So me and my husband are walking around in the West Loop for no apparent reason (this means I don’t remember why we were in the West Loop) and he happened to see that the Red Eye, a local free Chicago paper, was featuring Bronzeville. The title actually said “Weekend Goals” with Bronzeville underneath it. I was impressed and intrigued. He grabbed one for me and said here you go. And I knew I needed to write about this. I was really excited to see what was inside and honestly I was a little nervous that they would have some of my blog ideas inside. I had nothing to worry about.
Basically I was insecure. But whatever – I’m not the only person in the world who can write about Bronzeville – I guess…
So anywayz here’s my thoughts on the feature:
THE REDEYE COVER
One I love love love the cover they choose for this. It is two black men sitting on a bench smiling at Park 43 in Bronzeville. They don’t look like “scary black man” but they look like they are having fun. It looks authentic and I like it. I feel like I am looking at my cousins when I look at this cover which is a good thing. Nothing threatening. If I was a person who had not only negative ideas about the south side but also black man this cover just might humanize both things for me.
REDEYE RUNDOWN SECTION
Then you open to the first page of the RedEye and right away you see an image of what looks like my aunt making sweet potato pies on Sunday afternoon. Also a good thing. I’m uncertain of this image necessary makes me want to come to Bronzeville but it does make me want some soul food and especially some caramel cake. Maybe it’s the placement of the picture.
I mean it’s right next to two white women – one that’s a singer (lili K) and one that loves her big voluptuous boobs (breast augmentation ad). Not necessarily sure my eyes are going to be drawn to Auntie Charlene in her white apron but hey you win some you lose some. Is this page really meant to be thoroughly read anyway. Redeye, You tell me.
THE FEATURE SECTION
Once I open up to the feature the first thing you see is this picture. Dude, one the food looks nasty to me. Two is that a hoof and fish brain? And three I think the girl is smizing (smiling with her eyes) but I’m not entirely sure. Honestly, as someone who lives in Bronzeville this Yassa Restaurant is not somewhere that I would willing want to go to. First of all the location has changed like three times. Yassa used to be a BBQ restaurant and then it was Rick’s Munchies Cafe (the name says it all) and I don’t even want to know what it was before that. So because this location has changed into so many restaurants in the last 5 years it made me weary of Yassa. I will try it now though and not be judgmental. It is Senegalese food and Issa Rae is ½ Senegalese and since she is my gurl I will give Yassa a try. Also Yassa had 130 Google Reviews and had a 4.7 out 5 stars. So it can’t be all bad.
RESTAURANTS FEATURED IN EAT SECTION
Peaches – Now I will say when you go in Peaches the restaurant is clean and decorated nicely. It has the appearance of a well run establishment and actually kind of gives you hope as a resident of Bronzeville that our neighborhood might get better. The food is ok. I mean its not worth the long wait times to that it sometimes has. I only reserve that long of a wait for another exceptional Black-owned business that unfortunately on the Northside called, Batters & Berries (2748 N Lincoln Ave). But Peaches gets the job done. It is more catered to the Bad and Bougie demographic of the southside so to them this works.It also has clever names for it’s menu options which make things sound more delicious than they actually are. I mean who doesn’t want to try 7-UP pancakes? This is like one of the best black auntie cakes ever.
I gotta say Peaches was kinda pricey when I went. I mean if you look at the picture they choose for Peaches with those pancakes do they really look like nothing you’ve ever had before? I’m mean really? Be honest with yourself.
Pearl’s Place and Roscoe Chicken and Waffles – If you want something not as “immaculate” then I would check out Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and definitely check out Pearl’s Place. These both give the feel of black owned restaurants, basic decorations simple menus but consistently good food. Me and my husband used to walk to Pearls almost every Saturday for their breakfast buffet when we first started shacking up. We rationalized that we were “walking” the food off. Sure, yea right.
But that was like 7 years ago and the same waiters and cooks are still there. Now don’t get me wrong Pearl’s has a grimy element which makes it come in second to Peaches and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and this is due to the fact that it is literally attached to a Motel that puts the HOE-in-TEL if you catch my drift, called the Amber Inn.
Fiends and Tricks are definitely getting their licks in there if you know what I mean. So that really hurts Pearls. The customer service is great and they even have the option for you to purchase a Turducken (turkey, duck, chicken somehow magically mixed together) at the cash register. But if you want a great soul food buffet and even breakfast buffet I mean check it out. Why the Red Eye choose a random Jumbo Fried Shrimp picture to describe the only soul food breakfast and dinner buffet in Bronzeville is completely beyond me.
