THE BLOG
02/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama, "Check, Please!" and the South Side

There are lots of links to and posts about Barack Obama's appearance on the local food show "Check, Please!" The show highlights restaurants picked by the guests that are critiqued after they all have eaten at each other's selections. Obama's pick was the Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop on the South Side. And while the restaurant discussion was interesting, his quote about retail and restaurant interest in the South Side was more telling:

"It also goes to show how I think a lot of neighborhoods, Hyde Park and the surrounding area, are communities that are starved for restaurants, retailers... so much of stuff that concentrates downtown in the loop and... Particularly in the south side we don't have the same number of options that some of the Northside neighborhoods do, like Lincoln Park or Bucktown."

It was then pointed out that he was representing his district with that quote. Though that was the case, what he said certainly was the truth. And it continues to be the truth.

In the years since the show was taped, the restaurant scene on the South Side hasn't grown like the rest of the city. In the past few years we've had or been awarded Gourmet's top restaurant in the country- Alinea, James Beard's Outstanding Chef (also from Alinea) Grant Achatz, Best Food and Dining from Travel + Leisure, America's New Culinary Star from Saveur, Best Restaurant City in America by GQ, and more 5 Diamond restaurants than any other city in the US in 2007: Alinea, Aruns, Avenues, Trotters, Everest, Seasons, Tru.

The Dixie Kitchen's still there, but there's room for more.