Park Manor

Park Manor is a south side Chicago neighborhood with well-kept single-family homes, plentiful schools, and easy transportation options. Cradled between two of the city's major highways and the Red Line branch of the “El” train system, residents in Park Manor have no trouble getting from point A to point B. Traveling within the neighborhood borders will reveal a love for hearty American restaurants that serve up all the comfort foods, from barbeque ribs to the traditional turkey club. Aside from getting a bite to eat, Park Manor residents have the benefit of a handful of retail developments and shops. The nightlife in Park Manor is rather lively, sporting several bars and lounges.

Park Manor Facts

Location: About 13 miles south of the Loop
Boundaries: 67th Street to the north, Cottage Grove Avenue to the east, 75th Street to the south and Vincennes Avenue to the west
Bordering Neighborhoods: Washington Park, Grand Crossing, Chatham, West Chatham, Englewood


Then and Now

Development in the Park Manor neighborhood didn’t really begin until the late 1800s. Up until that time, very little existed in the small south side area, aside from a nearby train crossing, which would indirectly provide the impetus for progress.

In 1853 a collision at that rail crossing killed 18 people and injured countless others. In the wake of the tragedy, all trains were instructed to make a complete stop at the junction before continuing on their way. This preventative measure was enacted to prevent further accidents, but it also jumpstarted the development of Park Manor. Since all trains had to make a compulsory stop here, shop and restaurant owners saw a golden opportunity and before long a slew of new businesses sprung up in the region surrounding the crossing. With the onslaught of commercial developments appearing, residential areas soon followed, which then led to more commercial buildings. In this way Park Manor emerged on the scene and continued to expand and was eventually annexed into Chicago in 1889.

Although trains are no longer required to make a full stop near Park Manor, scores of people still call the area home. Originally the area drew countless numbers of Irish, English, and Scottish immigrants who sought work in the nearby factories, but during the 1950s the population began morphing Park Manor into the predominately African American area we currently see. Today the neighborhood is a pleasantly quiet residential area with a number of restaurants and shops, and easy access to Chicago’s downtown loop.

Parks

Life in the big city can be fast-paced and hectic, with daily routines often ruling our schedules. That’s why we all need a good place to play, to relax, to have fun, to cut loose, and to just take it easy.

Like many of Chicago’s neighborhoods, Park Manor has such a place that has been providing residents with space for that well-deserved leisure time for many, many years. Meyering Park (7140 S Martin Luther King Jr. Dr, 312-747-6545) dates back to 1926, when the city of Chicago decided to build a modest park in the center of a quickly-expanding community. As residences and businesses popped up left and right, it was apparent the city would need to hurry up and preserve a section of land for recreation use before it was all gobbled up by development. That’s how we got Meyering Park. What began as mere open space eventually saw the additions of a recreational building and a playfield that could be flooded in the winter for ice skating.

Today Meyering Park offers many of its original charming assets, as well as some newer additions, such as a baseball diamond and an interactive water playground (something that makes us all very jealous of the kids when those hot and humid August days roll around). The park also features a regular dry playground (with slides, swings, and the like) for those young folks that don’t want to get wet. Surrounding the other park amenities, Meyering additionally has walking trails for a brisk stroll or jog. These days, just about everyone on the pathway has some sort of personal listening device (aka iPod), but we prefer just listen to the birds chirping and hear the wind rustling the leaves on the trees while trekking along the footpath.

Above all, Meyering Park provides a fine spot for Park Manor locals to simply sit back and relax, and let the craziness of the day (or the week) just melt away. Whether running around and playing sports or packing a picnic and enjoying a good book is your idea of stress relief, you can get it all right in the center of Park Manor neighborhood at this lush plot of green tucked away among the quiet residential blocks of this south side Chicago community.

Park Manor Real Estate

With a name like Park Manor, if you have an imaginative mind, you might envision the streets of this south side Chicago neighborhood to be lined with foreboding castle-like structures, slowly collapsing from disrepair, creaky wrought-iron gates, and ivy-covered walls (and an occasional ghost making residence among the creepy old structures). Of course, in reality that image couldn’t be further from the actual Park Manor.