If I had to make rankings, it would be Pearl’s Place, Roscoe Chicken and Waffles and then Peaches. If you are already a little scared of the southside and the Blacks then Peaches is always going to come in first. But like everything else, it is all about location, location, location. Peaches is winning with that.
Now some of the other restaurants that were listed I can’t really comment on because I haven’t been to them yet. So I will give them a shot. That’s why I appreciated this article because it opened me up to things that I didn’t even know were in my neighborhood. Outside of not mentioning Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles they also didn’t mention Honey 1 BBQ at 746 E 43rd Street. This place has got it going on and it’s gets the job done for BBQ close to home. It is cash only so maybe the writer of this piece only had the young Debit so that’s why she didn’t mention it. I get it boo.
Secondly the author didn’t mention, Ain’t She Sweet Cafe located at 526 E 43rd St, Chicago, IL 60653, which is right next to Sip N Savor Cafe. Now I get why this restaurant didn’t make the cut. I just went there Saturday and I literally waiting in line for like 20 minutes. Not so sweet. And then waited another 25 minutes for a Black Walnut Milkshake. Again sweetness reduced. My shake was good though but ya’ll need to get it together. (Review on this establishment to come in a later post.)
THE DRINK SECTION
Now all of us like a little dranky drank now and then. Especially in the summer. Tac’s Cocktail Lounge, Sip N Savor, Room 43, and Good Times Sports Bar were featured in this Red Eye. I can’t comment on Tacs and me and my husband considered Room 43 for a potential wedding reception venue so I got nothin but love for them. But Emma, my sweet sweet Emma why in the world did you feature Good Times Sports Bar? Was it because it is close to the green line? Is because it is like the only lit up establishment in Bronzeville? Is it because it is across the street from one of the most ratchet McDonalds I know. ( I mean I think a fiend took my order – literally and figuratively there) Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Girl, No?!?
Good Times is like above a liquor store that is next to this random Video Game Store that is right across the street from a Check Cashing Place where mad drug dealers, fiends, prostitutes and who knows what else reside. Now maybe it’s not that bad and I am being judgemental. I mean Good Times slogan is…It’s Always a Good Time at Good Times. I guess that sums it up. Maybe once you get inside – if you get inside – you actually do have a good time. I don’t think I would risk it. I went on their Facebook Page and for some crazy reason they had no pictures. I imagine why? They had no About Page, No Events. I mean c’mon.
I think if you are looking for a good drink and good music you would have a better SAFER time at Norman’s Bistro located at 1001 E 43rd St, Chicago, IL 60653 but i think they consider themselves to be in the Kenwood neighborhood even though according to the map in the Red Eye edition they are still in Bronzeville. Or if you wanna go somewhere that is in Bronzeville and actually really close to Good Times check out Truth Restaurant located at 56 E Pershing Rd. I mean the owner was literally on her own reality TV show called Bringing Up Ballers about moms raising star basketball players in Chicago on Lifetime – which I really enjoyed. So it can’t be no worse than Good Times.
Most of the things featured in the DO Section I still have to do. Which is good for me. I have been to Ellis Park numerous times and I really REALLY love it. The energy there is fantastic. There are groups doing personal training, flag football games, soccer games and people just trying to get “snatched” – as they say. It is motivating. It really is a park that should be expanded in my opinion. But I will talk about that in a later post. I like that they featured the Ida B Wells-Barnett House. That is something on my to do list to check out and that definitely does add to the history of Bronzeville. Would’ve been cool if Southside Community Art Center was also featured.
They have been around since 1940. Just sayin. But since I have not been in there myself there might be a good reason my ol girl Emma did not include this. I love the Gallery Guichard feature. They truly are a place everyone should check out and they are sometimes featured in the Bronzeville Summer Nights events hosted by Quad Community Development Corporation.
I am uncertain why the 31st Street Marina was not featured as something to do. I mean it is a beach and they have food, great music and a park for the kids. I mean I have even seen someone doing a cycling class here to House Music. Now that is truly something to do! It is something definitely worth checking out and something to DO in Bronzeville. But once again with these weird neighborhood lines within Chicago maybe it is not considered to be apart of the Bronzeville neighborhood. I think it is but maybe it is called Douglass. I can’t keep track.
Overall I really appreciated this feature in the Red Eye. You gotta start somewhere. And also they did an plug for Larenz Tate and Laurence Fishburne’s (my mom’s baby daddy) podcast, entitled Bronzeville, written by Academy Award nominee Josh Olson, which is about the struggles of residents of Bronzeville in the 1940s. Now I have a new list of things to do, see, eat and hear.
Thank you, RedEye. Thank you very much. Your feature on Bronzeville has given me life.
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