01 Sep 10 Black Owned Restaurants to try in Chicago
Chicago is a captivating city, bustling with culture. It has made many contributions to arts, literature, and of course, – food. When someone thinks of food in Chicago, the first thing that may come to mind is the iconic deep-dish pizza. But, ChiTown has countless other flavors to offer. Some of the best black-owned restaurants in Chicago started right on the Southside.
Before the Great Migration in the early 1900s, the African American population in Chicago was only 2%. By 1970, this had grown to 33%, with many African Americans settling in Chicago’s Southside. This sparked the Chicago Black Renaissance, where the Black aesthetic influenced many aspects of Chicago’s culture. Today, there are over 120 Black-owned restaurants in Chicago – and the number keeps growing!
Supporting Black-owned restaurants in Chicago during Black Restaurant Week is a great way to contribute to strengthening local communities and economies while celebrating diverse cultures. But Black Restaurant Week is more than just a week! Black-owned restaurants in Chicago and across the nation are commonly overlooked and underrepresented. We work to keep doors open and build more opportunities by supporting Black-owned restaurants in Chicago every day.
Here are some of the best Black-owned restaurants in Chicago to try out this Black Restaurant Week.
Vegan Restaurant - Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat
Vegan Black-owned restaurants in Chicago are on the rise. Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat offers a meatless take on common fast foods. Since its opening, lines of people formed down the block to get a taste. It’s a popular spot for influencers, actors, and local musicians. Even Jermaine Dupri recently popped in to see what the buzz is all about. With locations in Hyde Park, Gold Coast, and Orland Park, the menu boasts a variety of mouthwatering comfort food. A signature is the “Hold Up! Wait a Min!” Philly Cheesesteak made with meatless protein, a medley of toppings, and vegan cheese.
RELATED: Vegan options in Chicago
Caribbean Cuisine - Jerk 48
Jerk 48 is well-known for cooking up exquisite Caribbean-inspired favorites made with the highest quality ingredients. Jerk 48 has a laid back vibe with friendly service. The Westside location has beautiful murals offering encouragement to patrons. The flavors are hard to try just once. One customer even drives almost three hours from Indy just to indulge in Jerk 48. Jerk Chicken may be the most popular at Jerk 48, but guests shouldn’t miss out on other favorites like Oxtails and Jerk Lobster Tail.
Smoothie and Juice Bar - Bani’s Beets
At Bani’s Beets, owner Auriel Banister uses cold-pressed juices and other natural foods to promote health and wellness in Chicago communities. Bani’s Beets offers a variety of cold-pressed juices and smoothies made with organic fruits and vegetables. Her latest event, Mic’d Up, is an open mic experience where guests can listen to great music, shop from local vendors, and indulge in small bites and conscious cocktails. Bani’s Beets can be found at many farmers’ markets across Chicago. Everyone should try their classic Beet It juice.
The slogan – “We don’t do the ordinary, we do the unusual!” says it all. Deli King Inc. serves up delicious gourmet sandwiches and wraps along with entrees like Gourmet Jerk Chicken Alfredo. They recently re-opened, reintroducing their upgraded storefront to the community along with their new food truck in Southside. Their Jerk Salmon Wrap is a hit among customers, along with their Shrimp and Salmon Pizzadillias.
Modern American Cuisine: Flammin Restaurant & Co
Flammin Restaurant & Co. is a soul food restaurant with a lot to offer. Customers are loyal not only because of their flavorful entrees but for the fantastic service and welcoming atmosphere that feels like home. Their distinctive ambiance shows through motivational posts on “Wisdom Wednesdays” and “Triumphant Thursdays” offering words of encouragement to customers. For some authentic soul food in Chicago, must-tries include the Shrimp & Grits or the Mustard Catfish with potato salad and mac and cheese. The Kool-Aid is also raved about by several customers.
Brunch - Phlavz
Phlavz was created off the strength of two passions – cooking and entrepreneurship. When Andrew Bonsu began selling plates to family and friends, Phil Simpson noticed how fast he would sell out every time. The two joined forces in 2017, and Phlavz began serving up jerk fusion cuisine in Southside Chicago. Now with three locations and a food truck, Phlavz is extremely popular among locals as well as celebrities and rappers like Southside native, Lil Durk. Phlavs was recently name-dropped in a song by DJ Khaled! The brunch menu features several classics with a twist. The Jerk Chicken Alfredo Omelette is a must-try!
Dinner and Cocktails - Frontier Chicago
Rated one of the best restaurants for group dining by Eater Chicago, Frontier Chicago offers a unique dining experience that will surely be unforgettable. Founder and Chopped Champion, chef Brian Jupiter, curated an innovative menu with a variety of out-of-the-box takes on classic meals. He took this to the next level with the Whole Animal Experience, where groups choose from an array of animals with options from goats to alligators. Customers also love the outdoor patio, rated number one in America by Thrillist.
International Cuisine - Garifuna Flava
Garifuna Flava brings a taste of Belize to Southside Chicago with a medley of Caribbean dishes. The restaurant is named after the indigenous Garifuna people of Central America and offers an eclectic mixture of Latin, Caribbean, and Garifuna cuisine. Every meal is full of culture and tradition and enjoyed in a lowkey, no-frills environment. Jerk Chicken is an all-time favorite of Garifuna Flava patrons, with conch fritters close behind.
Creole Food - Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods
New Orleans native and owner of Frontier Chicago, Brian Jupiter, designed this restaurant with the mission to bring the feel of his hometown to Wicker Park. At Ina Mae Tavern, every night feels like Friday with the upbeat vibe, game nights, live music, and creative menu – dishing out Southern staples like gumbo and po boys. Ina Mae Tavern was recognized for having the best fried chicken in Chicago by Timeout. No one should leave Chicago without trying the Nashville Fried Chicken Po Boy
Cold Treats - B&B’s Ice Cream and Candy
B&B’s Ice Cream and Candy might just be every kid’s (and adult’s) dream. This Black-owned candy shop puts family at the forefront and treats every customer as such. On top of serving candy and ice cream, B&B’s also has savory snacks like nachos and chicken tenders. The vibe is friendly and upbeat, with house music every Friday night at B&B’s in Southside. The Jerk Steak Nachos are a must-try with Funnel Cake Fries for dessert.