“When they opened Z & H MarketCafe(1126 E 47th St, 773-538-7372) on 47th, I was like, How? It’s a quiet street, and putting a destination gourmet food store there was brave in this economic climate. But everyone from the President to regular folks comes for great cheeses, sandwiches, coffee and other foods.”
“From the crispiest fried chicken to amazing authentic tandoori chicken, and other delicious Indian specialties—plus lots of soulful sides—Rajun Cajun’s (1459 E 53rd St, 773-955-1145) got it. You get your karma and your comfort.”
“Gaze at President Obama’s residence, but the real beauty is across the street at KAM Isaiah Israel temple (1100 E Hyde Park Blvd, 773-924-1234). This Byzantine structure is one of the great synagogues of Chicago.”
Art Smith, best known as Oprah’s former chef, Top Chef Masters participant, chef-owner of Table Fifty-Two and all-around nice guy, has called Hyde Park–Kenwood home for a decade. He and his partner, artist Jesus Salgueiro, love the area’s diversity. “You will find Nobel laureates next to activists, plus just regular folks who enjoy the ’hood,” Smith says. “We love the history, people and the peace.” While the chef’s been busy prepping for the late-December opening of his new New York restaurant, Joanne’s, a partnership with Lady Gaga’s father, he still finds time to hit some of his favorite neighborhood spots.