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The Chicago Traveler

MacArthur’s Offers Plenty of Soul

by User ImageMatt B on May 13th, 2008

When you're craving soul food, many would tell you that you have to head down to the South Side to find the best of the best. But for many folks, 'the best' is on Chicago's West Side at MacArthur's.

soul food macarthursBest start loosening your belts now because MacArthur's doesn't mess around. The owner's niece does most of the cooking here, offering classic Southern-style dishes in a cafeteria-style setting. The ambience of the green-walled dining room may be lacking, but the food (and the portions!) more than make up for that.

Lines can get pretty long during the dinner hour and on Sunday afternoons (after religious ceremonies), but most of the customers get their hearty meals to go, leaving plenty of tables and booths where you can enjoy an incredible array of soul food. The menu changes daily, but mainstays include fried chicken, baked chicken, baked catfish, smothered pork chops, meatloaf, pork spare ribs, and beef short ribs. There are more sides than you could hope to imagine: mac & cheese, collard greens, sweet corn, baked beans, mixed veggies, potato salad, black-eyed peas, coleslaw, and so much more. Dinner, which includes a meat selection and two sides, ranges from $7 to $9. Portions are about the size of your head, but if you somehow manage to have room for dessert, you have to try the peach cobbler or banana pudding.

Several celebrities have been through here, including Shaq, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West. Barack Obama wrote about MacArthur's in his book, The Audacity of Hope. However, the food is definitely the biggest star here. And I mean big.

Photo credit: polomex (c/o Flickr)

MacArthur's ($): 5412 W Madison St; 773-261-2316
Daily: 11:00 a.m. ' 9:00 p.m.
Free parking lot
Public trans: Bus # 20, X20, 85

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