20 Reasons to Visit Chicago's South Side, According to South Siders

Published On 02/24/2016 Published On 02/24/2016
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1. Calumet Fisheries 3259 E 95th St, Chicago, IL 60617

It's no wonder Calumet Fisheries, on the far south side of Chicago, was featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Open since the 1940s, the family-owned seafood shack is one of the only smokehouses left in Chicago that smokes fish naturally over a wood fire. It offers an endless variety of smoked fish -- from salmon, sturgeon, and white fish to trout, catfish, and shrimp. Not to mention, its fried stuff is pretty good too.

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2. Weber's Bakery 7055 W Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60638

Located in Garfield Ridge, Weber’s Bakery is one of the oldest family-owned bakeries in Chicago. Though there are plenty of bakeries in Chicago alone, Business Insider named this one the best in all of Illinois. It offers seasonal treats, high-quality wedding cakes, weekly specials, and signature items like Polish kolacky and raisin hoska.

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3. Schaller's Pump 3714 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60609

In continuous operation since 1881, Schaller's Pump is Chicago's oldest bar. A former speakeasy, the Bridgeport tavern changed ownership at the end of Prohibition when George Schaller bought it and changed the name to what it is now, a play on "Schiller's pump," a device used to pump beer between breweries. The beer bar is a regular hangout for an unusual mix of local politicians and White Sox fans due to it being across the street from the district's Democratic Party headquarters and a short walk from U.S. Cellular Field.

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4. MISS LEE’S GOOD FOOD 203 E Garfield Blvd, Chicago, IL 60637

This takeout-only soul food spot has you covered with delectable dishes like fried chicken, smothered chops, fresh potato salad and buttermilk pie. Check out this hidden gem of homemade meals that rival your gram’s. Ms. Lee’s is a menu-by-day offerings only, so if you find yourself on a day there’s gumbo, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. But the food is only part of the draw: As a star veteran of the city's restaurant community, Ms. Lee is dearly admired on Chicago’s South Side.

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5. Guide's Sports Bar & Grill 5544 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60638

With a Chicagoan thin style pizza recipe over 25 years old, homemade chili, and jumbo wings, “Bar food” doesn’t do this menu justice. Hang out or get psyched up for game day in this neighborhood bar with cold beer, good friends and a dozen big screens. But seriously… don’t forget to try the wings.

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6. Ricobene's 252 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60616

This family-owned Italian-American counter-serve is a South Side staple for its pizza, subs, wings, and, most famously, its breaded steak sandwich. Ricobene's occupies a large food-court like space with fluorescent lighting and minimal ambience, but you're not here for the decor, you're here for the fried skirt steak covered in mounds of warm mozzarella and soaked in red sauce on a French roll. Sit and stay or take your order to go, but whatever you do, be prepared for a messy meal.

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7. Cafe Jumping Bean 1439 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Part-coffee house, part-art gallery, part-central neighborhood meeting place for the past 20 years, this warm and inviting Pilsen space not only opens your eyes with fancy caffeinated drinks (like white satin mochas and iced Thai coffees), but also opens your mind with some of the best revolving art demonstrations in the area. You be silly to ignore the fresh and plentiful food selection here, too. When you go, get a focaccia pizza with "the works," a black bean burger or whatever specialty cake they've prepared that day.

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8. Valois 1518 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615

This cafeteria-style diner has been around since 1921 and is a favorite of Hyde Park’s most famous resident, President Obama. Valois serves quintessential greasy spoon American food all day long, but breakfast is the highlight. The menu includes a list of Obama's favorites, and Favorite #1 (NY steak & eggs) comes highly recommended. The counter-service spot is cheap but cash-only.

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9. Fox's Restaurant & Pub 9240 S Cicero Ave, Oak Lawn, IL 60453

Fox's has been a hot spot in Beverly for about 50 years, and it serves the best thin crust pizza available in Chicago. Beverly locals will even argue that Fox's has some of the best thin crust pizza in the entire world. You should stop by and taste for yourself.

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10. Luversia's (Old Izola's) , Chicago, IL

What do Chatham locals love about Luversia's? Their delicious Southern soul food, of course! It reminds locals of the similar food served up by Izola's and is a popular hot spot in Chicago's south side.

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11. Mexico Steakhouse 2983 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

The Mexican Steak House is part steakhouse, part Mexican joint, and every bit as delicious as you would imagine. Known for their steak and tacos, the Mexican Steak House has a unique menu featuring such things as a traditional Mexican breakfast consisting of eggs, tortillas, rice, and refried beans.

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12. Joy Yee Noodle Shop 2139 S China Pl, Chicago, IL 60616

Joy Yee is one of the best Chinese spots in Chinatown, with both a sit down option and a take out window for convenient dining. Their entree options are seemingly endless, so don't feel bad if it takes you a while to read the menu and decide what to eat. It happens to almost everyone who dines here!