• Ted Cox
  • Stew beef and fixin’s at Redz

Park on Paulina just north of Howard Street on a Sunday and you’re likely to be met by two things: the amplified voice of a preacher from inside Christ Covenant Ministries, and the smell of stew chicken wafting from the little storefront two doors down. Open since October, Redz Belizean Restaurant stands in the place of the old Tickie’s Belizean Cuisine, but the recipes remain the same—Tickie, who retired in August, is a family friend of new owner Levi “Red” Perez, and he passed them on along with the business.

Debbie Schell of Belize’s local consular agency, out in Des Plaines, says the area’s Belizean population is estimated at 10,000 to 12,000, which might not sound like much until you consider that Belize itself has just about 330,000 people.The former British colony, situated on the northeast coast of Central America between Mexico and Honduras, has only been a country since 1981, and even now has an ongoing territorial dispute with neighboring Guatemala. But its presence here is visible: Evanston is sister to Belize City, and Chicago even has a restaurant specializing in the cuisine of the Amerindian-African Garifuna, Marquette Park’s Garifuna Flava. It probably doesn’t hurt that the official language of Belize is English.