Wednesday Warm-Up: South Side Soul

January 27, 2010

Dolinsky-soulfood

For the past month, I've been taking the liberty every Wednesday to introduce you to something warm and cozy, food that fills up your soul as much as your belly.‚  We've visited Hearty in Lake View, Sola in North Center and last week, Fabulous Freddie's in Bridgeport. But my Wednesday Warm-Up today on ABC 7 is perhaps one of the finest examples of soul-satisfying comfort food - especially if your relatives came from the South.

Whenever I eat soul food in Chicago, at places like Edna's or MacArthur's, I realize I am eating history, as much as I am proteins and carbs. Think about it: Chicago is located in the heart of the Midwest, where it freezes seemingly half the year, and yet thanks to African-Americans who moved here during and after the Great Migration, our city has a wealth of traditional soul food or "meat-and-three" restaurants where one can eat like a true Southerner year-round.

37 years ago, the Morrison family opened a pizza joint in the heart of the Gresham neighborhood, on the city's South Side. It did okay business, but nothing like their second restaurant - located right next door - that they opened in 2002. Simply called Morrison's Authentic Southern Restaurant, they've been dishing up homemade Southern/soul food to an appreciative neighborhood ever since.‚  Good luck trying to find a seat on a Sunday after church.

There are the usual suspects, of course: braised mustard and turnip greens, creamy mac 'n cheese, black eyed peas and chitlins; not to mention fried chicken, short ribs and oxtails. Like most Chicago soul food restaurants, it's cafeteria-style service, and all entrees come with two sides (and a seriously delicious, soft corn muffin). Another great thing about Morrison's - the prices. With the exception of the short ribs, the oxtails and one or two other items, nothing on the menu tops $9. That's something that gives me a warm feeling too.