Instead Park Manor neighborhood possesses a dichotomy of housing. On the one hand there are large, well-maintained two-stories with manicured green lawns and lovely landscaping edging the property. On the other hand, there are sections where many of the homes are abandoned, with boarded-up windows and over-grown greenery encasing the edifice. Still, walking down the streets of this Chicago neighborhood, you’re most likely to see pleasant, well-kept single-family homes and occasional two- and three-bedroom condominiums. There’s nothing terribly stately or historic, but that just means that most structures are on the newer end of things and more likely to be in good condition, needing less refurbishing then many of Chicago’s older buildings. As for the lot-size, a number of single-family ranches (we’re talking about the architectural style; you won’t find any cattle to rustle around here—just a little real estate humor) have modest yards, although for many folks you’ll have to take that kite flight or soccer game down to the park.

While you can purchase a two-bedroom condo along Cottage Grove Avenue for as little as $40,000, the vintage building is most likely in less than perfect shape and does not provide any parking spaces for your car. Obviously, you pay for what you get, and there are plenty of nicer units in Park Manor between the mid $100,000 and low $200,000 price range. These include some newer developments with sturdy construction and street parking space. But truthfully, the best bet for prime property in Park Manor neighborhood is single-family detached homes. One- and two-stories, bungalow-style houses, raised ranches and spit-levels are all common real estate here, and typically go for between $50,000 and $300,000.


What’s on the Menu?

Park Manor Real Estate

Walking around the streets of Park Manor is bound to work up an appetite, and luckily this Chicago neighborhood amply provides places to eat. With a specialty of old-fashioned, hearty American fare, Park Manor won’t let you go hungry.

If you only eat in one Park Manor restaurant (like if you’re just passing through or something), be sure to make it Army & Lou’s (422 E 75th St, 773-483-3100). Army and Lou’s is an excellent soul food establishment that features a comfortable family atmosphere. The servers are cheerful and friendly (and always willing to lend a hand or opinion in helping you leaf through the extensive menu), and if you’re lucky enough to dine here on your birthday, you’d better be ready for a raucous celebratory song belted out by staff and regular patrons alike. Of course good atmosphere isn’t worth much unless there’s good food to back it up. Lucky for us, Army and Lou’s serves some of the finest home-cooked meals around. Although everything is mouthwatering, we recommend their famed fried chicken, which is served with the fluffiest biscuits you’ve ever tasted. They’re also open for breakfast, which gives those of us with southern roots a chance for some real, honest-to-goodness grits.

Another popular place in Park Manor neighborhood for quality American-style fare is Uncle John’s Bar-B-Que (337 E 69th St, 773-892-1233). This little barbeque joint is always brimming with mouthwatering scents of delicious barbequing meat. The specialty of the house is the baby-back ribs, which come on a plate swimming in thick barbeque sauce. If ribs aren’t your thing (or if you prefer to keep your hands clean while eating), Uncle John’s offers a number of other dishes, such as the delectable barbeque brisket, which is only slightly messy. Seating is limited, so come early. If you’re looking for something other than barbeque, Pokey’s Deli & Grill (377 E 69th St, 773-846-2665) is a good direction to head. In addition to being a fine all-American deli (the perfect place to get those cold cuts and cheeses to build the ultimate sandwich), Pokey’s is also a darn good restaurant. The pleasant staff will seat you quickly and are always ready with a personal recommendation from the menu. As far as personal recommendations go, we’d tell you to get the simple, yet memorable, turkey club, which comes with choice of salad or soup. Pokey’s is a favorite among Park Manor residents for lunch, although it also draws quite a crowd for those who like a light dinner, as the menu primarily revolves around sandwiches, some breakfast items (pancakes, eggs, and the like), and awfully hearty hamburgers.

Now if you’ve got to eat on the run, there are still plenty of fine restaurants in the Park Manor neighborhood that cater to more of an 'order, pay, eat, and leave' clientele. Fajitas (352 E 71st St, 773-874-6399) serves up fast food from a (primarily) Mexican menu. There’s seating, but not a whole lot, so don’t be surprised if you have to take your order of tacos and burritos home with you. Fajitas offers a delicious selection of typical Mexican fare, including tostadas, tamales, and—surprise, surprise—fajitas, which, as you might guess from the name, is the specialty at this south side restaurant. Choose from chicken, steak, ground turkey, or vegetarian styles of this simple, yet tasty dish. Fajitas also offers a reasonable selection of non-Mexican cuisine, including hot dogs, gyros, and burgers.

