Black-owned businesses in Chicago to have on your radar


Jonah Weber

Semicolon Bookstore on N. Halsted St. hosts a variety of curated texts of various genres.

Chicago is home to a plethora of family owned, independent businesses. For Black History Month, the DePaulia wanted to put the spotlight on some fantastic Black-owned establishments. Some of these spots have been around for years, and others are new to the Chicago scene. 

Batter & Berries – 2748 N. Lincoln Ave

This iconic brunch spot is a staple in the Chicago restaurant scene. Dr. Tanya Richardson and Craig Richardson opened Batter & Berries in Lincoln Parkin 2012. Their goal was to bring a vibrant menu and restaurant to the city, which is exactly what they have done. Located on Lincoln, there are no reservations required, and the fact that there is almost always a line down the block should tell you their french toast flight is well worth the wait. 

Semicolon Bookstore – 515 N. Halsted St

This Black, woman-owned space is not just a bookstore but an intersection of literature, art and community. Since opening in 2019, Semicolon has worked to bring books and art to Chicago. The shop also collaborates with a variety of nonprofit organizations and works on a variety of community outreach programs. For example, its #ClearTheShelves program invites Chicago Public School students to the store once a month to take home whatever books they choose. Community is incredibly important to Semicolon as stated in its mission statement: “Semicolon Bookstore is committed to nurturing the connection between literature, art, and the pursuit of knowledge; while also using the power of words to better our community.”

Kyoto Black Coffee – Flagship Location: 1445 W. Devon Ave

Kyto Style cold brew is delicious. Kyoto Black Coffee has perfected and enhanced the intense, slow drip process. The cold coffee is rich, smooth, and has clear flavors. It has become quite the staple in the widely diverse coffee scene in Chicago. The coffee can be found at a variety of stores, restaurants and coffee shops throughout the city. Check out the map here.

Luella’s Southern Kitchen – 4609 N. Lincoln Ave

This Black-owned restaurant comes with plenty of beautiful family history and flavors. Darnell Reed is the owner and chef. His grandmother Luella Reed traveled the world, gaining culinary inspiration, but the core of this restaurant is what he learned from Luella herself. Luella’s cuisine is southern comfort food cranked up a notch. Located in Lincoln Square, this vibrant and delicious restaurant brings plenty of southern ambience to Chicago. 

Third Coast Comics – 6443 N. Sheridan 

This Black-owned comic store promotes diversity, quality, inclusion and community. Third Coast has been around since 2005 and has always cared about delivering the best comics to Chicago fans. Located by the Loyola Lakeshore Campus, Third Coast offers a wide variety of stories and comics for curious, casual and hardcore comic fans. The store is cleanly tailored for a diverse community of fans. Check them out!

Love Periodt – Online Shop

This boutique has a wide variety of products, from stationary items and mugs to Chicago-based merchandise. Although this Black woman-owned shop is only online at the moment, the owner and curator of the store, D’Cher, works hard to bring the best products to her customers. 

Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health Cafe – 1051 W. Belmont 

Christopher LeMark is the founder of this cafe and organization. The shop’s vision is described beautifully in their mission statement: “Our mission is to bring awareness to the importance of mental health, emotional intelligence and self-awareness to one’s quality of life, particularly in the black community. Our primary service is to provide access to mental health and therapeutic services by removing the financial, systemic and emotional barriers which prevent healing.” Not only do they offer phenomenal mental health services and counseling, but great coffee too. They can be found in the Lakeview neighborhood on Belmont.