Black Owned Businesses, Arts & Culture in Chicago

In celebration of Black excellence past and present, we’ve curated this guide to discovering Black owned businesses, arts and culture in Chicago. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but a few favorites from our team, and meant to support you in discovering some of the city’s gems. Know one we’ve missed? Drop us a line – we love receiving our guests’ personal recommendations.

Black owned Business Monday Coffee
Photo courtesy of @drinkmondaycoffee

Find a cure for the Monday's with Monday Coffee Co.

At Soho House Chicago you’ll find Monday Coffee Co.’s coffee bar on the first floor, 10-min from our River North location. Founded by duo Amanda Christine Harth and Felton Kizer, Monday Coffee Co.’s small batch, ethically sourced product is brewed and bottled in Chicago and roasted in Grand Rapids, MI. Their Coffee Club at Soho House uses the community spirit of brewed coffee to bring the Midwest city’s Black community together through inspiring connections and networking opportunities. Not venturing near Soho house? The brand also has a location at the Garfield Park Conservatory and offers its products online, selling cold brew concentrate, coffee scrubs, and a self-care packages of coffee goodness. “Monday’s can be stale, but your coffee should never.” We couldn’t agree more.

Black Owned Business The Hot Dog Box
Photo courtesy of @thehotdogboxofficial

Head to to Lincoln Park for the best brunch around

With a name like Batter & Berries, you must know you’re in for something delicious. Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, about 15-min from Level Old Town, and considered a favorite breakfast destination by locals since 2012, Batter & Berries are known for their remixed menu, putting an innovative and contemporary twist on meals classic favorites with dishes like their deconstructed omelet, french toast flights, and award-winning cluck & gaufre (chicken & waffle).

Taste a gourmet Chicago hot dog

In August 2020, Bobbie Morelli and his daughter Brooklyn set out to create the most unique gourmet hot dogs in Chicago. The father-daughter business opened as The Hot Dog Box inside a container marketplace in Bronzeville (about 15-minutes from Level River North), and have been changing the way Chicagoans eat their hot dogs by serving elevated versions of the classic Chicago staple. Must try: The Hot Dog Box’s most famous dog is, the Filet Mignon Steak Dog.

Find a taste of New Orleans in Wicker Park

Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods is a tribute to Chef Brian Jupiter’s hometown of New Orleans where people come to eat feel good food and enjoy a drink in a free-spirited atmosphere. Recognized in the Best Chef category by the James Beard Awards in 2020, Chef Jupiter’s menu includes a collection of Southern favorites like char-grilled oysters, po’boys, hushpuppies, fried fish and melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. Whether you’re in for brunch or dinner, you’re guaranteed a good meal and a great time.

Black owned Business Dr. Bird
Photo courtesy of @ dr.birds

Experience culture and Jamaican cuisine at Dr.Bird's Jamaican Patty Shack

Dr. Bird’s, run by the sons of the original owner, was first opened in 1981 in the inner city of Buffalo, NY, specializing in Jamaican patties, before venturing westward. Dr. Birds' mission is to “bring people together,” and the current owner is carrying on this tradition of spreading love and unity through food. A 9-min drive from Level River North, you’ll find a menu that includes Jamaican specialties like patties and jerk chicken plus Indian-style flatbreads curry fried coco rice and more. Dr. Bird’s also has a long list of homemade natural juices (which is particularly delicious topped up with some Jamaican rum). Looking to experiencing Jamaican food and friendly service? We can’t seem to think of anywhere better than Dr. Bird’s.

Black owned Business Semicolon
Photo courtesy of @semicolonchi

Browse for your next great read at Semicolon

A Black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space located about 8 minutes from Level River North on the West side, Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery is committed to nurturing the connection between literature, art and the pursuit of knowledge. Along with a beautiful collection of books and art, they run a nonprofit called #ClearTheShelves which aims to support the improvement of literacy levels through the donation of books to Chicago’s students.

Celebrate the arts at BE

The Black Ensemble Theater, known as BE, is a vibrant nationally and internationally renowned art institution. Founded in 1976 by actress, producer and playwright Jackie Taylor, BE is now recognized as one of the most diverse theaters in the country. Its mission is to eradicate racism and its damaging effects upon our society through the utilization and celebration of theater arts. About a 14-min drive from Level Old Town, most shows run on weekends with both evening and matinee showings. Be sure to book your tickets in advance!

Fun for the whole family at the Museum of Science & Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry celebrates the rich contributions of African Americans in science, technology, engineering, art, and medicine with a robust series of experiences and events during the annual Black Creativity program which runs January – April. Black Creativity has grown to be the Nation’s longest-running exhibition of African American art along with exhibits, events, and educational programs for all ages.

Take in Black History Month Show each February

The Second City’s annual Black History Month’s Show brings you decades’ worth of iconic archival and classic sketches and songs created by some of the theater’s most notable African American alumni, including Keegan-Michael Key, Sam Richardson and Amber Ruffin.

Immerse Yourself in art and culture, past and present at The DuSable Museum

As the nation’s oldest independent African American museum celebrating art, culture and history, The DuSable Museum holds more than 15,000 pieces and includes paintings, sculptures, print works and historical memorabilia. With a regular collection of fresh exhibits celebrating new artists as well as workshops and lectures to attend, there is plenty to explore and reason to return again and again. Insider tip: you can visit Wednesdays from 11am – 4pm for free admission (though we recommend reallocating those funds towards a purchase in their shop or a donation on their site to continue supporting their programs).