Table Talk

Chicago Bears Small Business All-Pros

We are super excited to announce that our small business has been selected as a 2021 Chicago Bears Small Business All-Pros Gameday Eats Edition winner!

The Chicago Bears recognizes Cocoa Chili as Small Business ll-Pros Gameday Eats Edition winner!

The Chicago Bears along with VISA® are committed to supporting the efforts of the restaurant community as they build back. This year, the Bears are partnering with four small businesses in the Chicago community in this Gameday Eats Edition of the Community All-Pros initiative to provide marketing and promotion of their food services.

Our black woman-owned small business is one of only four restaurants selected for this special promotion. Other winners include Moody’s Pub in Edgewater (Magnolia Glen), Peppo’s Sub in Palos Hill, and Cleo’s Southern Cuisine in Bronzeville. Each winning business will receive a dedicated four weeks of a marketing partnership with the team

2021 marks the second year of the Chicago Bears Small Business All-Pros initiative. In 2020, 10 Small Business All-Pros winners were selected to receive digital and social marketing exposure through Bears assets during the season. Last year’s winners included Principle Barbers, 4P Industrial Cleaning Corporation, Barbee Tax Consulting, LLC, Bark Bark Club, Boco Services, Inc., Colfax Corporation, Jus Sandwiches, Lillstreet Art Center, Small World Bar & Grill, and Thalia Hall.

In celebration of our selection as a 2021 Chicago Bears Small Business All-Pros Gameday Eats Edition winner, Cocoa Chili Restaurant & Catering is running a special Gameday Eats menu all season long!

Gameday Eats specials include our signature Cocoa Chili by the gallon and Jerk Party Wings in full- and half-size pans. This limited time menu will be available for any Bears game throughout the regular season. Turn up the heat on your Sunday Fun Day soiree by offering our Afro-Caribbean-Soul fare with a sweet and spicy flair to your guests! Contact us to order ahead for large groups of 6 or more.

Stay tuned to all the Chicago Bears coverage for our dedicated 4-week promotion throughout the month of October! Thank you for your continued support!

Taste of the West Side

This year the Taste of Chicago is doing something a little different so you can get your very own taste of the West Side!

Taste of Chicago To-Go is a new and reimagined program presented in place of this year’s Taste of Chicago festival in Grant Park. The program includes free music, dance and food events across the city featuring nearly 40 participating eateries and promoting Chicago’s amazing restaurant industry. Learn more and see the full event calendar here.

Taste of Chicago To-Go

As part of the tour, the Garfield Park Neighborhood Market is being transformed into a pop-up Taste of the West Side event on Saturday, July 10th from 10 AM to 2 PM at The Hatchery located at 135 N. Kedzie Avenue.

Taste of the West Side will also include the unveiling of the I Am Community art installation, supported by Mars Wrigley Foundation, LISC Chicago, Allies for Community Business, Industrial Corridor of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC), and GPCC, highlighting champions of healthy food on the West Side.

Taste of the West Side Vendors

  • ‘Laine’s Bake Shop
  • All That Flava
  • Bartleby’s Ice Cream Cakes
  • Basix Rx
  • Cocoa Chili Foods
  • Cooking from the soul
  • Èchey Candles
  • Egg Rolls Etc
  • Ezmilk
  • Fulton Street Flower and Vegetable Garden
  • J Spice
  • Kavnia Coffee Company
  • LusOasis
  • Mansfield’s Kitchen
  • Mr E Chef’s Barbecue
  • Ms. Gina’s Medley
  • Old Arthur’s Barbecue
  • Sea Moss Infused
  • Seth Shreds
  • Sugarwugga’s
  • Tubby’s Taste

Customers will be able to shop for local fresh produce from the Garfield Park Garden Network. Link card users can get double-value SNAP benefits on local produce through Link Up Illinois!

Drop by Cocoa Chili Restaurant & Catering‘s booth tomorrow for free samples of our Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice & Peas!*

We’ll also have our Spicy Jerk Sauce & Marinade and Cocoa Chili Spice Blend available for sale along with our famous CPS Lunchroom Butter Cookies!

