Down south, if you get a hankering for meatloaf or fried chicken, you visit a meat and three. You pick up a tray, point to your cholesterol-be-damned protein of choice, and then load it up with three slightly healthier sides. It’s always the same: one meat, three sides. But when the concept migrated north, local chefs tweaked away. They defied the number and sanctity of the sides (tabbouleh?). Nonetheless, here’s what to order at the three best Chicago variations on the Southern theme.

Fried Chicken at MacArthur's Restaurant
Soul Food Meat and Two

MacArthur’s Restaurant

Lunch or dinner
5412 W. Madison St.

Photos: Jeff Marini

Fried Chicken, $6.99

1. Yams
2. Mashed potatoes and gravy
3. Add-on:Red velvet cake ($3)


Chopped Brisket Sandwich at Bub City
(Mostly) Southern Meat and Three

Bub City

Lunch Monday to Friday
435 N. Clark St.

Chopped Brisket Sandwich, $16

1. Cucumber and tomato salad
2. Barbecue nachos
3. Mac and cheese
4. Add-on:Peanut butter and chocolate pie ($3)


Meatloaf Wellington at Saint Lou's Assembly
1950s Classics Reborn Meat and Three

Saint Lou’s Assembly

Lunch or dinner
664 W. Lake St.

Meatloaf Wellington, $18

1. Grilled asparagus
2. Tabbouleh
3. Ratatouille
4. Add-on:Lavender gin lemonade ($10)