However, if you’re really not in the mood for Mexican food, maybe you should turn your attention toward a place that specializes in something different, such as Baba’s Famous Steak & Lemonade (7100 S Michigan Ave, 773-873-0676). Baba’s is really a carryout place in the truest sense of the words; there are no seats, booths, counters, or anyplace to relax and eat. Basically, your options are to stand outside Baba’s while trying to wolf down your food, or take your order to go and make your way back home to enjoy your dinner there. We recommend eating in the comfort of your own home, as it significantly reduces your chances of spilling hot cheese sauce on your new blouse. You see, the 'famous steak' at Baba’s refers to a classic Philly cheesesteak sandwich, which fills a bun with a pile of thin strips of steak covered in melted cheese sauce, peppers, mushrooms, and a pinch of seasoning salt. But if you were thinking of enjoying this hot tasty meal-on-a-bun without grabbing a drink, we recommend a change of plans. Famous steak aside, the real reason to stop by Baba’s is the lemonade. The lemonade, though amazingly quenching on a hot afternoon, might not be quite what you expect. It’s a slushy drink that comes in a variety of flavors: strawberry, grape, fruit punch, orange, cherry, and, of course, classic lemon. A cup of the stuff also comes with a fresh watermelon or orange wedge stuck to the rim. This slushy concoction mixes the best fruit flavors with tangy lemons to create quite the cooling flavor sensation, something that’s definitely worth the trip to Baba’s.

For an entirely different flavor, head over to one of Park Manor’s Chinese dining establishments. Chan’s Chinese Kitchen Two (7117 S State St, 773-874-8366) is a small storefront restaurant, and what it lacks in size it makes up for in flavor. Wok-cooked delicacies await you behind the unassuming facade, which doesn’t make Chan’s look particularly special from the outside. But once you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the friendly staff, appetizing aroma, and a minimal touch of oriental decorations to set the mood. Then, once you’re seated, you can pour over the extensive menu. Don’t worry; it’s all good, so feel free to choose whatever strikes your fancy. We’re particularly fond of the chicken chow mein, but patrons can opt for a vegetable or pork variation on this dish as well. The egg rolls are pretty much always to die for (wonderfully crispy on the outside with moist inner layers), and the chef’s specialties such as the double dragon, a mix of shrimp, snow peas, and lobster, are fantastic. And, of course, Chan’s also does carryout and delivery service. If it’s a pure carryout experience you want, you can’t do much better than 71st Chop Suey (510 E 71st St, 773-488-5488). Although it lacks the extensive menu of Chan’s, there’s no reason to complain because this little Park Manor staple has its carryout and delivery system down pat. Egg foo young and garlic chicken arrive at your doorstep usually within half an hour, and the food itself is pretty darn tasty.

Best Shopping Stops

With so much of its space taken up by residences, Park Manor not surprisingly has only a handful of commercial retail developments. Of course, if you’re looking to spend some of the ole’ hard-earned green, then this Chicago neighborhood can accommodate your wishes.

Like all city dwellers, we often find walking to be the easiest transportation around. Since we spend so much time on our feet, we obviously need to take care of them. And what better care is there than a good pair of shoes? The Athlete’s Foot (750 E 79th St, 773-994-7211) provides everything you’d look for in a casual shoe store. As its name implies, the shop specializes in comfortable athletic footwear, perfect for covering miles of city sidewalk. (Sorry, if you need a new pair of heels for that big red carpet event or junior prom, you’ll have to look elsewhere.) But if you are in the market for sneakers for walking, running, basketball or soccer, then you couldn’t do better than this Park Manor location of Athlete’s Foot. The friendly staff will help you choose from their packed shelves of the latest and greatest in active footwear and assist you in finding that perfect fit in order to maximize your game and enhance movement. Makes you kind of feel like Cinderella, but without the glass slipper (how uncomfortable!) or the ugly stepsisters … Anyway, moving on to more shopping …

