clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A monument in with a solider with a musket in its hand.
The Victory Monument in Bronzeville was erected in 1927 and honors the 8th Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, an African-American unit that served in World War I.
Shutterstock

Where to Eat in Bronzeville

Historic Bronzeville has several restaurants that no Chicagoan should miss

View as Map
The Victory Monument in Bronzeville was erected in 1927 and honors the 8th Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, an African-American unit that served in World War I.
| Shutterstock

With beautiful and historic homes mixed in with new properties, dynamic cultural attractions, and a predominantly upwardly mobile, African-American population, Bronzeville has often been compared to New York’s Harlem.

Of course, the South Side neighborhood, just south of McCormick Place, has a distinct flavor of its own — particularly for eating and drinking. Shawn Michelle’s Homemade Ice Cream boasts Southern-inspired flavors like banana pudding, lunchroom butter cookie, and honey cinnamon graham cracker. There’s also the delightful Peach’s Restaurant, which pairs garlicky shrimp, fried catfish, or salmon croquettes with creamy grits. Just count on the options to be truly limitless in this part of town.

As of April 29, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 50 percent maximum capacity per room, or 100 people — whichever is fewer. Regardless, the state requires reservations for both indoor and outdoor dining. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Eméché Cakery & Cafe

Copy Link

The glamorous little pastry shop is best known for its spirit-infused creations like chocolate bourbon pound cake and mini rum butter Bundt cakes. But Eméché is not gimmicky. Owner Janell Richmond is a talented baker who makes everything she sells by hand, including the elaborate, custom-designed cakes she creates for special occasions. The spot is open daily (except Sundays) for breakfast and lunch, and guests may choose from a host of pastries, salads, sandwiches, and specialty coffees.

While this isn’t the original Dock’s location, it is the cheeriest to eat, watch television, and gaze at the beautiful mural of famous Black women like Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou. What’s super cool is that this family-friendly venue is owned by three former Dock’s employees who simply couldn’t get enough of the Fishwich and Dockberry shakes. The Fishwich — piled high with two crispy whitefish fillets, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo — is the signature dish, but there’s also catfish fillet dinners, shrimp po’boys, catfish nuggets, and fried chicken on the menu.

Yassa African Restaurant

Copy Link

This Senegalese-focused restaurant is from Madieye and Awa Gueye, a husband-and-wife team originally from the Wolof Tribe. After a fire destroyed their Chatham restaurant in 2014, they quickly rebuilt a welcoming, energetic destination one year later in Bronzeville. Under a massive, yet striking painting of Africa, diners nosh on dishes like thiebou ganaar (chicken fried rice and stewed vegetables with or without tomato sauce), whole grilled fish, and stews made with curry chicken, lamb, or seafood.

Pearl's Place Restaurant

Copy Link

Yet another neighborhood institution is this buffet-styled eatery that’s popular with local politicians. Pearl’s Place serves classic soul food, and breakfast is available all day with the likes of specialty omelets, waffles made from scratch, and a “down south” breakfast featuring country-fried steak, eggs, pancakes, and grits. For lunch and dinner, you’ll find braised oxtails, red beans and rice, fried chicken, and home-style chicken and dumplings on the menu. For those with heartier appetites, the buffet is available through all dayparts.

Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles

Copy Link

The original Bronzeville location is a neighborhood staple for its mostly fried food menu. There’s the popular chicken and waffles, of course, but there’s also fried catfish and waffles. Those in the know place their orders by proper name (dishes named after family members, employees, and loyal fans): “Ms. Ashley’s Chicken Salad” is an oversized salad topped with fried chicken; “The Jimmy L” consists of fried chicken gizzards, livers, or giblets with a waffle or potato salad. And order the “June Bear” and you’ll get chicken sausage and melted cheese tucked inside of a five-egg omelet.  

Cleo's Southern Cuisine

Copy Link

This friendly Bronzeville staple features top-notch fried fish, chicken, and some of the best chicken wings in the city. The menu has several Creole touches, including a red beans and rice with turkey sausage. Keep an eye on the pastry cases for delicious cakes.

Honey 1 BBQ

Copy Link

One of the prime practicers of true Chicago-style barbecue, Honey 1 BBQ has found a home in Bronzeville where owner Robert Adams serves up hot links, rib tips, chicken wings, and pork spare ribs. This family-owned barbecue joint is worth seeking out for a true taste of the city.