Can’t make it tomorrow? No worries!

Place your takeout or delivery order now.

*Free samples available while supplies last.

Local Support Makes a Difference

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has been hit pretty hard during these times. Without local support, stay-at-home orders, capacity limitations, pivots to delivery and takeout only, and so many other constraints can be devastating to small businesses.

As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to spread, restaurants have been forced to change operations, cancel gatherings and even close. Those who are surviving are counting their blessings daily despite thriving in this age of uncertainty for large and small businesses alike.

Starting up during a global pandemic has definitely been challenging for our small restaurant to get going. We want you to know how much we appreciate all of our customers. Your support means everything to us and we sincerely thank you for connecting and choosing to try out our Afro-Caribbean-Soul fare with a sweet and spicy flair! 

You can always continue to give us your local support by purchasing your next meal. There’s a special coupon code below that you can use to get a discount. Here are 5 more ways you can help us keep our operations afloat and pay our staff of local community members…

  1.  Contribute to our iFundWomen crowdfunding campaign.
  2.  Shop our products on the Illinois Products Online Marketplace
  3.  Order meal prep and delivery from the Shef program.
  4.  Vote for Cocoa Chili Foods to receive a Nav grant.
  5.  Submit your vote for owner Niquenya Collins as your Favorite Chef.

Want to get dinner from us tonight? Use discount code “5OFF” to take $5 off your next order of $20 or more before taxes, tips, and delivery charges. Order ahead for later pickup or delivery between 4 PM and 8 PM CST. Not eligible to be combined with any other offer. Offer expires 2/28/2021.

Thank you again for your continued support of our small business. We can’t succeed without you!

GMA3 Features Cocoa Chili!

On April 2, 2021, GMA3 featured Cocoa Chili Restaurant & Catering on their noon CST broadcast. The What You Need To Know segment is titled, ‘Business coach cooks up a secret sauce for success: Chicago entrepreneur Niquenya Collins now works for Cocoa Chili Foods.’

Watch Chef Niquenya on GMA3’s What You Need To Know

Check out the ABC 7 segment and Owner & Executive Chef Niquenya’s inspiration for starting the brand including her family roots. Niquenya also discusses pivoting her business coaching practice and how serving delicious food while helping others has always been the goal.

You can learn more about Niquenya on Our Story page.

Meal Prep & Delivery Now Available

You’ve asked and now we’re answering with a new option for meal prep and delivery!

Now you can have our delicious Afro-Caribbean-Soul fare with a sweet and spicy flair delivered directly to your doorstep at home. Our founder and Executive Chef, Niquenya, has joined the Shef program that kicked off today in Chicago.

Meal prep, short for meal preparation, is the concept of preparing whole meals or dishes ahead of schedule. It’s particularly popular amongst busy people because it can save a lot of time. Having pre-prepared meals on hand can also reduce portion size and help you reach your nutrition goals.

Shef is a community-based platform where trained and certified cooks can safely share their homemade meals and traditional recipes with their neighbors. All shefs are vetted and trained to follow strict food safety standards in compliance with local regulations. Shefs are located in neighborhoods across the country. You need only enter your zip code to explore who’s cooking near you!

All of the meals you order are made fresh by your Shef. Hot dishes are prepared fresh and then cooled in time for delivery. All meals will arrive cold in an insulated bag with ice packs. Your food will be delivered to your doorstep between 3pm and 8pm on your scheduled delivery date. Don’t worry if you’re not home; your food will be left at your door in a cold insulated bag! Feel free to heat them up for dinner or put them in the refrigerator to enjoy later—completely up to you! Just heat, eat…and repeat!

As a special offer to all our local patrons in Chicago, please enjoy your first meal on us. Just sign up and use discount code “chifriends” to take up to $25 off your first order.

Shef Niquenya Menu
Get our delicious food prepared by Shef Niquenya, cold-packed, and delivered direct to your doorstep!

