Underrepresented ethnic cuisines want a place at Chicago’s mainstream dining table

By Michael Bacos

Lauran Smith is a fan of Chicago’s Restaurant Week. But there was something about the event that frustrated her.

“I was upset to find out that few restaurants were black-owned that I wanted to patronize,” said Smith. So she decided to do something “to expose and give support to a lot more of our African-American-owned restaurants.”

As a social media expert by trade, Smith used her skills and channeled her frustrations to create Chicago’s first Black Restaurant Week. Her efforts have given media exposure to lesser-known restaurants on the West and South Sides of Chicago .

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Filipino food is another cuisine that is mysterious to the average American eater.

Uncle Mike’s Place on Grand and Ashland is recognized by Filipinos as one of the best places for Filipino breakfast in the city.

Mike Grajewski, the owner of Uncle Mike’s Place, opened the restaurant in the 1970s but started putting Filipino items on the menu in 2007.

Peach’s on 47th showcased its Bourbon French Toast as part of Chicago’s Black Restaurant Week. (Michael Bacos/Medill)