Welcome to the Weekly’s third annual Food Issue, our brightest and spiciest yet. Over the next twenty-four pages, you’ll encounter a veritable feast prepared by the Weekly’s intrepid and insatiable reporters. Like in years past, reviews and profiles—of a family’s habanero hot sauce line, pizza in Bronzeville, michelada and smoothies, new coffee shops and a newly closed coffee shop, and bars along Archer Avenue—abound. But for the whole story of the meal on your plate, look out for pieces that report on the broader context of food production, like the new wave of agricultural cooperatives cropping up across the South Side, the anti-slaughter organizing that activists have brought down to the old Stockyards, and the 2011 urban agriculture zoning amendment that legalized for-profit urban farms—and at the same time raised the barriers to starting, and finding an appropriate business license for, an urban farm in the city of Chicago. To top it off, a new contributor makes a compelling argument about how our conversation about a just food system fails to hit the mark—and that we should be talking about racism, segregation, and the minimum wage when we talk about food access on the South Side. As always, we wish we could feature even more of the nuanced flavors of the South and West Sides than we can fit in one issue. But we’re confident that what awaits you is a carefully crafted and satisfying nine-course meal—so tuck in!
Historically, agriculture and urban planning have had a tight-knit but fraught relationship. In the lower-income neighborhoods of nineteenth-century American cities, livestock—necessary sources of food and wealth—were common, as were concerns about the public health consequences of dense tenements clustered with people and pigs. Some early attempts at outlawing animals for sanitary reasons were met with public derision: As the New York Times reported in 1865 in response to the apparent arrest of a cow in New York City, “The spectacle of ten or twelve policemen guarding a solitary cow on her way to the cattle-jail provokes too much merriment even for those who are interested in having the streets kept clear of four-footed nuisances.” But over the course of the nineteenth century, the expanding power of the field of public health in urban planning meant that many forms of urban agriculture, particularly those involving animals, were significantly curbed.
Overflow Coffee Bar
Evelyn’s celebrates a year in Washington Park
Last month, a banner unfurled in the windows of a beloved storefront on 57th Street, bearing an announcement that would be a disappointment to some and a relief to others: after a year under new, and failing, management, Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe was shuttering for good.
The best beer-and-shot pairings along the 62 bus route
After four years of selling their brews at liquor stores, bars, and, of course, Maria’s, Marz Community Brewing opened their long-awaited taproom last February. A year before that, Lo Rez opened its doors for business in Pilsen. Moody Tongue, also of Pilsen, launched the year before that. In fact, all of the South Side breweries sampled here opened within the last five years. In short, there’s something of a craft beer renaissance happening south of Roosevelt—from professionals in wood-and-steel-converted-factory taprooms, to homebrewers in their garages and kitchens. For the third time, a group of Weekly editors—from amateur ale drinkers to aspiring aficionados—sat down at our Experimental Station office to try just a few of the beers that the South Side has to offer. After compiling our comments (some snarky, some sincere) and tallying up our numeric score (absolutely nonscientific and completely subjective), we present to you the 2018 South Side Beer Review.
Little Village wasn’t known for its Japanese cuisine… until now. While there’s still a dearth of Asian food options in the area, the opening of Sora Temakeria four months ago has put this neighborhood on the map for any sushi-lovers sojourning to the best spots in the city. But Sora Temakeria isn’t your run-of-the-mill sashimi establishment; its menu is Japanese in inspiration, but with a Brazilian bent. In the Baja—available in both sushi burrito and bowl forms—crab salad and jalapeño come together in a fantastic fusion of these geographically distal but surprisingly complementary cuisines and cultures.
Cafeteria Yesenia feels like your grandmother’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. This Back of the Yards restaurant, on the corner of Ashland and 43rd, is a South Side staple for Cuban cuisine.
After much anticipation, A Slice of Bronzeville opened two months ago. The restaurant stands at the corner of 47th & King Drive, across from the Harold Washington Cultural Center and Peach’s Restaurant. Its scarce décor, dim lighting, and exposed pipes are reminiscent of “locals-only” coffee shops, but the ever-present smell of tomato sauce and cheese make it clear that we are certainly in a pizzeria.