food preparation.
“I just start experimenting with different things,” Woods explains, “and if it tastes good then I go with it. … I used to cook for my friends and family a lot… and I’ve always had a love for food.”
With the goal of bringing more variety to the valley, Woods, who is a Chicago native, decided to share the distinct Chicago style with the people of eastern Ohio.
“When I go taste the food (from Chicago) I think, ‘Why not bring that here?’” said Woods.
He was very successful in doing just that. The menu at A Lil’ Taste of Chicago is full of classic Chicago dishes as well as a few of Woods’ own creations, ranging from the classic Chicago Italian beef to the original A Lil’ Taste of Chicago Rueben burger.
Woods, his wife and the few employees they have hired create all of the food in the restaurant’s small kitchen off of the dining area. The warm atmosphere, wafting smells and sizzling food make for a cozy restaurant with a personal, “home cooked” kind of feel.
Woods does not claim to take all the credit for his budding success.
“Without the Lord this would not be happening right now,” said Woods. “I give all the glory to God. I couldn’t be here without him.”