Say you are all set on the good pair of shoes already, or perhaps you hit up the Athlete’s Foot last weekend, well now it’s time to focus on the rest of your wardrobe. For this you might want to check out Park Manor’s answer to everyone’s fashion woes, Big City Fashions (7456 S Cottage Grove Ave, 773-651-3400). This south side neighborhood shop considers itself an 'urban clothing store,' and their sizable floor space offers quite a selection of trendy styles in both men’s and women’s apparel. Give yourself a little extra time to browse through their wide collection of jeans and original custom T-shirts—we almost always fine something cool that is one of those must-have items. Seriously, many of their clothes you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else, so stop by before they sell out of a particular cute item forever.



Night on the Town

Nightlife in Park manor is surprisingly active, with a nice range of bars and lounges to relax in. We’re going to point you toward a couple of our favorites, okay? Okay!

Rodney’s Cocktail Lounge (100 E 71st St, 773-962-9940) is almost always a happening place to be, and has been through the duration of its operation over the past 50 years. Smooth R&B fills your ears as you step towards the massive, oval bar that fills the room. After 5 pm, the place fills up with neighborhood regulars—there to relax after a hard day’s work. After all, don’t dollar shots (Tuesdays after 5 pm) and two-dollar drafts (Wednesdays and Thursdays after 5 pm) sound like a good happy hour deal? The atmosphere at that time (and really at all times) is friendly and comfortable, so it’s easy to make yourself at home and enjoy one of the many beers on tap (the usual being Bud, Old Style, etc.) or a cocktail mixed from the wide selection of fine spirits that adorn the back bar. The mirrored walls are lined with posters announcing the one- and two-dollar drink specials on Tuesdays—which make the early week pretty busy at Rodney’s—although not nearly as bustling as the weekends when all the locals come out for some nighttime fun. On Friday and Saturday nights, the back room (which features a bar of its own) opens up its dance floor, allowing a bevy of people to groove to the pumping Hip Hop tunes and shake their booties to their hearts content.

The neighborhood’s New Apartment Lounge (504 E 75th St, 773-483-7728), on the other hand, offers a very different flavor of Park Manor nightlife. This jazz club features live entertainment (sans cover or minimum drink purchase) many nights of the week (jazz isn’t just for the weekend). For one, Von Freeman and his quartet are there every Tuesday from around 10:30 pm ‘til the morning hours. A popular tradition at the New Apartment Lounge for over a decade, Freeman and company play lengthy sets, only pausing occasionally to take a breath and make the occasional self-effacing remark. Arrive at least thirty minutes before any of the music is set to begin, as the intimate main room fills up fast. The informal, friendly atmosphere helps make the New Apartment Lounge a great place to soak in some good jazz, whether neophyte or hardcore fan.

If you’re just looking for a basic bar to quietly enjoy your drink without all the hoopla of a club or a live show, Park Manor can accommodate. The Gold Post Lounge (501 E 71st St, 773-487-1255) and the Jackson Lounge (354 E 71st St, 773-651-7580) are about as basic a neighborhood watering hole as you can find. Just down the road from each other, both of these lounges afford comfortable settings to enjoy pretty standard drafts (Bud, Old Style, etc.). Gold Post offers patrons the use of a couple pool tables to enjoy while nursing their favorite brew, and the general pleasantness of people who enjoy drinking in each other’s familiar company. Jackson Lounge is pretty similar, and although it lacks the pool tables, it offers another nice place to relax and drink with other Park Manor locals.

Getting Around

We find walking to be a perfectly efficient way to get around Park Manor, but sometimes you need to go a bit further (or a bit faster) than your legs can carry you. Lucky for local residents, Chicago’s public transportation system (the CTA) has you covered.

