A traditional destination for African-American cuisine, well renowned and culturally significant restaurants located in Chatham Center Chicago include institutions like Lem’s Ribs, Captain Hard Times Diner, Dat Donut, Soul Vegetarian and many more…
Greater Chatham is home to notable regional shopping centers that are among the most visited in the City of Chicago–particularly by middle-class residents of Chicago’s South Side. The retail communities of Chatham Market & Chatham Ridge combine to form the number one shopping destination in Chicago for African American households earning up to $75,000 a year. Chatham Village square is the sixth-most popular location for Chicago’s middle-class African American shoppers.
Following a nationwide trend, Greater Chatham residents’ shopping patterns have shifted towards highly concentrated retail in shopping malls and planned shopping centers. Meanwhile, the historic retail corridors along major streets (such as 75th and 79th Streets) have suffered as consumers continue to show preferences for shopping malls with large retail chains and franchises over independent stores.
Greater Chatham residents tend to shop outside the community for clothing, making the majority of those purchases at establishments in the Loop. Greater Chatham has established itself as one of the premier shopping destinations on the South Side for middle-class families, positioning it well as a community of choice for those households. This retail draw is centered in the community’s major shopping centers and ranges from major durable goods (Home Depot, Lowe’s) to groceries and pharmacy products (Target, Walmart).
Greater Chatham’s food retail options include Sit-Down Restaurants (Original Soul Vegetarian, Lem’s Barbeque, Margarita’s Pizzeria, Reggio’s Pizza, Maxwell Street Grill, Firehouse Steak & Lemonade, Roy’s Soul Food, Kam’s Chop Suey, 5 Loaves Eatery, Jimmy’s Burgers on 75th, Tropic Island Jerk Chicken, etc), Fast Food (Burger King, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, etc), Catering, Groceries (BJ’s Market & Bakery, Chatham Foods), Fast-Casual (Chipotle, Subway), and Bakeries and Sweet Shops (Brown Sugar Bakery, Garrett Popcorn Shop).
Despite the many food offerings listed above, there is still a large untapped market for family-oriented sit-down restaurants. In fact, local demand for grocery stores, sit-down restaurants, bars, and fast-casual food chains like Panera and Cosi is currently underserved, with a combined annual retail gap of just over $70 million. Several national chains, including Denny’s and Golden Corral, are reportedly interested in locating franchises in Greater Chatham.
Retail centers are currently not adequately meeting the day-to-day needs of residents; however, as the Greater Chatham Initiative plan for building on the community’s strength as a regional retail center take hold, this will naturally strengthen the area’s position as a community of choice for middle-class and professional families. Bolstering targeted local-serving retail supply (for example, with new family-oriented food and entertainment options, fine dining and live music venues, or business and fitness centers) will further enhance the community’s attractiveness.