Food & Drink

Y’all Ready for This? 11 Must-Try Southern Eateries in Chicago!

If there's one thing Chicago is known for, it's the abundance of delicious food options. From deep-dish pizza to hot dogs, the Windy City has it all.

However, when it comes to Southern cuisine, it can be difficult to find the real deal. Luckily, there are a few spots in the city that offer up some of the best Southern food you'll ever taste.

When it comes to Southern cooking, there are a few staples that are a must-try. Fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, collard greens, and mac and cheese are just a few of the dishes that make up the heart and soul of Southern cuisine.

And if you're looking for authentic Southern food in Chicago, you'll want to head to one of the city's hidden gems.

But what makes Southern food so special? For starters, it's all about the flavors. Southern cooking is known for its bold, savory flavors that are sure to satisfy any appetite.

And it's not just the flavors that make Southern food so great, it's also the comfort it provides. There's nothing quite like a warm plate of fried chicken and mac and cheese on a cold Chicago day.

So, whether you're a Chicagoan looking for a taste of the South, or a tourist looking for a new food experience, this guide will help you find some of the best places for Southern food in the city.

From hole-in-the-wall joints to upscale restaurants, there's something for everyone who loves Southern cuisine.

1. Wishbone

161 N Jefferson St, Chicago, IL 60661 (Google Maps)

Wishbone is a relaxed spot that serves Southern food with a Cajun spin.

The atmosphere is cozy and the service is friendly.

The menu has a variety of options and the portions are generous. The food is well-prepared and flavorful.

Wishbone is a great place to go for a casual meal with friends or family.

2. Pearl's Southern Comfort

Pearl's Southern Comfort
5352 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640 (Google Maps)

Pearl's Southern Comfort offers authentic southern cuisine that is sure to satisfy. With an impressive variety of dishes, including barbecue and craft cocktails, Pearl's is a perfect spot for a night out with friends or a casual dinner with family.

The menu features Cajun-Creole comfort fare that will make your taste buds dance, including the Blackened Catfish meal and the Jelly Pork Chop.

The cozy and inviting environment, with brick walls and down-home decor, adds to the overall experience. The service is friendly and knowledgeable, making for a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience.

Pearl's Southern Comfort is a must-visit spot for anyone looking for delicious southern cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.

3. Luella's Southern Kitchen

Luella's Southern Kitchen
4609 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Google Maps)

Luella's Southern Kitchen is a must-visit for anyone looking for authentic Southern cuisine.

The flavors are well-seasoned and the dishes are generously portioned. The fried chicken is crispy and moist, while the salmon croquettes are a standout.

The gumbo, shrimp and grits, and collard greens are all delicious.

The staff is welcoming and the service is great. It's a relaxed space perfect for indulging in classic Southern fare.

4. Roux

1055 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615 (Google Maps)

Roux is a charming southern restaurant that offers delicious food and a stylish atmosphere.

With a NOLA flair, they serve up classic southern dishes like shrimp and grits, catfish, and chicken and waffles.

The vintage-chic decor adds to the dining experience, making it a great spot for a casual meal with friends or family.

The staff is friendly and the service is quick, so you won't have to wait long to enjoy your meal. If you're in the mood for some southern comfort food, Roux is definitely worth a visit.

5. Reclaimed Bar & Restaurant

Reclaimed Bar & Restaurant
3655 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 (Google Maps)

Reclaimed Bar & Restaurant is a funky Southern American eatery and bar that serves up delicious Southern-accented American eats with craft cocktails.

The restaurant is made from reclaimed materials, which gives it a cozy and charming feel.

The menu features unique appetizers such as sweet and spicy bacon and deviled eggs, along with entrees like lamb burgers and venison loin medallions. The scallops and grits are a must-try.

The bar has an extensive record collection and turntable, and live music is featured on Fridays. The staff is friendly and attentive, making for an enjoyable dining experience.

6. Feed

2803 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Google Maps)

Feed is a small, unassuming joint that serves up some of the best southern-style chicken and sides in the city.

The menu is focused on classic comfort food, with a variety of delicious entrees and specials to choose from. The side dishes are a standout, with a great selection of options that are all delicious.

The atmosphere is fun and lively, with a kitschy decor and friendly staff.

Whether you're in the mood for a hearty brunch or a satisfying dinner, Feed is a great choice for anyone looking for delicious southern food at an affordable price.

7. House of Blues Restaurant & Bar

House Of Blues Restaurant & Bar
329 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Google Maps)

House of Blues Restaurant & Bar offers a unique dining experience with live music entertainment in a rock- and blues-themed atmosphere.

The menu features Southern dishes such as po' boys and jambalaya, as well as a great selection of drinks. The bar staff and wait staff are fantastic, providing attentive service.

The shrimp and fried grits in Chipotle cream sauce is a must-try dish. The venue can get crowded during sold-out shows, but the inclusive environment is perfect for a group party.

Highly recommended for anyone looking for great food and music in a casual setting.

8. Cleo's Southern Cuisine

Cleo's Southern Cuisine
4248 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60653 (Google Maps)

Cleo's Southern Cuisine is a hidden gem for those seeking great soul food.

The food is seasoned to perfection and full of flavor, making it feel like a home-cooked meal. The staff is friendly and welcoming, providing excellent customer service.

The portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable. The restaurant is cozy, with limited seating, but the food is worth the wait.

If you're looking for a great southern food experience, Cleo's Southern Cuisine is a must-try.

9. Big Jones

Big Jones
5347 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Google Maps)

Big Jones is a must-visit for anyone looking for authentic Southern cuisine.

With a menu that features classics like gumbo and mac and cheese alongside unique dishes like sweet potato dumplings, there's something for everyone.

The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, and the service is top-notch. Whether you're looking for a hearty brunch or a romantic dinner, Big Jones has got you covered.

Don't miss out on their excellent selection of cocktails and bourbon.

10. Ina Mae

Ina Mae
1415 N Wood St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Google Maps)

Ina Mae is a hidden gem serving up delicious Southern cuisine with a New Orleans twist.

The portions are generous and the food is bursting with flavor.

The fried seafood tower is a must-try, and the biscuits are buttery perfection.

The staff is friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere is lively with live music. Don't miss out on this unique dining experience.

11. Pearl's Place Restaurant

Pearl's Place Restaurant
3901 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60653 (Google Maps)

Pearl's Place Restaurant is a must-visit for anyone looking for authentic Southern food.

The buffet is loaded with a variety of delicious options, including pancakes, waffles, grits, eggs, build-your-own omelets, potatoes, ham, bacon, turkey sausage, salmon croquettes, fried chicken, mac and cheese, catfish nuggets, and more.

The staff is attentive and focused on customer satisfaction, making for a pleasant dining experience.

The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, and the prices are reasonable. Whether you're a local or just passing through, Pearl's Place Restaurant is not to be missed.