Photo courtesy of Soulé [Facebook]

What’s up, people! NBA All-Star Weekend is kicking off in Chicago on Feb. 12. And while we’re a city that loves sports, we’re also a city that loves and takes pride in our food. Chicago is most known for its deep dish-style pizza and Italian beef sandwiches dipped with giardiniera peppers. For NBA All-Star Weekend, though, we want to make sure all you newbies are having the most authentic food experience possible. 

Keep in mind, we couldn’t include every single eatery on this list, but we wanted to pen a quick rundown of spots you should check out while in town for NBA All-Star Weekend. We hope our Black Chicago food journey is one that will leave your jaws joyful.


First things first: it is cold in Chicago; so rooftop brunch parties won’t be an option for All-Star Weekend. The go-to wintertime Chi brunch place is Batter and Berries, a popular North Side café with BYOB. Some people say Batter and Berries is just a french toast spot, so why go? Well, this place doesn’t serve your everyday, regular old french toast. Batter and Berries is best known for its signature French Toast Flight, made from locally baked brioche styled with four different toppings: strawberries, blueberries, lemons and — our favorite — caramel. 

Photo courtesy of Batter and Berries [Facebook]

People travel from all over the Chicagoland area for Batter and Berries. So make sure you get there early; otherwise, you’ll be sitting in the limited-seat wait area or sitting in your car waiting for the hostess to call your party. 

Unlike other breakfast spots, Batter and Berries puts a creative spin on all of their food; their specials board, which changes weekly, includes savory brown sugar bourbon pork chops and jambalaya omelets. All omelets are accompanied by fresh cheese-crusted hash browns to complete the plate. Besides, it’s not a true brunch plate without the four major food groups: mimosas, french toast, eggs and potatoes. 

Address: 2748 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL (Lakeview) 

Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Recommended Dishes — French toast flight with chicken apple sausage 

The second choiceSweet Maple Cafe is a country-style cafe that serves Southern comfort food. This place’s pancakes are so big that they literally take over the whole plate. If you go here, we recommend the blueberry pancakes. If you’re not a pancake person, try their french toast and cheese grits.


Tourists naturally will flock to Chicago spots like Portillo’s for an Italian beef sandwich or Giordano’s for the famous deep-dish pizza. And, that’s cool, because those are a few of the many staples that Chicago is known for around the world. But if you’re really looking to get into the Black Chicago foodie scene, then Friistyle Chicago is the place to go. 

Photo courtesy of Friistyle Chicago [Facebook]

This Bronzeville neighborhood gem serves up a special twist on the classic American side order. While most classic Chicago hood spots will throw mild sauce on their french fries, Friistyle gives you options for both vegan and meat lovers. Friistyle dresses an order of french fries up with toppings such as roasted veggies, Italian beef, jerk salmon and lamb — stuff that you never thought to put on top of this typical side dish. 

When you take a bite into these fries, your jaws instantly will go to a french fry heaven you never knew existed. 

Addy: 5059 S Prairie Ave. Chicago, IL (Bronzeville) 

Hours: 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.

Recommended Dishes — Chicken alfredo frite and/or the Wing Frite with boughetto sauce 

The second choice — If the wait is too long, then head over to Two Fish Crab Shack for some amazing seafood. Two Fish is BYOB and they have the popular seafood boils in the bags. Try the 3-the-Chi-way seasoning plus jerk with crab claws, lobster tails and fried shrimp (crawfish and crab legs are options, too). Two Fish has a weekly special on Tuesdays through Thursdays, and the lines there can get crazy too. So the earlier you get there, the better.


Now, who doesn’t love soul food? I mean, for real. Who doesn’t love the smell of crispy fried chicken and sweet potatoes cooking in the house? If you hold grandma’s Southern-style cooking near and dear to your heart, then you’ve gotta stop by Soulé

Photo courtesy of Soulé [Facebook]

This spot is a cozy option featuring modernized soul and creole dinners. Plus, it’s BYOB — as you can see, BYOB is a hit here in Chicago. Nowadays, it is hard to find restaurants with mouth-watering soul food. Most places compromise the quality of their ingredients. But here, at Soulé, everything is fresh: everything from the hand-cut sweet potatoes and catfish to the fried green tomatoes are made with love. This is what makes Soulé so special. 

On any given day, you can find celebrities such as Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, Lil Rel, Scottie Pippen, Chris Rock, Lala Anthony and many more wining and dining at Soulé. So it’s clear that this spot will give you a one-in-a-million meal experience. 

Addy: 1931 W Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL (West Town) 

Hours: 3:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Recommended Dishes — Fried catfish dinner with chicken spaghetti or green beans, and the fried chicken dinner with mac n cheese or yams 

The second choice — If the wait at Soulé doesn’t fit your schedule, then head over to Luella’s Gospel Bird. Try “The Gospel,” a buttermilk fried chicken dipped in their signature creole sauce. Pair the bird with a side of maple candy yams. Seriously, this is good chicken.


In Chicago, we jerk EVERYTHING. Pizza. Fries. Alfredo pasta. You name it, somebody here is jerking it. So, did you really visit Chicago if you didn’t try a jerk chicken meal? Add Phlavz Bar and Grille to your food itinerary right now. For starters, this late-night joint has a jerk chicken sandwich that will make Popeye’s leave the chicken sandwich game forever. Phlavz’s spin on the chicken sandwich includes a house-made jerk mayo that adds flavor like no other. 

Photo courtesy of Phlavz Bar and Grille [Facebook]

If spicy food isn’t really your jam, Phlavz has these salmon egg rolls that will knock your socks off. Imagine your favorite spinach dip and salmon all wrapped up in the perfect egg roll. It bangs, y’all!

While you eat, Phlavz also plays all the Caribbean tunes throughout the night for the ultimate urban island experience. If you’re waiting to be seated, relax at the bar with a drink or two. Parking in University Village can be tricky, and trust — the city’s parking ticket crews will be out, and they’re ruthless. So you may want to park in the garage next to the restaurant, just to be safe. 

Addy: 717 W Maxwell St. Chicago, IL (University Village) 

Hours: 2:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.

Recommended Dishes — Salmon egg rolls, jerk chicken tips

The second choice — If there’s a wait at Phlavz, head right across the street to The Bureau Bar and Restaurant. Try some of their signature items like the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich or the Lump Crab Mac n Cheese.

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