South Triangle retail divided

Chatham retail Chatham retail Cottage Grove Avenue from 87th Street to 86th just may be the most interesting block in the city. How so? Because the east side of the street is around the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, and the west side could be on any street in any city or suburb in the country. Take a look at the contrast between Mom and Pop and their new neighbors, the big-boxes, strip malls and parking lots. Which side of the street do yo’all think is better for the city?

Chatham retail

Chatham retail

Chatham retail

Chatham retail

Chatham retail

Chatham retail

Chatham retail

Chatham retail


  • Jim Simpleton 11 years

    Let me see Joel…um, the big box retailers?
    Come on! Nobody will disagree except the man who runs the convenience store that has food on the shelves collecting dust.

  • the urban politician 11 years

    I prefer the mom and pop stores. I find them more interesting and I definitely think they are better for the city

  • I go to that Target and some restaurants. Shop around there. Farther west is a similar strip with a Starbucks, but this is Chatham/West Chatham.

    Cottage Grove Ave. is the boundary between Chatham and Avalon Park, which certainly is not AS affluent as their western neighbor and most likely the reason for the development disparity, but stable Avalon’ll catch up. Farther north on E. 83rd and Cottage is a nice new corner on the Avalon Park side. A nice area of between the communities. Wonderful houses, some unique to anything you’d readily find in the city.

  • Carter 11 years

    wow, you really looked hard to find a pretty subpar conglomerate of mom and pop shops…

  • Carter,

    It’s easy to find far more that are far more subpar than this one. When you get around Chicago enough, this looks pretty healthy.

  • ElamBend 11 years

    Is there a Ward border in the middle of the street. That could make a difference

  • anon 11 years

    Why does it have to be “either-or?” Why not “both-and?” Yes, it’s great to be able to have easy access to malls with major chain stores, but sometimes the local M&P can fill the bill just as well, plus give you the satisfaction of supporting the “little guys.”

  • Levois 11 years

    Cottage Grove is the dividing line between the 6th and 8th wards. In fact in one of those store fronts on the east side of the street you will find the 8th Ward Democratic Organization headquarters.

  • Not so rare. S. State St. north off E. 87th St. is an interesting hodge podge.

    E.71st St. east of S. Stony Island Ave. is a struggling area.

    How about E. 87th St. itself between S. Stony Island Ave. and S. Jeffery Ave.? A bustling area, but not much for looks. Always traffic congestion.

    But on South Commercial Avenue in South Chicago neighborhood is a great example of mom and pop shops doing reasonably well AND looking good without any big box nearby. Plus there are more mom and pop grocers scattered throughout this community than in any other. Some struggling, most doing fairly well.
    Mostly Mexican and South Asian owned, perchasing choices are quite limited. La Preferida, Goya, Del Monte. In most you’re likely not to find real ice cream products, or real fruit juices sans high fructose corn syrup (one sells Juicy Juice), or fruit other than bananas and apples. Coffee might be limited to Chase & Sanborn, maybe Chock Full O’ Nuts and occasionally Maxwell House. But I’m a Folgers man. Meats are also limited. No Black Angus, or Porterhouse. However in a pinch you can get staples like seasoning, eggs, cake mixes, cleaning/laundry items anti-perspirant and batteries.

    Unfortunately there aren’t any close by I feel comfortable going that often. In this part of town they aren’t safe which is unfortunate.

    I shop “uptown” on Commercial or go to East Side’s Jewel. It’s the best Jewel in the city: never crowded, no long lines like the Co-op in Hyde Park. Everything is fresh and clean. It’s continually a pleasant shopping experience. sometime I go to Sterks in Whiting and dine at The Purple Steer, a great restaurant.