Norman's Bistro

Copy Link

The addition of lobster in the gumbo at Norman’s helped establish it as one of the premier destinations in Bronzeville. It’s one of the fancier places in the area, making it a first date-night favorite. It doesn’t hurt that a little wine bar is carved into the rear of the restaurant. There, guests may order lighter bites or full entrees such as chipotle-cream pasta with grilled shrimp, Caribbean flame-grilled lamb, and jerk tilapia. Weekend brunch features classic Southern favorites that have been modernized such as the sweet potato pancakes.

Surf's Up Bronzeville

Copy Link

A deejay spins old-school hip-hop as guests wait patiently for to-go orders or a table at this bustling little seafood restaurant. Fried lobster is the specialty at Surf’s Up, and you can get it as a dinner with fries, as a sandwich paired with fried shrimp, or po’boy style. There’s a lot to choose from if you dig fried seafood, or order the “beach feast,” which comes with one pound of crabs legs, plus shrimp and lobster tails. Non-seafood stars: fried biscuits, house-made Hennessey sauce for the fried chicken wings, and collard greens made with smoked turkey.

Gorée Cuisine

Copy Link

The all-day café atmosphere of this festive Senegalese restaurant is influenced by North African, French, and Portuguese cuisines. Menu highlights include dibi lamb (grilled lamb chops); Senegalese-style shish kabobs in a secret sauce; and c’est bon, or a whole smoked fish paired with shrimp. Each entrée arrives with a side of the diner’s choice, from couscous to steamed cabbage with carrots.

Carver 47 Food and Wellness Market

Copy Link

George Washington Carver, best known for developing hundreds of products using peanuts, was a historic inventor and agricultural scientist. He was the inspiration behind this slick food and wellness market adjacent to Little Black Pearl, an events space and gallery. Carver 47 showcases a global menu that’s casual and health conscientious. Think of grilled flatbreads topped with bits of turkey bacon, butternut squash, or marinated mushrooms; fruit smoothies; and freshly squeezed juices made daily.

Peach's Restaurant

Copy Link

This trendy, corner breakfast nook serves Southern fare that’s chef driven. Helmed by owner and chef Cliff Rome, Peach’s puts a fresh spin on the classics, such as the signature peach bourbon French toast. Rome reels in the church crowd for Sunday brunch, but he also gets a healthy dose of the area’s young singles and couples. They’re coming for “the hangover plate,” fried chicken wings doused in a secret sweet and spicy sauce and accompanied by eggs and grits; salmon croquettes and cheesy grits; or the breakfast bowl of turkey bacon, house potatoes, sweet peppers, onions, spinach, egg and cheddar.

Shawn Michelle's Homemade Ice Cream

Copy Link

Churning out home-style ice cream in unique and classic flavors, Shawn Michelle’s was an instant hit when it opened in Bronzeville a few years ago. The venue combines the nostalgic ice-cream parlor vibe with modern accents throughout the fun, animated space, which is an Instagram fave. Experience Shawn Michelle’s like a pro by ordering one of the combos (mix Bronzeville vanilla and lemon sunbeam supreme flavors to make pound cake ice cream) or a scoop of any flavor on top of their freshly made, warm cobblers. Highlights range from Melanin Magic chocolate to raspberry cookies and cream.

Eméché Cakery & Cafe

The glamorous little pastry shop is best known for its spirit-infused creations like chocolate bourbon pound cake and mini rum butter Bundt cakes. But Eméché is not gimmicky. Owner Janell Richmond is a talented baker who makes everything she sells by hand, including the elaborate, custom-designed cakes she creates for special occasions. The spot is open daily (except Sundays) for breakfast and lunch, and guests may choose from a host of pastries, salads, sandwiches, and specialty coffees.

Dock's

While this isn’t the original Dock’s location, it is the cheeriest to eat, watch television, and gaze at the beautiful mural of famous Black women like Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou. What’s super cool is that this family-friendly venue is owned by three former Dock’s employees who simply couldn’t get enough of the Fishwich and Dockberry shakes. The Fishwich — piled high with two crispy whitefish fillets, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo — is the signature dish, but there’s also catfish fillet dinners, shrimp po’boys, catfish nuggets, and fried chicken on the menu.

Yassa African Restaurant

This Senegalese-focused restaurant is from Madieye and Awa Gueye, a husband-and-wife team originally from the Wolof Tribe. After a fire destroyed their Chatham restaurant in 2014, they quickly rebuilt a welcoming, energetic destination one year later in Bronzeville. Under a massive, yet striking painting of Africa, diners nosh on dishes like thiebou ganaar (chicken fried rice and stewed vegetables with or without tomato sauce), whole grilled fish, and stews made with curry chicken, lamb, or seafood.

