Cover by Christina Cano

Welcome to the tenth anniversary edition of Best of the South Side! For ten years running we’ve been bringing readers the most personal, idiosyncratic “Best of” issue in town. Each year, Best of the South Side grows more collaborative and features more voices from around the city. In the process, we get to learn so much about Chicago we wouldn’t normally have the chance to—like the radical history of a Woodlawn church, or the namesake of a new athletic center in Pullman. 

In this year’s issue, you’ll meet elders from all over the city who have given back to their communities again and again; you’ll be tantalized by beloved restaurants and bakeries going strong despite rising rents and pandemics; and you’ll discover parks and nature preserves to soothe your soul. Expect to run into items you’re unlikely to find anywhere else, like the case for a novel traffic solution in Chinatown, the history of the taco, and an ode to childhood hot chips. And we hope you’ll get some use out of the issue, too. Inside you’ll find restaurant suggestions for the next time you’re short on dinner plans and tips for where to get your car washed, buy groceries for African cooking, and thrift your next look.

Best of the South Side is a labor of love in many ways: it’s a collaborative, summerlong, sometimes messy attempt to invite neighborhood residents, community leaders, artists, and emerging writers from across the South Side to tell us about the places, people, and stories that make their communities special. But we’re pleased to report that this year we backed that love up with some money. Thanks to a grant from the Chicago Community Trust, we are able for the first time to pay our neighborhood captains, writers, photographers, and fact checkers.  So jump in and travel the city, from North Lawndale to Hegewisch, and the South Loop to Beverly. From all of us at the Weekly, here’s the Best of the South Side.

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