CHATHAM — Chicago Black Restaurant Week is upon us, with more than twice as many participants since it began.
Created by public relations guru Lauran Smith, the restaurant week’s mission is to introduce foodies to Black-owned eateries in the city and suburbs. What started in 2016 with 17 restaurants has grown to 37, and 10 of them are on the South Side. Here’s a roundup of some spots you should check out before the end of the event Sunday:
Flammin, 641 E. 75th St: This is Flammin’s second year participating in Chicago Black Restaurant Week, and for owner Ernest Taylor, the reason is simple: Circulating Black dollars back into the community is a win-win for everyone. This week, Flammin is offering entrees like shrimp and grits and chicken alfredo for $15.20, and each meal comes with a free glass of Kool-aid. Open 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Closed Wednesdays.
Surf’s Up South Shore, 2236 E 71st St: For restaurant week, diners have three options to choose from: a half-dozen Hennessy wings for $9.20, and a shrimp dinner or catfish dinner (fried or grilled) with fries and dinner roll for $9.20. All CBRW orders come with free fried biscuits. Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, 1368 1/2 E 53rd St.: One of the more popular vegan-friendly venues since its April 2019 opening, Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat is offering a vegan Gumbo dish and $10 pizza puffs all week long. For owner Laricia Chandler, it’s about supporting the Black community while introducing exciting, healthier alternatives. Diners can receive 20 percent off their total bill for mentioning Chicago Black Restaurant Week. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, and 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m Saturday.
The Soul Shack, 1368 E. 53rd St.: Right next door to Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, The Soul Shack is Eric Nance and Keisha Rucker’s homage to soul food. While fan favorites include soul rolls (cornish hen, mac and cheese, and candied yams prepared like an egg roll) and the lollipop lamb chops, the restaurant is offering healthier options for Chicago Black Restaurant Week, like chicken salad and a $9.99 Salmon Soul Bowl lunch special from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m weekdays. Patrons can also get 20 percent off the bill for mentioning Chicago Black Restaurant Week. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Mikkey’s Retro Grill, 5319 S. Hyde Park Blvd.: Another Nance-owned chain offering a twist on diner fare like burgers, fries, and shakes. For Chicago Black Restaurant Week, Mikkey’s is offering 10 percent off of Joe’s Triple Challenge, and 20 percent off the total bill for mentioning restaurant week. Open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday.
Litehouse Whole Food Grill, 1660 E. 55th St.: The health-conscious eatery has created a special mango jerk chicken to commemorate Chicago Black Restaurant Week, and is also offering patrons 20 percent off their total bill. Open 11 a.m.-9:45 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, and 7:30 a.m.-midnight Saturday.
South Shore Brew Coffee House, 7101 S. Yates Blvd.: This is South Shore Brew’s first year participating in Chicago Black Restaurant Week since opening in November 2018, and regulars swear by the chai latte and sandwich wraps. Folks are encouraged to drop by and check out their daily specials. Open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily.
The Woodlawn, 1200 E. 79th St.: The Chatham pop-up/restaurant incubator is offering catfish and grits, chicken and waffles, Italian beef flatbread and jerk chicken flatbread. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
Venue 75, 125 W. 75th St.: Chicago Black Restaurant Week specials include Bookie’s Kickin’ Chicken Quesadillas, and Jay’s Wild Wings (lemon pepper, bbq, sweet chili, buffalo) for $7.20; Jai’s Buffalo Chicken Rolls, Queen’s Italian Turkey, and Shrimp 75 for $10.20, and a Vegan 75 Salad (mixed greens & veggies, tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing for $10.20). Open 4 p.m.-10 p.m Tuesday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, and 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.
The Good Life Soul Food Cafe, 11142 S. Halsted St.: This is the South Side restaurant’s first year participating in Chicago Black Restaurant Week. The cafe’s received rave reviews for its smothered chicken and mac ‘n cheese. Restaurant week specials may change, so people are encouraged to stop by. Open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.