Pearl's Place Restaurant

Yet another neighborhood institution is this buffet-styled eatery that’s popular with local politicians. Pearl’s Place serves classic soul food, and breakfast is available all day with the likes of specialty omelets, waffles made from scratch, and a “down south” breakfast featuring country-fried steak, eggs, pancakes, and grits. For lunch and dinner, you’ll find braised oxtails, red beans and rice, fried chicken, and home-style chicken and dumplings on the menu. For those with heartier appetites, the buffet is available through all dayparts.

Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles

The original Bronzeville location is a neighborhood staple for its mostly fried food menu. There’s the popular chicken and waffles, of course, but there’s also fried catfish and waffles. Those in the know place their orders by proper name (dishes named after family members, employees, and loyal fans): “Ms. Ashley’s Chicken Salad” is an oversized salad topped with fried chicken; “The Jimmy L” consists of fried chicken gizzards, livers, or giblets with a waffle or potato salad. And order the “June Bear” and you’ll get chicken sausage and melted cheese tucked inside of a five-egg omelet.  

Cleo's Southern Cuisine

This friendly Bronzeville staple features top-notch fried fish, chicken, and some of the best chicken wings in the city. The menu has several Creole touches, including a red beans and rice with turkey sausage. Keep an eye on the pastry cases for delicious cakes.

Honey 1 BBQ

One of the prime practicers of true Chicago-style barbecue, Honey 1 BBQ has found a home in Bronzeville where owner Robert Adams serves up hot links, rib tips, chicken wings, and pork spare ribs. This family-owned barbecue joint is worth seeking out for a true taste of the city.

Norman's Bistro

The addition of lobster in the gumbo at Norman’s helped establish it as one of the premier destinations in Bronzeville. It’s one of the fancier places in the area, making it a first date-night favorite. It doesn’t hurt that a little wine bar is carved into the rear of the restaurant. There, guests may order lighter bites or full entrees such as chipotle-cream pasta with grilled shrimp, Caribbean flame-grilled lamb, and jerk tilapia. Weekend brunch features classic Southern favorites that have been modernized such as the sweet potato pancakes.

Surf's Up Bronzeville

A deejay spins old-school hip-hop as guests wait patiently for to-go orders or a table at this bustling little seafood restaurant. Fried lobster is the specialty at Surf’s Up, and you can get it as a dinner with fries, as a sandwich paired with fried shrimp, or po’boy style. There’s a lot to choose from if you dig fried seafood, or order the “beach feast,” which comes with one pound of crabs legs, plus shrimp and lobster tails. Non-seafood stars: fried biscuits, house-made Hennessey sauce for the fried chicken wings, and collard greens made with smoked turkey.

Gorée Cuisine

The all-day café atmosphere of this festive Senegalese restaurant is influenced by North African, French, and Portuguese cuisines. Menu highlights include dibi lamb (grilled lamb chops); Senegalese-style shish kabobs in a secret sauce; and c’est bon, or a whole smoked fish paired with shrimp. Each entrée arrives with a side of the diner’s choice, from couscous to steamed cabbage with carrots.

Carver 47 Food and Wellness Market

George Washington Carver, best known for developing hundreds of products using peanuts, was a historic inventor and agricultural scientist. He was the inspiration behind this slick food and wellness market adjacent to Little Black Pearl, an events space and gallery. Carver 47 showcases a global menu that’s casual and health conscientious. Think of grilled flatbreads topped with bits of turkey bacon, butternut squash, or marinated mushrooms; fruit smoothies; and freshly squeezed juices made daily.

Peach's Restaurant

This trendy, corner breakfast nook serves Southern fare that’s chef driven. Helmed by owner and chef Cliff Rome, Peach’s puts a fresh spin on the classics, such as the signature peach bourbon French toast. Rome reels in the church crowd for Sunday brunch, but he also gets a healthy dose of the area’s young singles and couples. They’re coming for “the hangover plate,” fried chicken wings doused in a secret sweet and spicy sauce and accompanied by eggs and grits; salmon croquettes and cheesy grits; or the breakfast bowl of turkey bacon, house potatoes, sweet peppers, onions, spinach, egg and cheddar.

Shawn Michelle's Homemade Ice Cream

Churning out home-style ice cream in unique and classic flavors, Shawn Michelle’s was an instant hit when it opened in Bronzeville a few years ago. The venue combines the nostalgic ice-cream parlor vibe with modern accents throughout the fun, animated space, which is an Instagram fave. Experience Shawn Michelle’s like a pro by ordering one of the combos (mix Bronzeville vanilla and lemon sunbeam supreme flavors to make pound cake ice cream) or a scoop of any flavor on top of their freshly made, warm cobblers. Highlights range from Melanin Magic chocolate to raspberry cookies and cream.

Related Maps