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Bears name final Small Business All-Pros winner

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The Bears will recognize Cleo's Southern as their fourth Small Business All-Pros Gameday Eats Edition winner presented by Visa from Dec. 15-Jan. 9. Other 2021 Small Business All-Pros include Moody's Pub (Sept. 19-Oct. 12), Cocoa Chili (Oct. 13-Nov. 16) and Peppo's Subs (Nov. 17-Dec. 14).

Each restaurant will receive four weeks of a Bears marketing partnership, including placement on the team's official social media channels, ChicagoBears.com and within email newsletters, along with in-stadium promotions. For more information, please visit ChicagoBears.com/SmallBusinessAllPros.

Cleo's Southern Cuisine is an elevated Creole Southern Comfort restaurant located in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago. Cleo's Southern Cuisine was founded by Chef Kristen Ashley, who named the restaurant after her late grandmother, Cleodell, honoring her by allowing her memory to forever live on through the recipes she so effortlessly created.

Cleo's melds beloved family recipes with Creole classics such as southern fried catfish and grits, Eater's award-winning fried chicken wings and pan-seared sweet red chili Scottish salmon topped with creole buttered lump crab. In addition to serving homey favorites, Cleo's committed to offering health-conscious options such as turkey cooked in 100 percent peanut oil to limit grease and veggie-filled sides such as cauliflower mash and zucchini chips.

Their mission is to bring elevated southern cooking to Chicago's most progressive, transitional neighborhoods, which happen to be a few blocks from where Chef Kristen grew up. The flagship restaurant (4248 S Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago) is currently operating for dine-in, pick-up orders, delivery and catering services. The second location is located in the award-winning TimeOut Market in the West Loop (916 West Fulton Market, Chicago), which is open for dine-in and catering.

"As a former collegiate athlete, being chosen to participate in the Chicago Bears Game-Day Eats program is a dream come true," Ashley said. "The ability to use food and sports to connect people of all ethnicities is the vision I had when I opened Cleo's. Bringing people together to enjoy a common interest—and in this case it's for the Bears—win!"

In addition to supporting the Bears 2021 Small Business All-Pros Gameday Eats initiative, Visa has directed resources to small businesses through a number of its own programs, tailored to fit the needs of local communities since the start of the pandemic. In its own programs, Visa has committed more than $1 million in hyperlocal grants, many to minority SMB owners in disproportionately impacted U.S. cities, including Chicago.

This marks the second year of the Bears Small Business All-Pros initiative. In 2020, 10 Small Business All-Pros winners brought to you by Proven IT were selected. Principle Barbers received a marketing partnership throughout the 2020 season, as well as a technology assessment provided by Proven IT; nine additional Small Business All-Pros received digital and social marketing exposure through Bears assets during a week in the season, including 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.

For more information about Small Business All-Pros Gameday Eats edition, please visit ChicagoBears.com/SmallBusinessAllPros. More information on the programs Visa has made available to small and micro businesses can also be found on the Visa Small Business Hub and the Visa Small Business COVID-19 support site.

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