Building the Best

Here on the South Side, it’s common knowledge that we’re home to a lot of Best things: Best Baseball Team (the Sox), Best Way To Be Late To Work (the Red Line), and Best Escape Route Out of the City (Midway Airport), to name just a few. What we at the Weekly want to know, however, is what Bests are really treasured in your neighborhood, what Bests make living where you live pleasurable and not just circumstantial. Each summer, our writers and editors hit the streets looking for these Bests, and the result becomes our Best of the South Side issue. This summer, we’re enlisting you to help.

Our Bests, as you might know from previous years, are not quite the same “Bests” that publications like Chicago magazine and the Chicago Reader slave over. Whereas those “Best of” lists range across the city, our annual issue focuses on South Side neighborhoods that we typically cover from autumn through spring:

Back of the Yards
Calumet Heights
Greater Grand Crossing
Greater Hegewisch
Heart of Italy
Hyde Park
South Loop
South Shore
Washington Park

Unlike those other lists, our Best of the South Side issue also doesn’t have set categories. We’re not just looking for the Best Restaurant in every neighborhood, we’re looking for “Best Cheap Socks,” “Best Meeting Grounds,” and “Best Sequined Bras,” as we found in Midway, Woodlawn, and Greater Grand Crossing last year. We’re looking for new places, and we’re looking for new categories.

What we’re not looking for is pretense–we know our neighborhoods aren’t perfect. A nomination for a “Best Hope for the Future” is just as acceptable as a “Best Place to Spend Saturday Morning.” In the same way, a Best could be as small as a park bench or as large as a few city blocks.

So tell us: what’s the Best ______ in your neighborhood?

Tweet @chicagoweekly, Facebook us, email our editor-in-chief at, or comment below by September 1.

7 comments for “Building the Best

  1. James Hecht
    July 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Best Take-out Line People-watching: the Harold’s Chicken Shack on 53rd and Kimbark. I don’t know how that place decides which number’s up next…

  2. Angela
    July 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Best Place to get exotic chocolate and drinks — Open Produce (55th and Cornell.)

  3. Connie
    July 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Best hole-in-the-wall eatery? I’ll argue strongly for Pleasant House Bakery in Bridgeport. Located next to a bar called Maria’s, which is where you will likely eat, as their only seating is like three tables inside and one outside picnic table fenced in with the lovely view of a brick wall and electric lines. Incredible savory pies, and on Fridays, they have really fresh fish and chips with Meyer lemon tartar sauce. You can also get high tea. I love their hibiscus tea soda as well. And also poutine (which they call Deluxe Gravy Chips).

  4. Paul
    July 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Daley’s. It was mentioned before, in your last Best of, but only in the intro text and not as an item. It took me a year and a half to try this place. After a very stressful weekend of moving, I went there with my old roommate in the evening to get two days’ worth of pleasure and relaxation in one fabulously unhealthy supper. More students could go there without changing the vibe of the place too much.

  5. Paul
    July 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Also, best quiet, straight, wide stretch of road: Loomis between 31st and Cermak. Good for setting speed records, and when you’re done, you’re in Pilsen. Probably hard to work into an item, though, much less a neighborhood.

  6. Susie M
    July 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Open secret: the best milkshake is the Mexicana shake at the Medici.

  7. Evelyn
    August 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Best view of the city at night: Promontory Point. Best grocery store for good, reasonably priced produce and feta cheese: Hyde Park Produce. Best three blocks for bookstores: 57th St. between Kimbark and the Metra lines. (Notable: the vintage postcard selection at Ogara and Wilson antiquarian books.)

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