Corporate partnerships are also available. Now that more teams are working from home, Shef is a wonderful way to show your employees care and support during this difficult time by sharing the gift of homemade food. For larger parties that need prepared food served hot, you can still check out our Catering options.

Real Chat Daddy Show Feature

On Tuesday, March 30th, Owner and Executive Chef Niquenya Collins was featured on The Real Chat Daddy Show in celebration of Women’s History Month and Chicago Restaurant Week.

The show, ran by Art “Chat Daddy” Sims, covers all the top news and entertainment stories of the day and all the latest COVID-19 statistics.

According to the show’s website, Chat Daddy is a familiar and welcomed voice in many diverse communities in Chicago and around the world. Known for humor, quick wit, charming conversation and amiable personality, “Chat Daddy” has traveled both nationally and international, providing inspirational, educational and vital information on the development and maintenance of positive, sustainable relationships.

Tuesday’s show was co-hosted by Christopher C. Avent Sr. Also featured was, Tiffany Williams, aka Chef Mama, owner and operator of Exquisite Catering & Events, a fine dining establishment focused on international cuisine in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

During the show, Chat Daddy talked about the delicious jerk chicken dinner we sent over for him to try. He not only loved the meal but also was particularly taken by Chef Niquenya’s unique seasoning of our fried plantains. Chef Niquenya described them as pan-fried in olive oil with a sweet “warmth.”

Chris chimed in with his appreciation of our intentional use of herbs and spices to develop layers of flavor rather than simply focusing on making dishes spicy. We also discussed how food can be used as the catalyst to bring people together and connect them back to their roots. Chat Daddy made sure to remind his audience of the importance of wearing masks, socially distancing, and staying home while COVID-19 numbers are still on the rise.

The Real Chat Daddy Show airs nightly, Monday though Thursday, at 7 PM CST. Watch the full broadcast below and feel free to leave your thoughts about the lively discussion in the comments.

Chicago Restaurant Week 2021

Chicago Restaurant Week is back this year running from Friday, March 19th through Sunday, April 4th and Cocoa Chili Restaurant & Catering will be participating to serve up our Afro-Caribbean-Soul fanfare with a sweet and spicy flair!

Throughout the duration of this annual promotional event, diners can enjoy special prix fixe menus from restaurants throughout Chicago and nearby suburbs.

These multi-course meals are $25 for brunch or lunch, and $39 and/or $55 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax, gratuity, and delivery fees).

Our prix fixe contribution is set as a $39 meal deal that includes your choice of starter (Creole Gumbo or Caribbean Salad), your choice of entrée (Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Curry Chicken, Senegalese Poulet Yassa, or Caribbean Salmon with Mango Salsa), Fried Plantain, Coco Bread, and a trio of Lunchroom Butter Cookies.

Chicago Restaurant Week 2021 Prix Fixe Menu by Cocoa Chili Restaurant & Catering
Our Chicago Restaurant Week Prix Fixe Menu

Creole Gumbo, Caribbean Salad, Lunchroom Butter Cookies, and Coco Bread are new additions to our menu and will begin being readily available in our regular pickup and delivery options at the conclusion of Chicago Restaurant Week.

Our Creole Gumbo is a warm and savory tradition that harkens back to Chef Niquenya’s Louisiana family roots. Shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage are married with traditional herbs and spices and the “holy trinity” of celery, green bell peppers, and onions in our thick, red roux.

The Caribbean Salad contain salad greens, pineapples, and mandarin oranges accompanied by our house dressing. Coco Bread is a starchy, sweet, Caribbean sandwich bread that serves as the perfect carrier for spicy meats and sauces.

Finally, rounding out the menu are Lunchroom Butter Cookies, a long-time Chicago favorite. These buttery sweet and flaky cookies send any former Chicago Public School student into an instant state of nostalgia.

We are truly excited to be participating in Chicago Restaurant Week 2021 and are looking forward to pleasing your palate! Visit for more information about participating restaurants today!

