Chicago is a city that is known for its diverse cuisine. From deep-dish pizza to hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, there's something for everyone.
However, if you're looking for a meal that is hearty, comforting, and full of flavor, soul food is the way to go.
Soul food is a cuisine that originated in the African American community in the southern United States. It's characterized by dishes that are rich in flavor, often featuring ingredients like butter, sugar, and salt.
Some of the classic dishes you'll find in a soul food restaurant include fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread.
In Chicago, there are plenty of soul food restaurants to choose from. Whether you're in the mood for a plate of smothered pork chops or a bowl of gumbo, you're sure to find something that satisfies your craving.
These restaurants range from hole-in-the-wall joints to upscale establishments, and they all have their own unique take on the cuisine.
In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the best soul food restaurants in Chicago. We'll explore what makes each restaurant special, highlight some of their top dishes, and give you a sense of what to expect when you visit.
So, whether you're a born-and-raised Chicagoan or just passing through, read on to discover some of the best soul food that the city has to offer.
1. Roy's Soul Food
Roy's Soul Food is a neighborhood restaurant that serves up delicious home-cooked soul food.
The portions are generous, and the prices are fair. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and the staff is attentive and welcoming.
The menu is simple, but the food is seasoned to perfection and tastes just like it should. Whether you're in the mood for breakfast or dinner, Roy's has something for everyone.
If you're looking for a no-nonsense spot to enjoy some down-home American cuisine, Roy's Soul Food is definitely worth a visit.
2. Ina Mae
Ina Mae is a soul food restaurant that offers a twist of New Orleans cuisine. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere with NOLA vibes and live music.
The food is flavorful and the portions are generous. The fried chicken and biscuits are a must-try.
The gumbo and beignets are also highly recommended. The waitstaff is friendly and attentive.
The restaurant has a retro Southern-styled bar and grill feel with specialty retail products available for purchase. Ina Mae is a great spot to enjoy a night out with friends or a date night.
3. Flavor's Southern Cooking
Flavor's Southern Cooking is a must-visit restaurant for anyone looking for authentic and delicious soul food.
The menu offers a variety of mouth-watering dishes that are freshly prepared and bursting with flavor. The staff is friendly and attentive, ensuring that every customer has a great dining experience.
The restaurant is clean and has a welcoming atmosphere.
Whether you're a fan of classic dishes like fried chicken and collard greens, or you're looking to try something new, Flavor's Southern Cooking has something for everyone.
4. The New Look Restaurant
The New Look Restaurant is a casual storefront restaurant and bar that serves up delicious soul food and Southern classics. The atmosphere is lively and the staff is friendly, creating a warm and welcoming environment for guests.
The food is made to order and seasoned well, with standout dishes like the soul tower (meatloaf) and the mac and cheese.
The drinks are affordable and the bar is well-stocked. It's a great spot to unwind and listen to good music while enjoying some great food and cocktails.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for a relaxed spot for soul food and drinks.
5. Chef Daddy's
Chef Daddy's is a soul food restaurant that serves up delicious, homestyle food at affordable prices.
The portions are large and the flavors are on point. The staff is friendly and the service is fast.
The restaurant is small, but the food is worth the wait. The mac and cheese is a must-try, and the baked chicken is a fan favorite.
Chef Daddy's is a hidden gem that is sure to satisfy your cravings for soul food.
6. Bronzeville Soul
Bronzeville Soul is a soul food restaurant that serves delicious meals with impeccable seasoning.
The menu changes daily, providing a variety of options for customers to choose from. The staff is friendly and welcoming, ensuring great customer service.
The restaurant is clean and spacious, making it a comfortable place to dine in. The food is served hot and fresh, and the portions are generous.
Bronzeville Soul is a must-visit for anyone looking for authentic soul food that will not disappoint.
7. Quitas Soul Food Kitchen & Catering
If you're in the mood for some delicious soul food, Quitas Soul Food Kitchen & Catering is definitely worth a visit.
The food is fresh and bursting with flavor, making it the perfect spot for a satisfying meal.
