News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

growing pains: dixie kitchen closing june 7th

Change is not always easy and as 53rd street grows to meet the retail needs of our diverse neighborhood we have to say goodbye to one of our old favorite haunts. Dixie Kitchen, a venerable eatery that has prospered on 53rd street, will shut its doors on June 7th

The Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop, a soul and Cajun food joint frequented by aging academics, university students, black community leaders, and just plain ordinary folks since 1994, will shut down June 7, owner Carol Andresen said. Some of the restaurant's most popular dishes -- from gumbo and fried baby catfish to the piping hot Johnny cakes -- will be incorporated into Andresen's sister restaurant, Calypso, which is next door. But most of the menu and most of Dixie Kitchen's staff will not, becoming a casualty of the growing pains of a neighborhood on the move.

Calypso, another 53rd street favorite, will remain open, serving its delicious caribbean fare to neighborhood denizens. The restaurant won't be alone for long. The University of Chicago, which owns the 53rd street property, has solicited proposals from several different developers and expects to begin construction on a more modern and revitalized Harper Court area by next year.