O-Issue 2014: Hyde Park/Area Dining

For the local crew.

By Isaac Stein



Food from these places might actually be less nutritious than ramen, but they are loved all the same.




809 East 63rd Street

(773) 643-6670


A historic diner that has been owned and operated by the same family (no relation to the mayoral contenders) since the 1920s. Stop in and ask for Mike, the owner…. He’ll hook you up. Excellent Midwestern diner fare; similar to Valois but with more options. For South Campus residents, this is your break from the horror of Subway. Dinners run less than $10 and include an entrée, two sides, and cornbread.


Harold’s Chicken Shack #14

Fried chicken, Southern, casual

1208 East 53rd Street

(773) 752-9260


Excellent fried chicken for Eisenhower-era prices. Go on Sunday through Wednesday to take advantage of the half-dark special—half a fried chicken for $3.51…$3.19 if UChicago ID is shown. Location next to Kimbark Liquors and a laundromat makes for choice one-stop shopping.



American, casual

5220 South Lake Park Avenue

(773) 288-2161


Perhaps the slowest service out of any McDonald’s anywhere, but that’s Hyde Park. Like Harold’s, Donald’s House bails you out when you’re eating alone and have no more than four dollars to spend on Saturday night dinner. Don’t be sad. Have a sack of McDoubles.



American, breakfast, casual

1518 East 53rd Street

(773) 667-0647


Officially endorsed by Obama, but whatever. The draw here is excellent and heavy breakfast food that is not for the faint of heart, pun intended. Weekend revelers and Reg dwellers alike eat here at 5:30 a.m., for obvious reasons.




Impress your date.



French, semiformal

1462 East 53rd Street

(773) 288-1010


Trendy and chic. Ideal for a third date, or if you don’t like money.


B’Gabs Goodies

Vegetarian, vegan

6100 South Blackstone Avenue

(773) 363-1505


Within the bowels of the UChicago steam plant, which keeps your dorm warm, is B’Gabs…a vegan eatery which will certainly warm your insides. Food is high-quality and innovative, as exemplified by the vegan tacos.



Japanese, semiformal

1601 East 55th Street

(773) 667-3727


Good for sushi when the point is to enjoy it, rather than to eat as much as you possibly can. Attentive wait staff and pleasant decor combine to make this a viable choice for a date.



Sweets, ice cream

5226 South Harper Avenue

(773) 675-6731


Once you get past the fact that you paid five dollars for an ice cream cone, it’s all gravy. Cute store layout combined with a location right next to Harper Theater (5238 South Harper Avenue) makes an excellent movie/ice cream date easy to finagle.


Siam Thai


1649 East 55th Street

(773) 667-5423


The best among the strip of three or four Thai restaurants on 55th Street. Status quo: delicious. This is how food should taste.


Sit-Down Meal


Bring a group or friends, or just your B.A. draft. These restaurants work in any scenario.



Diner, late night

2441 North Lincoln Avenue

(773) 472-3505


Service and food quality are somewhat inconsistent, but being open 24 hours is a major credit in a neighborhood where everything seems to shut down at 9 p.m. Have Greek fries and a choc milkshake.




5311 South Blackstone Avenue

(773) 947-0200


As Edwardo’s on 57th officially hit the bricks lastsSpring, Giordano’s is now the only deep-dish pizza game in HP. Eating here means eating an absurd amount of cheese, so bring/prepare to drink a gallon of water over the course of your evening.



American, casual

1236 East 53rd Street

(773) 363-2600


Leona’s serves solid lunches and dinners which revolve around the pizza/salad/sandwich train. Drawback is inconsistent service; enjoyment of dining here depends on frame of mind (*Is* that plate of pasta bigger than your head?!)



American, casual

1327 East 57th Street

(773) 667-7394


Eating here is a no-risk proposition. Take your boss, a date, or your dad out to lunch at the Med and he or she will certainly find something enjoyable. Personal-size $10 deep-dish pizzas are a great idea, and are an even better idea during a mid-winter Reg binge.



Diner, Greek

1440 East 57th Street

(773) 752-3899


Solid diner fare at reasonable prices. Its location, a block west of Stony Island Avenue, also makes Salonica a desirable stop before leaving Hyde Park via the Metra or the #6 bus.



Japanese, casual

1375 East 53rd Street

(773) 966-6669


Ohhhh, shit. Get your group of hungry college students together for all-you-can-eat sushi, which runs about $22 a head after tax. The food quality is decent.


Produce and Grocery


Open Produce

Fruits, vegetables, specialty

1635 East 55th Street

(773) 496-4327


The riddle of why Hyde Park can churn out Nobel laureates like a juggernaut but is foreign to a decent apple has been mostly solved by Open Produce. Decent selection of fruits and vegetables year-round, plus they let you use their industrial coffee grinder for free, even if you bring beans you didn’t buy there.


Hyde Park Produce


1226 East 53rd Street

(773) 324-7100


Beats the price of prepared food by a wide margin. Produce selection and closer-to-campus location are marginally better than rival Treasure Island (1526 East 55th Street).


Greater South Side


Beyond the gown.


Dat Donut

Doughnut, pastry

8251 South Cottage Grove Avenue

(773) 723-1002


Makes both Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme look scrub. Consider purchasing the Big Dat, a glazed doughnut four times the size of any other on the market, for about $3.20. Dat also shares building space with a good barbecue joint if a war declaration on the intestines is imminent.


Lem’s Bar-B-Q


311 East 75th Street

(773) 994-2428


Unique among South Side barbecue, Lem’s slathers its offerings in a delicious vinegar-infused sauce. Get the rib tips.




Bartlett Dining Commons

5640 South University Avenue

(855) 862-3463


Verbatim, from Yelp: “Judging by the number of people who frequent Bartlett Dining Hall, it seems to be a very popular dining destination especially popular among the hip, young crowd…. Overall, the first couple meals here are not bad, but the next hundred or so tend to feel somewhat repetitive.”


Kimbark Beverage Shoppe

1214 East 53rd Street

(773) 493-3355


Wine has calories, right?