Chicago >Food & Dining > Negro League Cafe
301 E 43rd St, Chicago, IL | Directions 6065341.816488 -87.619472
Neighborhoods: Grand Boulevard, South Side
THE WORST DINING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE – Simply a horrific evening. First and biggest problem: Not enough supplies. I ordered fried green tomatoes, and was informed that there were no tomatoes. I then tried to order chicken with red beans/rice and candied yams. I was then informed that they also had NO BEANS, NO GREENS, NO PORK CHOPS, and most of the other items on the menu. I'm guessing somebody forgot to go grocery shopping? I mean it is kind of essential to have food to serve at a RESTAURANT!How do you run an establishment that sells mostly soul food and RUN OUT OF GREENS? Then we were told that they were OUT OF ALL SIDE DISHES. Out of side dishes? I've never even heard of such a thing! I finally decided or order chicken tenders. The waitress came back several minutes later with a bowl of barbecued wings. This was apparently a peace offering because MAGICALLY THEY WERE OUT OF CHICKEN TENDERS! Second problem: lazy unskilled kitchen staff with NO aptitude for cooking. The sweet potato fries: bland and scant. Macaroni and cheese: overly salty. Chicken: burned. Greens: not fully cooked, from a can, & not seasoned. Cook was socializing instead of cooking. The manager was very nonchalant about his incompetence and substandard establishment. If you're smart, you'll avoid this place at all cost.
Truly the WORST dining experience I have ever had.... – I honestly don't understand how this place is still in business. We arrived on a Wednesday night and waited about 20 minutes for a table. Initially we were understanding as the place appeared to be moderately crowded. There were about 20 people or so mingling about in the bar area, and we assumed this to be true for the restaurant. We were quite surprised to enter the restaraunt portion of the place and become one of three tables. I am at a loss as to what the wait could possibly have been attributed to.
We were immediately greeted by our server, and ordered water and soda. It took over 15 minutes for our server to tell us they were out of diet coke. We waited another 5 minutes for our drinks. so all in all, a total of 20 minutes for soda and water. We opted for the buffet and that is when things really went downhill. First off, it is not a buffet in the traditional sense. Instead, the server serves you food from the buffet. In our case, we were to remain seated while the server fetched things from the buffet. This is such a ridiculous concept. I shudder to think what our dinner would have been like if other patrons chose to eat from the buffet.
We watched as the server retrived one item at a time and placed it on the table (think one fork, then a napkin, then another fork, then a knife etc.) It took over 40 minutes for him to get our dinners from the buffet.. I had the fried chicken, which was pretty darned tasty. The rest of the meal was awful. The macaroni and cheese was typical buffet variety (think Old Country Buffet) only more orange (not more cheese taste though) and with chives sprinkled on top. The sweet potatoes were not sweet enough, but in all fairness, I like actual candied yams, with the thick sweet syrup that comes with. These were just cooked sweet potatoes slightly sweetened. The dressing, was very wet, very mushy and very tasteless. Like watered down box dressing. We asked for refills, condiments and extra napkins, none appeared. AWFUL
Looking For More Reviews before 07/07/2007 – Going soon to the area, interested in dining there based on a suggestion. Is this an area that I can feel safe in and is the soul food consistent in flavor and presentation? Does the menu change? All previous reviews state slow service. Is this all the time? Please respond with your honest reviews.
NEVER, NO MORE!!!!!! – My family and I went to the Negro League Cafe for my father's birthday on the recomendation of many African American people who try to support African American business, as MOST of us do. I thought it would be extra special since my father was a member of the Chicago Giants in the few remaining years of the Negro League. Nice ambience/atmosphere as well as wait staff. Ambrose was great!! We made a reservation for a party of 25 for their buffet, however, when we got there it was a totally different situation. Reservation was for 2pm, we arrive at 215pm and the "BUFFET" was not complete so we decided to wait. First of all the buffet area was literally like the opening between the kitchen and the dining room in your home and maybe not even that big. They said it would only be a few minutes to get the 2 missing items, mac & cheese and dressing, to the buffet window. We started eating at 3pm and they still where not there. For 20 people they had the food available to serve for 8-10 people. They took our waiter to now make him a server at the buffet and why do you need a server at the buffet when it is all you can eat. In between our first plate at 3pm and our 2nd attempt yo eat again, there was almost a 1 1/2 hour wait . At that point, around 415pm, we started leaving. To wrap this up, because I could go on, service was the worse I've ever experience, the food was not worth the money or the wait, and, unless things change for the better, I will NEVER go there again. Not only that, I will NEVER recommend this restaurant to anyone, maybe the night scene or bar, but not the restaurant. They are trying to capitalize off of the name and that is a disgrace. I work in the hospitality industry and have been many places. But I have not experienced nothing as bad as this.
Avoid Saturday, Lunch is best- no crowd but fresh cooked food – Great seasoning and flavor to fish and chicken. Real sweet potao flavor not doctored up. Greens, macoroni like "mom" makes (soft and creamy with a little soft crust on top. Peach cobbler perfect-not to sweet to enjoy with a good cup of coffee or even a glass of wine.
Service is slow but very friendly. Avoid Saturday, usually some function and the band ws noisy for the small room if you don't like a lot of noise.
This soul/Caribbean food hangout pays tribute to black American baseball players of the early 20th century. – In Short
This South Side spot gives diners a history lessons about the negro baseball leagues, which flourished from the 1920s until baseball's integration in 1946. The space is decorated with paintings of the era, and the lounge boasts a Wall of Fame for the players. The menu offers upscale soul food favorites like blackened salmon with cumin-glazed carrots and catfish sandwich with cilantro mayo, along with Cuban- and Caribbean-inspired fare like black bean soup and Cuban steak sandwiches.
Nice Bronzeville Restaurant!! – The decor and ambience was very nice. I ordered the buffet it was good the service was slow that night. The waiter was nice but he was overwelmed with tables. I suggest that they hire more waitstaff. I loved the bar that was great. The prices are average for an upscale restaurant.
Food and Service unfit for a Dog – I just paid $55.06 for almost non-existant service and stale food. I would not recommend this restaurant for my dog!
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