Time Out Chicago Thinks We’re #1

We are so excited to announce that we have been rated number one in the best new restaurants to check out by Time Out Chicago!

The article features 30 different new restaurants that have hit the scene recently and Cocoa Chili appears at the top of the list with the accompanying blurb…

“The best new restaurants in Chicago are packed with personality and creativity, offering new ways to dine in uncertain times. Take Cocoa Chili for example: Career coach Niquenya Collins is living out her dream of owning a restaurant with a new Afro-Caribbean-soul food concept.”

Morgan Olsen – Time Out Chicago

We are only beginning our 4th day of operation but already we are gathering a great following and have been receiving wonderful reviews from our customers.

Thank you to all who continue to support our vision. We look forward to continuing to serve you our Afro-Caribbean-Soul fanfare with a sweet and spicy flair.

Rated #1 Best New Restaurant in Chicago!

Support our Crowdfunding Campaign

Please consider a contribution to our iFundWomen crowdfunding campaign. Any support you can provide is greatly appreciated!

We are raising money to offset our startup costs so we can spend more time and attention building up our Table Talk empowerment series to achieve our mission to expose our community to unique, sustainably-sourced, educational foodie experiences that increase awareness and access to opportunities to improve the lives of those whom we serve.

iFundWomen is a crowdfunding campaign platform that offers immediate access to capital through a premium online fundraising experience, access to small business grants from corporate partners, expert business coaching on all the topics entrepreneurs need to know about, and a network of women business owners that sparks confidence, accelerates knowledge and ignites action.

Opening during a global pandemic meant that it has been a lot more challenging to secure the financing we needed to fully operate as we intended. We chose iFundWomen’s platform to assist us in our fundraising efforts because of its focus on women entrepreneurs.

Crowdfunding is a really cool way to raise funds and increase awareness around your brand while at the same time giving your customers what they want. Here are just a few of the cool perks we are offering when you support our 100% black- and woman-owned small business…

  • $5 off coupon for your next order
  • 2-oz jar of Cocoa Chili Spice Blend
  • 12-oz or 16-oz jars of Spicy Jerk Sauce & Marinade
  • Personal Chef Home Dining Experience
  • Catering Parties
  • And more!

Thank you in advance for your continued support. Any amount, no matter how big or small, goes a long way towards realizing our vision to diminish the effects of exclusion amongst the disadvantaged populations we serve.

Did you already contribute and have questions? No problem. Just visit our contact page to submit an inquiry.

Thank you again!

~Chef Niquenya

Staple Foods & Leftovers

Join Chef Niquenya for a family-friendly, interactive online cooking class where she will demonstrate how to stock your kitchen with staple foods and transform leftovers into works of culinary art.

You don’t want to miss this!

Staple Foods & Leftovers - Cocoa Chili Foods
Saturday, January 9, 2020 | 10 AM – 12 PM CST | REGISTER NOW

Do you ever have one of those days where you don’t have the slightest clue what to eat?

You’re invited to our very first Table Talk Series virtual event!

This class will show you how to put together a quick meal out of basic staple foods that should be present in every kitchen or pantry. You will also learn how to repurpose leftovers into new and exciting meals.

What you will discover…

  • 6 basic categories of staple foods
  • 2 easy meal prep strategies to stretch a meal
  • 5 ideas to transform leftovers
  • a quick cooking demonstration

Who should attend Staple Foods & Leftovers?

  • Parents on a budget
  • Busy, on-the-go professionals
  • Singles desiring additional meal options
  • College students needing to stretch a dollar
  • Community members living in a food desert
  • Home cooks looking to expand your toolkit

This Staple Foods & Leftovers virtual cooking class is a part of our ongoing Table Talk Series aimed to use delicious food as the catalyst to increase awareness and access to opportunities to increase socioeconomic equity within the communities we serve.

NO REFUNDS will be provided given the nature of this donation-based virtual class. The webinar will be recorded so you will have the opportunity to access the replay for at least 14 days after the presentation. Should you have any questions or concerns, you may contact us at

Register to Staple Foods & Leftovers now below!

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