The customer service is top-notch, ensuring that you'll feel welcomed and satisfied from the moment you walk in.
Quitas Soul Food Kitchen & Catering is a must-visit for anyone looking for a taste of authentic soul food.
8. Johnna's Cafe
Johnna's Cafe is a soul food restaurant that offers excellent food and great service. The portions are honest, and the prices are reasonable.
The owner is welcoming and naturally good at serving his patrons. The food is cooked fresh when you order, and the staff is friendly.
The fried catfish is to die for, and the smothered pork chops are perfectly seasoned and absolutely delicious.
The atmosphere is comfortable and inviting, making it an ideal place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you're in the area, Johnna's Cafe is worth checking out for some traditional and solid customer care.
9. Chicago Food On The Run
Chicago Food On The Run is a soul food restaurant that offers delectable and delicious meals. The staff is sweet, helpful, and very polite.
The chicken wings and sweet potato salmon are exceptional, while the appetizers are all great. The portions are small but more filling than expected.
The restaurant also offers catering services for special events. The food is well seasoned and cooked from the soul.
The only issue is that they run out of desserts too quickly. The restaurant has a modern appearance, but the food is old school soul food.
10. The Good Life Soul Food Cafe
The Good Life Soul Food Cafe serves up delicious soul food dishes that are sure to satisfy.
The portions are generous and the prices are reasonable, making it a great value for money. The menu is well-seasoned and the food is cooked to perfection, just like home.
The staff is friendly and helpful, and the dining area is clean and spacious. The only downside is the parking lot, which needs improvement.
But overall, The Good Life Soul Food Cafe is a must-visit for anyone who loves soul food.
11. Outside the Box Carryout and Catering Restaurant
Outside the Box Carryout and Catering Restaurant is a must-visit for anyone craving authentic soul food.
The restaurant offers a variety of dishes that are both delicious and satisfying. The mac and cheese is a standout dish, and the shrimp and grits appetizer is a must-try.
The customer service is excellent, with friendly staff who make you feel right at home. The portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable.
The restaurant also offers catering services for events and parties. Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a full meal, Outside the Box Carryout and Catering Restaurant is a great choice for soul food lovers.
12. CheSa's Bistro & Bar
CheSa's Bistro & Bar is a must-visit for anyone craving authentic soul food. The restaurant offers a variety of dishes, including gluten-free options, that are bursting with flavor and cooked to perfection.
The portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable, making it an excellent value for money.
The ambiance is relaxing, and the decor is elegant, adding to the dining experience. The staff is friendly and attentive, ensuring that customers feel welcome and satisfied.
Whether you're in the mood for brunch, lunch, or dinner, CheSa's Bistro & Bar is the perfect spot to indulge in some soulful delights.
13. Soul & Smoke – Avondale
Soul & Smoke – Avondale is a fantastic soul food and barbecue restaurant that offers great variety and quality food. The delivery order arrives hot and on time, and the food is well-packed and organized.
The jerk chicken, cajun veggies & grits, and BBQ are all delicious, and the sides like mac & cheese, sweet potato, and cornbread muffins are tasty.
The restaurant also has a good number of vegetarian options. The outdoor seating next to the river and surrounded by trees is very pleasant.
The service is superior, and the selection is excellent. Highly recommended for a satisfying meal.
Soule is a cozy restaurant that serves modernized soul and Creole food.
The staff is friendly and attentive. The decor is tasteful and the music is great.
The fried chicken and lamb chops are a must-try. The food is reasonably priced and served quickly.
Reservations are a must due to limited seating. BYOB is allowed with a cork fee.
15. Oooh Wee It Is
Oooh Wee It Is is a soul food restaurant that serves up classic Southern comfort food.
This casual venue offers a variety of dishes including burgers, seafood, grits, and meat dishes. The staff is friendly and professional, providing prompt service to their guests.
The portions are large and the food is delicious, with the lamb chops being a standout dish.
The atmosphere is laid-back and welcoming, making it a great spot to enjoy a satisfying meal with friends and family.