When you think of soul food on the South Side, the first restaurants that probably come to mind are places like Army & Lou's and Soul Queen. But in just ten short years, BJ's Market & Bakery has joined those ranks, earning accolades from most of the city's major food critics-and drawing diners from throughout the city-in the process. Like the best soul-food restaurants, BJ's makes you feel at home, almost effortlessly. The open dining room is littered with two- and four-top candlelit tables set amidst forest green walls and bay windows.
Chef/owner John Meyer infuses family recipes handed down generations with liberal doses of French-American fusion honed from years at the University Club and the long-gone Retreat in West Pullman. Breakfast can consist of a stack of buttermilk pancakes for $4.99, or salmon croquettes with two eggs and toast for $5.99. A catfish po' boy, teeming with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce, is a steal for $5.49. Diners can serve themselves in the style of meat-and-three, if they wish. Just save some space for BJ's chess pie and banana pudding.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Chuck Sudo