During Black History Month, we turn our attention towards the achievements and contributions of African Americans in the US, while recognizing the history of racism and oppression the community has suffered. While Black History and Black Culture are represented in various forms and media in Chicago, one of the best and most exciting ways to learn about a culture different from your own is through cuisine. Living in Chicago, are surrounded by tons of black-owned restaurants to stop in, enjoy some great food, and support black-owned businesses. To make your exploration more guided, here are our top 10 picks of black-owned restaurants in Chicago.
By the way, make sure you check out Black Restaurant Week before it ends!
Batter and Berries
2748 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
It’s no secret that Batter and Berries is known for their incredible waffles and breakfast food, but this is also one of the many places you can enjoy while supporting a black-owned restaurant. From french toast to breakfast sandwiches and more, Batter and Berries is a great choice when you’re looking to enjoy the most important meal of the day.
Cleo’s Southern Cuisine
4248 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60653
Only open Friday through Sunday, it’s important to schedule some time in your weekend to get food at Cleo’s. Serving up “a creole twist on Southern classics”, you’re sure to enjoy tons of dishes like fried catfish with lump crab and housemade remoulade sauce, a mouthwatering hot honey chicken sandwich, or classic baked macaroni and cheese. Best part? Bears fans can enjoy a taste of Cleo’s at Soldier Field during home games.
1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
We’re inching closer and closer to patio season, and one place you absolutely must check out is the Frontier. This black-owned, lodge-style restaurant has everything you need for Game Day, brunch, and everything in between. Pairing your food with a great drink has never been easier, since The Frontier has a rotating beer and cider menu, cocktails, seltzers, and Basil Hayden’s Whiskey Wednesdays.
Ina Mae Tavern
1415 N Wood St, Chicago, IL 60622
This Wicker Park stop has become a staple in serving up food that says “the Big Easy meets the Windy City” (source). Chef and owner Brian Jupiter named Ina Mae’s after his great-grandmother, and continues to bring her legacy to life through live music, New Orleans style cuisine, and a “neighborhood feel”. Stop in for a Po Boy, but you’re guaranteed to stay for the welcoming atmosphere.
Ain’t She Sweet Cafe
526 E 43rd St, Chicago, IL 60653
If you’re looking for a lighter meal, head to Ain’t She Sweet. This cafe features all the favorites like sandwiches and wraps alongside smoothies and sweet treats. Open Monday through Friday from 10-6 in Bronzeville, this is bound to become a new favorite lunch spot if your impending return to office dates take you back to the South Loop!
131 N Clinton St, Chicago, IL 60661
Kathyrn Miles, owner and chef of Kathryn’s Soul, started cooking at the age of 10. From there, after leaving the corporate world, she took the pandemic as an opportunity to lean into her passion and open this incredible spot for baked salmon, meatloaf, chicken alfredo, and much more. Through honoring her late-mother’s legacy, Kathryn used her namesake to follow her dreams and serve up delicious food to Chicago.
4801 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
If you have yet to try Ethiopian food, consider this your sign. Demera in Uptown is a great place to try out some new cuisine. With popular favorites like messob, a plethora of tibs, and injera, you’re guaranteed to find something new that you love. Restaurant goers are awed over the hand-eaten meals and exotic flavors, leaving no wonder why they were featured in the Michelin Guide and many other Chicago publications.
3615 W Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL 60624
With visits only available by reservation, a trip to Soulé is definitely worth the wait. Bridgette Flagg, owner and head chef, dishes up southern inspired soul-food and has been named the best soul food restaurant in Illinois by Travel Noire. Whether you’re stopping in for the shrimp and grits, lamb chops, or honey drizzled fried chicken, Soulé is definitely one to watch as it continues to
Brown Sugar Bakery
328 E 75th Street, Chicago, IL 60619
Sweet tooth? Head to Brown Sugar Bakery! With cake slices, cupcakes, chocolate covered treats, your tastebuds will be screaming the praises that are so well-deserved. Brown Sugar Bakery’s flagship store is in Grand Crossing, but they also have a walk-up store in Navy Pier for a sweet treat during your touristy-spent days!
352 E 71st St, Chicago, IL 60619
In the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, you’ll find Doughboy’s. With an expansive menu that features chicken wings, jumbo shrimp, and their world famous Spaghedough (spaghetti served with ground turkey, tomatoes, and peppers), there is no way that you’ll be left feeling even a little bit hungry after a trip to Doughboy’s!
Featured Image: Demera Ethiopian