Southern Cuisine and Soul Food in Lake County

I am writing this on a very full stomach. As part of my research, I just ate some delicious food. If you’ve never had soul food, here is your chance to try it. We are so fortunate to live in Lake County—we really have a great variety of restaurants. As I was compiling a list of soul food restaurants, I asked Lake County fans for suggestions. I tried to include the most popular that featured soul food menu items. Since not everyone agreed on what is considered soul food, restaurants featuring southern food are listed as well.

soul food in lake county

It’s hard to do these restaurants justice in such a quick snippet. To help me, I asked each restaurant what their most popular menu items were. To note, many of the restaurants offer a variety of foods, including American fare (which is always helpful for my chicken nugget-eating son) and even pasta. To view an online menu (if they had one), click on the restaurant title.

Hillery’s Bar-Bq
2021 N. Lewis Ave., Waukegan | (847) 336-0033

Hillery’s is an icon in my hometown of Waukegan. Known for their ribs, they also offer rib tips, pork shoulder, and beef brisket. Some of their most popular sides are cole slaw and fries, but they also have hushpuppies and onion rings. And why not revisit your childhood with a grape pop?

Rooster’s Charbroiled Chicken
2340 Sheridan Rd., Zion | (847) 731-9166

Formally known as Soul 4 Real, Rooster’s specialty is their charbroiled chicken. They also have smothered pork chops and catfish. Popular sides include candied yams, mac and cheese, red beans and rice, and string beans. Desserts include banana pudding and peach cobbler.

Toby’s Bar & Grill
1940 Green Bay Rd., North Chicago | (847) 689-4742

Toby’s offers both American fare and, as part of their Sunday brunch, soul food. The items to try: smothered pork chops, collared greens, candied yams, and baked mac and cheese. Desserts (served as part of Sunday brunch): cake (they kind varies each week—could be lemon, could be chocolate, could be 7-Up!), peach cobbler, and cookies.

Big Ed’s
4030 Northpoint Blvd., Waukegan | (847) 473-5333

There are many Big Ed’s fans out there. This restaurant’s name came up a lot on my quest. Most popular items: burnt ends (restaurant opens at 11:00 a.m. and burnt ends are often sold out by 12:30 p.m. — and let me tell you: THESE ARE GOOD and shown below), ribs, and pulled pork. As for sides: Tony’s Mac N Cheese (with pork, brisket, and BBQ sauce), baked beans, and, on Saturdays and Sundays, collard greens (again, they sell out fast!). Desserts: pound cake, bumpy chocolate cake, and Key lime pie (all homemade).

Southern Cuisine and Soul Food in Lake County
© N. Rompella | Little Lake | 2017

Now, who’s hungry?

What’s your favorite Lake County soul food restaurant?

About Natalie Rompella 37 Articles
Natalie is the mom of two humans and one nonhuman. She is the author of more than forty books and resources for kids, was a teacher and a museum educator, and will always be a Lake County native. Natalie enjoys insects, sled dog racing (observing!), crafting/experimenting with her kids, and forming a world safe from peanuts. Find out more about her and her books at

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.