Jason Schumer

Best of Mount Greenwood 2019

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Best Don’t-Judge-a-Restaurant-by-its-Exterior Breakfast

Bacon and Jam

Jason Schumer

I stumbled upon Bacon and Jam after a hard day of filming a short video at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. I was looking for a place to grab a quick, satisfying bite to eat where I’d feel comfortable and accepted by those both serving and enjoying the food. As a woman of color living on the southwest side of Chicago, my parents had always warned me about the potential dangers of venturing into popular spots in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood alone. Their worries weren’t in vain. Just last year, White Lives Matter fliers were found placed throughout the neighborhood touting a list of “pro-white” websites. It goes without saying that Mount Greenwood as a neighborhood has had problems accepting people of color willingly. I didn’t want to become another spectacle to stare at. I wanted great food. Bacon and Jam provided that. 

When cruising by, Bacon and Jam may look forlorn and forgotten. One small, colorful sign declares its name, but, otherwise, it rejects the glitz and glam other breakfast spots decide to use when drawing in the hungry customer. Its interior, however, is an entirely different story. Hidden inside this obscure corner spot is a delicious breakfast served by people who genuinely seem like they care about the food that’s resting on your plate. The food is just what you want after a long day: greasy, savory, and sweet. But there are healthy options for those hoping to play it light. 

As a lover of all things carbs, I went with the French Toast Combo. It’s a simple delicacy that can easily be ruined, but Bacon and Jam prepared this order swiftly and with care. It was potentially the fluffiest bread I’d ever eaten, and the hash browns, upon request, were fried hard to a golden crisp. The bacon, of course, was meticulously cooked and so crunchy, I felt like I was in a television ad. My companions ordered similar, simple breakfast items, but not a word was spoken as we dived into our meals and ate until there was less than a crumb left on our respective plates. 

Bacon and Jam got its start in 2017, but it will no doubt remain for years to come. It was featured on America Loves Food and Sports, an online show hosted by retired Atlanta Hawk Stephen Bardo, and praised for its high-end food. And its old-school diner interior combined with its up to date menu will draw in crowds of all ages. There’s something for everyone at Bacon and Jam. They make sure of it. (Atavia Reed)

Bacon and Jam, 3335 W. 111th St. 6:30am–3pm, daily. (872) 356-5400. baconandjamchicago.com

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Best Burger Where the New and Old Collide

Wonderburger 

In its online bio, Wonderburger is described as a restaurant hoping to “create a welcoming neighborhood joint where families and friends can meet to enjoy great food, local craft beer and specialty cocktails.” “Welcoming” is the first word I’d use to describe Wonderburger. Delicious is the second. 

All ages stop by Wonderburger for a bite at one of its juiciest creations. And with a counter and stools right by the cooks as they grease up the grill for another meal, you’ll feel like you’re back in a fifties-style diner without the segregation to match. 

This Wonderburger location opened its doors in 2019, continuing a string of neighborhood burger joints under the name since 1954—it feels like it’s been around for decades waiting to welcome you. The burgers are fresh, but the fries are sometimes undercooked, so ask for the cook to let them simmer for a while if you’re hoping to attain that perfect crunch. Stop here with a date or with a few pals wanting a drink, and chances are you’ll make it a staple every time you’re in this neighborhood. (Atavia Reed)

Wonderburger, 3333 W. 111th St. Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–9pm. (773) 238-7200. wonderburgerchicago.com

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