Copeland Smith

It’s not easy to work in the world of food, no matter what end of the food chain you’re on. Start-up costs are high, the hours long, and the rewards often minimal. But working with food is a labor of love.

Across the city, gardeners, farmers, restaurant workers and owners, bakers, bartenders, and mobile vendors are hard at work every day creating food and communities around it. At the center of this year’s Food Issue, you’ll find spotlights of these people and the menus, restaurants, and relationships they’ve built around food. Read about handcrafted ice cream in Bronzeville, a couple-run michelada company, and the growth of a communal garden in Englewood. Hear from worker advocates about what they’re hoping for under a new mayoral administration, and from vendors in Chinatown’s Richland Center food court about the challenges and rewards of running a food stall.

And then, of course, tuck in for some fun reads: our annual beer review, written by nonexperts for nonexperts, incisive criticism of some of Hyde Park’s more recently opened restaurants, and an excerpt from the beloved photo series, What Was Breakfast.

Happy eating reading!

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What Is the Future of Food Policy In Chicago?The issue of inaccessible licenses is only one barrier that emerging food entrepreneurs face in Chicago.

Underground Dives at the Richland Food Court → An important avenue for the average aspiring entrepreneur to enter the Chinatown food scene.

Fueling Up → Behind every unopened gas station door could be a non-Subway food operation that’s anywhere from decent to delicious.

Bittersweet → The Weekly’s four favorite beverages of 2019.

I Won’t Be Back → Three Hyde Park establishments disappoint.

Spotlights on South Side restaurants, bars, gardens, and more:

Big Boss Spicy Chicken (Bridgeport)

Hermitage Street Community Garden (Englewood)

Frente al Sol (Brighton Park)

Kristoffer’s Cakes (McKinley Park)

Pinches Miches

Shawn Michelle’s Homemade Ice Cream (Bronzeville)

Soul Shack (Hyde Park)

Surf’s Up South Shore (South Shore)

Two Mile Coffee (Beverly)

Hoppy Pairings → The Weekly reviews thirteen beers and finds they all go well with something.

What Was Breakfast? → An excerpt from the Instagram series that brings people together around food.

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Support community journalism by donating to South Side Weekly

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Join the Conversation


  1. I’m curious as to why we are not mentioned on your article on spotlights on South Side restaurants? We are the only James Beard and Jean Blanchet culinary award winners. We have been on numerous Travel and Food Channel shows not to mention that this is our 91st year in business on the South Side.

    Mark Kotlick
    Calumet Fisheries, Inc.

    1. Hi Mark

      We’re huge fans of Calumet Fisheries here at the Weekly; we wrote about you in our 2017 Food Issue in both written and comic form, listed you as one of the best things on the Far Southeast Side in our 2013 Best of the South Side issue, and recommended you as a place for holiday gifts in our 2018 Holiday Issue. If we tried to write about every South Side restaurant we love in the spotlights section of our annual Food Issue, it would run hundreds of pages. Thank you for reading the South Side Weekly!

      Sam Stecklow
      Managing Editor
      South Side Weekly

  2. Where is Majani’s of South Shore? World class vegan and atmosphere.These are 2 top chefs serving up the goods..Thank you, Veteran Chef

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