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Dee Hawkins, who grew up in the house where she lives today, has watched Bronzeville swing from middle-class gentility to downtrodden and back. “When I was growing up, this was the downtown of the South Side,” says Dee, 52. “You had cobblers, haberdashers, and real butchers with chickens running around.” Bronzeville, once called Chicago’s Black Metropolis, is now a mix of historic landmarks and thriving businesses—a rapidly gentrifying hub for young African American couples on the verge of starting families. Dee says the neighborhood ladies still go to Sims on 47th (618 E. 47th St.; 773-538-6544), an old-school barbershop, to get their eyebrows done alongside men who eschew the swanky amenities offered by At Da Barber Shop (343 E. 47th St.; 773-855-5777), an upscale newcomer. Dee, an independent Mary Kay sales director, gets dressy shoes at Sensual Steps Shoe Salon (4518 S. Cottage Grove Ave., No. 1; 773-548-3338), “fabulous” macchiatos at Bronzeville Coffee & Tea (528 E. 43rd St.; 773-536-0494), and massages at Bahdy Therapy (635 E. 47th St.; 773-344-7124). Soul food is big here. Among the many worthy destinations, Dee favors Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles (3947 S. King Dr.; 773-536-3300) for its namesake offerings and Mama Lou’s (124 E. 35th St.; 312-326-6400) for the short ribs, smothered chicken, and peach cobbler. Her choice for Chinese takeout? New China Café (225 E. 47th St.; 773-548-0384): “I love their fried rice and lobster-style shrimp.”Edit Module
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