Chicago’s 9 Essential Southside Restaurants

1. Chuck’s Southern Comfort Cafe


Ah, Southern Comfort Food. Nothing sends us to a food coma quite as fast, but we’ll never stop loving it. Some places that are further away from the south just can’t nail down the authentic tastes that we love and know, but Chuck’s has it down to a science. Whether you’re looking for Southern Fried Catfish or some Crawfish Etouffee, you’ll be able to find it there. There are a lot of epic things on their menu, but that catfish just can’t be beat. We’ll be coming back for seconds real soon.

2. Top Notch Beefburgers


Credit: Burger Conquest

Is it possible for a burger to be better than homemade? Well, you wouldn’t think so, but that won’t be the case after you chomp into a few bites of these delicious sex burgers. Not sure exactly where that came from, but, yeah… they’re amazing. It’s pretty simple. Just order the quarter-pounder with cheese, add some bacon, and you’ve got yourself something that words cannot describe. What are you waiting for? Go get that burger!

3. Tio Luis Tacos


Tio Luis’ is one of the true hidden gems of Chicago. When it comes to tacos, few can even come close to the authentic, flavorful tacos from this place. In fact, we’d say that they’re easily the most underrated Mexican food in the entire city. The tortas are extra huge, the tacos are bursting with flavor, and even the sides are as authentic as it gets. Don’t forget to grab yourself a margarita while you’re at it, too.

4. Garifuna Flava


If it caught Guy Fieri’s attention, you know there has to be something special about this place. First off, where else are you going to find such exotic food around the area? We’d never had Belizean before stopping in here, but we’re definitely hooked now. We’re sure it’s going to be a lot to take in, but we’re here to go ahead and lay out your whole meal for you. Start off with the Conch Fritters, move on to the Ox Tail Stew, and pair it with one of their unique Belizean Long Islands. This was a meal that we’ll never forget.

5. Hearty Cafe


Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, and no place in the South Side provides a more wholesome, hearty breakfast than Hearty Cafe. Not only that, but the waitstaff is so friendly, and they’ll definitely get your day off to a good start. While they have plenty of options, you have to give all of their Signature Pancakes a try. Our personal favorite was the Dutch Baby Apple Pancake. The warm cinnamon, paired with a cup of joe, is the perfect start to any day.


6. Fat Johnnies


Credit: Bucketlist Backpacker

Anyone who ventures into Fat Johnnies learns quickly that they’ve been going to the wrong places for hot dogs for pretty much their entire life. A staple in the South Side for decades now, they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their dogs, but they’ve kept it simple. If you haven’t tried the Super Fat One yet, you have yet to live. We’re not just saying that, either. This place is well worth going out of your way for.

7. Yassa African Restaurant


Anyone in the mood to try something new or a little outside the box? Well, we were too, and that’s exactly why we stopped into Yassa’s. While some of you have probably tried Ethiopian food from time to time, the food at this place is based on Western African traditions, Senegal in particular. The spices were unique on the Brochette Chicken, which had a special sauce on it that added a little something extra. While the main course was excellent, it was the dessert that we found to be delicious. Thiakry is something you will rarely find in America, but it’s a real treat when you do.

8. Lem’s BBQ


In less than two weeks, Lem’s will have been serving their delicious BBQ to the city for sixty years! They’ll be celebrating by teaming up with Acts of Love for a book drive on 25th. So, you already know that this place cares about the community, which should win you over automatically, but it doesn’t stop there. Sixty years of experience can be tasted in every order of wings and ribs you order. The in-house BBQ sauce is succulent and sweet, making the ribs that much better. People are so addicted to this sauce that they actually order it by the gallon. How epic is that?

9. Rosangela’s Pizzeria


Yeah, yeah, this is Chicago, but sometimes you don’t want a giant, deep-dish pizza. Sometimes you want a pizza that’s thin-crusted and delicious. That’s where Rosangela’s comes in. It’s rare that we say a sauce makes the pizza, but this is one of those cases. Plus it’s not unreasonably priced like a lot of the places around the area. You can get a high-quality, one-topping pizza for under $12 here. That’s a steal for what you get. Oh, and don’t forget to grab yourself one of their delicious slices of Tiramisu before you head out. It’s heavenly.