‘Sauce Boss’ cooks and performs for North Side men’s shelter

Senior Community Organizer Wayne Richard, Bill "Sauce Boss" Wharton & a North Side resident
Senior Community Organizer Wayne Richard, Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton with a North Side resident

CCH teamed up with North Side Housing & Supportive Services to bring Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton to perform Tuesday evening for 30 men who live in North Side’s Uptown interim housing.

The evening was planned by Senior Community Organizer Wayne Richard and Development Director Michael Nameche. A new outreach site for Wayne, North Side provides intensive case management, shelter, food, and many other services with the goal to help homeless men find permanent housing. 

Sauce Boss with another shelter resident
Sauce Boss with another shelter resident

The Sauce Boss is much more than your average performer: He is dinner and a show! By combining his swampy blues sound and his supreme cooking skills, the Sauce Boss provides joy and a pot of gumbo for the shelter residents. He brought his talents to the local Chicago shelter to entertain and feed the homeless, and has been doing so for over ten years. His free performances have brought food to over 200,000 people since 2003.

“If you can forget about your troubles for a half hour, it’s worth it,” the Sauce Boss said to those present.

Sure enough, there were laughs and cheers from the residents throughout his performance. At the end of the night, all were entertained and fed.

His purpose? “Let’s show some respect. There’s plenty of hatred in the world. We need to talk to one another.”

Sauce Boss performs
Sauce Boss performs

After the show, he relaxed with some of the people at the shelter, located at 914 W. Lawrence Ave., and engaged in conversation over a bowl of his gumbo. Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton is scheduled to play at Fitzgerald’s in west suburban Berwyn.

For more info on Sauce Boss’ shelter performances and his non-profit organization, Planet Gumbo.

– Photos & story by Natalie Mogentale & Taylor Boyd, CCH Media/Development interns