We find the easiest and fastest of Chicago’s public transportation options comes by way of its elevated train system (known affectionately as the 'El'). The Red Line El runs right through the Park Manor neighborhood, and has a stop at 69th Street. From the 69th Street station, you can take the Red Line a few more blocks south (where it terminates) or north into Chicago’s busy downtown Loop and beyond, as the Red Line runs to the city’s far north side. With only a fifteen-minute trip downtown, the El provides an excellent option for work commuters, or for any other reason you might have to head deeper into the heart of the city. The CTA also offers a very extensive bus system, a number of which crisscross through Park Manor. For example, catching the #4 Cottage Grove Avenue bus will also take you to the Loop with relative ease.

If you prefer being behind the wheel yourself, Park Manor also allows easy access to the rest of the city by car. The Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) runs right through the west side of Park Manor with entrance ramps from State Street which runs parallel to the highway. Additionally, the Dan Ryan runs directly downtown, putting you one on-ramp away from a simple workday commute. The Chicago Skyway (I-90) is a toll way that also shoots through Park Manor, on the northeastern edge, although you can’t get on it going toward the Loop from the neighborhood as it is meant to be an express route to the city.

Generally, owning a vehicle in Park Manor isn’t terribly difficult compared to some neighborhoods closer to the city’s center. A number of Park Manor homes have garages and, for those that don’t, street parking is usually widely available, so no circling the block for 20 minutes in search of a spot to leave your car. Nice.

School’s in Session

Families find Park Manor has a number of public and private schools to choose from. In addition to the following list, you can find more information on Chicago area schools on our Chicago Guide Schools page.

Brownell Elementary School 6741 S Michigan Ave – (773) 535-3030
Chicago SDA Academy 7008 S Michigan Ave – (773) 873-3005
Deneen Elementary School 7240 S Wabash Ave – (773) 535-3035
Park Manor Elementary School 7037 S Rhodes Ave – (773) 535-3070
Saint Columbanus School 7120 S Calumet Ave – (773) 224-3811

Basic Needs

We’ve compiled a sampling of some of the places you can get your bare necessities in Park Manor, from floss to flakes (corn or otherwise), postage to pharmaceuticals.
Chicago Transit Authority (888) 968-7282


Libraries

Avalon Branch 8148 S Stoney Island – (312) 747-5234


Post Office

7748 S Cottage Grove Ave (800) ASK-USPS


Pharmacies

Walgreens 6330 S King Dr – (773) 324-8500


Emergency Rooms

Elmhurst Memorial Hospital 200 Berteau Ave (630) 833-1400


Grocery Stores

Latif Foods 381 E 69th St – (773) 783-7094
Omar Meat Market 200 E 69th St – (773) 651-0380

SHOPPING

The Athlete’s Foot 750 E 79th St – (773) 994-7211
Big City Fashions 7456 S Cottage Grove Ave – (773) 651-3400
Featuring Styles 435 E 71st St – (773) 723-6808
Newell Apparel 724 E 79th St – (773) 488-5364
Reflections 7151 S State St – (773) 371-0700

DINING

American Cuisine
Army & Lou’s 422 E 75th St – (773) 483-3100
Baba’s Famous Steak & Lemonade 7100 S Michigan Ave – (773) 873-0676
Birdie’s Family Dining 6817 S South Chicago Ave – (773) 896-2303
Pit’s Restaurant 6913 S South Chicago Ave – (773) 752-7266
Pokey’s Deli & Grill 377 E 69th St – (773) 846-2665
Roy’s Soul Food 403 E 71st St – (773) 873-1990
Uncle John’s Bar-B-Que 337 E 69th St – (773) 892-1233

There’s a lot of mystery involved in searching for a new home-it starts with the property and expands outward to encompass the street, the block, the neighborhood, the entire city! Every little thing matters from the color of the walls to the attractions of the town. That’s why a guide like this one on Park Manor is so helpful to potential homebuyers. Without leaving the comfort of your desktop computer or laptop, you’ve got an extensive pool of information on all of Chicago’s neighborhoods that includes first-hand descriptions of dining, entertainment, shopping, bars, and events, in addition to lists of schools, hospitals, post offices, and gyms. We’ve done all the research to carefully craft this one-stop online spot, and create your hub for the real deal on Park Manor. So as soon as a Chicago loft, condo, townhome or house catches your eye, you know where to come for the low down on the digs around that prime piece of real estate.