Dining Out 1 minute 14 August 2018

Chicago’s Best Southern Restaurants

Here’s where to put some South in your mouth.


Fried chicken, shrimp n’ grits, collard greens and macaroni and cheese—these classic, mouth-watering Southern staples can be found in Chicagoland’s sea of restaurants.

Here’s where to go.

Big Jones

Designation: The Plate

What It Is: Chef/co-owner Paul Fehribach—a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance—applies both his memories growing up in Southern Indiana and passion for history to his Southern fare.

What Our Inspectors Say: “At Big Jones, guests are greeted with a ‘Guide to Good Drinking’: a menu that includes barrel-aged punch selections and an impressive lineup of Bourbon and whiskey. Between that, the high bar tables, and plush velvet touches, this is a guaranteed good time. Yes, it’s no front porch in Louisiana, but it’s certainly close.”

What to Order: Homemade pimento cheese with house-cured Tasso ham, crawfish étoufee and corn flour-breaded Mississippi catfish and grits.

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Luella’s Southern Kitchen

Designation: Bib Gourmand

What It Is: Chef/owner Darnell Reed’s ode to his Mississippi-born great-grandmother. (And he does her justice.)

What Our Inspectors Say: “The no-frills, order-at-the-counter spot is simply adorned with genuinely welcoming service that only adds to the charm.”

What to Order: “Every spoonful of Luella's andouille and chicken gumbo is one to remember, thanks to a roux that's been cooked for five (count 'em) hours,” state inspectors. More not-to-be-missed items include catfish with Creole sauce, smoked jerk chicken macaroni and cheese and buttermilk fried chicken with collard greens.

Pearl’s Southern Comfort

Designation: The Plate

What It Is: Named for his great grandmother, owner Danny Beck serves up Cajun and Creole cuisine to the folks of Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood.

What Our Inspectors Say: “Its enormous arched windows open up to a completely revamped 100-year-old room, featuring long exposed ceiling beams, whitewashed brick, dark slate walls, and soft leather chairs. But even with all that design swag, the main draw at Pearl's Southern Comfort is still the food.”

What to Order: Creole cornbread with hot sauce-honey butter, crawfish cheesecake, blackened catfish with four-cheese macaroni and cheese and a double-cut pork chop served with grilled sweet potato and red beans and rice.

Hero image courtesy of Pearl's Southern Comfort via Facebook.

Dining Out

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