The temperatures outside are climbing, and summer is certainly underway, but nothing says a Chi-summer like the munchies. We’ve compiled the perfect list to satiate that hunger, consisting of the top must-see black-owned restaurants on the premise of their originality, zesty food, and positive reviews. From soul vegetarian food to that juicy all-American cuisine, it’s needless to say, you’re going to find a taste of it all on this list.
Ms. Biscuit 5431 S Wabash Avenue
Walk into Ms. Biscuits and you’ll be walking out singing the Cheers theme song—”Where everybody knows your name”—because that’s just how things work here. And to mention the great food; here you’ll get your diner fix along with the namesake dish of grilled biscuits and gravy!
Mikkey’s Retro Grill 5319 S Hyde Park Blvd
Here comes Mikkey’s, whipping up salmon, turkey and veggie burgers in a neighborhood where you’ll find a “vegetarian, pescatarian, meatatarian and a vegan all on the same block,” according to the owner, Erik Nance. But of course, a retro shack like this comes with a menu of burgers, waffle fries, shakes and sundaes. Also, we recommend checking out Nance and his contributions to the Chicago community.
Sweet Maple Café 1339 W Taylor St
In this quaint, brick building, have breakfast or lunch, whenever you step-into Sweet Maple Cafe—and when we say lunch, we mean the kind that reaches the soul and puts you right to sleep.
Batter and Berries 2748 N Lincoln Ave
If the name isn’t delicious enough? This cafe has you covered with creative pancakes, omelets & other breakfast eats, and it’s melee of sandwiches and lunch. Then there’s also the excitement of the 68-seat breakfast nooks and the mosaic-tiled tables, crafted by the owners themselves.
Original Soul Vegetarian 203 E 75th St
You’ve got your vegetarian and vegan foods, and then you’ve got your vegetarian and vegan southern/soul foods with health and spice, and everything nice, because that’s what real foods are made of. With a juice bar and local art works to show, the longevity of this hub speaks for itself.
The Bronzeville Jerk Shack 5055 S Prairie Ave
If you find yourself in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood, and craving a menu centered around jerk, chicken and pork, freshly made to order, stop by the Jerk Shack. You’ll also be able to get a couple complementary sides and an assortment of island sweets.
Sip and Savor 5301 S Hyde Park – 528 E 43rd Street – 9920 S Western Ave
With three locations and the latter recently opening in Beverly, Sip and Savor is your grandiose coffee shop with music entertainment. Like the others, this place is for all patrons to come and mingle, read ans sip, write and type—well, we’re sure you get it by now.
This food truck is extremely special, not only because it’s pink and cuddly, but also because it specializes in a gluten free menu, with salad, rice and pasta bowls. Now that you’ll catch the truck back in the streets as great weather says hello, go and get your bowls served with chicken, shrimp or as vegetarian style.
Ja’Grill Harper court, 1510 E Harper Ct
Hello to Mr. President Obama’s Chciago neighborhood of Hyde Park, Ja’Grill is cooking up curries, jerks & other Jamaican specialties in a very upscale-casual space that has a lounge and, yes—weekend DJs.
Truth Italian 56 E Pershing Rd
The truth is, Truth! is a five-star cuisine, offering dishes like ravioli Florentine, marinated grilled lamb chops, and more. This is an Italian affair to the T.
Mr. Brown’s Lounge 2301 W Chicago Ave
For one, this is just a very beautifully, zesty spot from head to toe, entangled in a casual setting of reggae album art and DJs. You can tell that it was truly designed with “vibe” with all the Caribbean cooking and tropical drinks.
5 Loaves Eatery 405 E 75th St
Currency Exchange Café 305 E Garfield Blvd
The cafe has a very unique design that was completely birthed from re-purposed materials and includes the original hand-painted signs of the currency exchange that formally inhabited the space. Did we mention there is a library? Serves a mix of American, Mexican & Filipino food.
Brown Sugar Bakery 328 E 75th St
Calling all sweet tooth’s: if a fix of Brown Sugar’s baked goods, sweat treats and custom cakes won’t do it, what will? If you check in on Yelp, you get a free cupcake. We recommend the caramel cake and the peach cobbler.
Akhirah’s Praline Candy 1845 S State St
Praline candy, beignets, and freshly roasted coffee…right in the South Loop. This is your run to French Quarter style coffee shop that brings New Orleans inspired treats up north to Chicago.
Peach’s Restaurant 4652 S King Dr
Just your breakfast all day, casual diner, peach coffee, duck bacon, and bourbon compote spot.
Vee-Vee’s African Restaurant 6232 N Broadway St
You may have spotted Vee-Vee’s at the Taste of Chicago a few times, but you can find their mainstay in the Edgewater neighborhood. Red beans and rice with jerk chicken, the jollof rice, the plantains, the goat; Vee-Vee’s is one of the best West African/Caribbean restaurants you’ll find in Chicago.
Luella‘s Southern Kitchen 4609 N Lincoln Ave
From the outside, Luella’s is a simple storefront in a narrow space. But the inside is as spectacular as they come. Find traditional southern favorites and a BYOB policy in Lincoln Square.
Norman’s Bistro 1001 E 43rd
What are you going to dive into at Norman’s Bistro? For appetizers, (get it?) this high-end eatery is recognized by locals as one of Chicago’s bests and the top restaurants in the Hyde Park and Kenwood area. There’s American Creole Cuisine with a Brazilian Flair, and an exquisite dessert menu with an elaborate wine bar and wine list.
Your self-serve frozen yogurt shop with great yogurt selections that change frequently, and a super-awesome toppings bar. This too is right in Hyde Park, and promises to help you cool down in the scorching summer days ahead.