We all have a favorite cup of coffee, a go-to late-night snack, a building that makes us stop and wonder every time we pass it. With this, our biggest Best of the South Side issue ever, we invite you to go further afield for the sandwich you can’t live without, the bookstore you could spend all day in, the secluded spot you go to for some peace and quiet.
Behind all of the “bests” in this issue are longer narratives, stories of restaurants that moved from home kitchens to storefronts; of people who created spaces to share favorite recipes or celebrate single ingredients, like sweet potatoes or masa harina; of neighbors that joined together to make their block a destination; of institutions working to stay relevant or leading the way for change.
The Weekly is comprised of a team of South Siders who are committed to telling true stories about the place we call home. The months we spend putting the Best of the South Side issue together are our favorite. We relish the opportunity to talk to the people whose hard work puts their neighborhood on the map, people who love what they do and love where they’re doing it.
We know that these pages don’t include all of the bests of the South Side. Share your favorites with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by tweeting @SouthSideWeekly with the hashtag #BoSS2015.
Auburn Gresham → Best Place to Throw a Birthday Bash that Makes the Other Kids (or Adults) Jealous, Best Banquet Hall with a Comeback Story, Best Blink-and-You’ll-Miss-it Veterans Garden, Best Bar Where 25 is the New 21, and the Best (Only) Nation of Islam National Newspaper
Back of the Yards → Best Place to Find Absolutely Anything, Best Last Place to Buy Lamb and Veal, Best All-In-One Taquería, Tequila Bar, and Mexican Grocery Store, Best Neighborhood Bar Balladeers, Best Corn Tortillas and Jugos de Frutas, and the Best Pipe Organ
Beverly & Morgan Park → Best Meadery, Best More-Than-a-Florist, Best Bookstore Not in Hyde Park, Best Themed Restaurant, Best Historic Home Walk, and the Best Small Town Café
Bridgeport → Best Closet, Best Triple Cheeseburger, Best Stingo, Best Bakery, Best Body of Water, and the Best Hackers
Bronzeville → Best Resurrection, Best Diasporic Display, Best Homemade Milkshake, Best Lasting Art Center, Best Once and Future Church, and the Best Apple Fritter
Chatham & Greater Grand Crossing → Best Slice of Home, Best Cinema-Related Arm of Theaster Gates’ Redevelopment-Through-The-Arts Octopus, Best Tropical Escape, and the Best Bouquets
Chinatown → Best Marriage of Form and Content, Best Depiction of Mao Zedong in the West, Best Multifaceted Cultural Center, Best Egg Tart, and the Best Sugar Rush
Englewood → Best Nanners, Best Guilt-Free Eggrolls, Best Scents, Best Veggie Boxes, and Best Exteriors
Far Southeast Side & South Chicago → Best Horchata, Best Cream Cheese Delicacy, Best No-Bullshit Tacos, and Best Early Retreat From Urban Living
Hyde Park & Kenwood → Best Out-of-the-Way Historical Relic, Best Public Library Architecture, Best Any Time of The Week Treat, Best Local Ruins, Best Non-Harold’s Chicken, Best Kid-Friendly Art Center, and Best Re-use of an Antiquarian Bookstore
Little Village & Lawndale → Best Last-Minute Prayer, Best Activist Schoolhouse, Best Storefront Taqueria in Little Village, Best Reason to Close a Street, and the Best Paleta to Eat Under the Arch
Pilsen → Best For-Community-Profit Bookstore, Best All-In-One, Best Local Artist Showcase, Best Vegan Tamales, Best Che Guevara Baby Onesies, Best Spot to Grab a Cup of Joe, and the Best Tortilla Factory
Pullman & Roseland → Best Doors and Alleyways, Best Fried Hoops of Dough, Best Boat-Grown Veggies, Best Fried Crustaceans, and Best Backyard Bee Hives
South Loop → Best Born-Again Brewery, Best Bike Shop, Best Museum Date Destination, Best Beach to Hide from Tourists, Best Café in a Dry Cleaner, and Best Brunch + Beer for Your Buck
South Shore → Best Mystery Meat, Best Feedback-Driven Dining Experience, Best Deep Dig, Best Multi-Species Fashion, Best Moringa, and the Best Manmade Bike Ride Destination
University Village/ Little Italy → Best Breakfast With Heart and Soul, Best Comeback, Best Ice, Best Price Per Pound, and the Best Sandwich (Ever)
Woodlawn & Washington Park → Best Home Cooking Away From Home, Best Jam Session, Best Place to Get Your Groove On, Best Really Big Park, Best Semi-Famous Church Choir, Best Island Cuisine and More