In this week’s Seek Like a Local, Sharris Wilson-Salazar shares inexpensive ways to indulge in Chicago culture as she shares her favorite food spots, breweries, and local shops in the city.
Explore Chicago Like Sharris Wilson-Salazar
You can see her multi-hyphenate with a passion for people and an eye for design through her relaunch business By Sharris. Tune into her biweekly virtual networking series called ‘Cocktail Hour.’ Every Wednesday on Instagram live (by_sharris), as she connects with a guest and makes their favorite cocktail recipe live while focusing on a topic that impacts creatives, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.
What’s something free or inexpensive to do that people in Chicago may not know about?
I’m a craft beer girl and this city makes a ton of good beer! I started my beer club in 2016, Brown Women Who Beer(BWWB), for this exact reason. You can find so many great breweries and taprooms across the city that have their own stories, personality, signature brews, and dishes. A lot of the local breweries have free or inexpensive tours during the week and on weekends. One of my favorite tours and taprooms is Lagunitas in Pilsen—it was a huge hit when they hosted us for BWWB but the tour is always fun! Revolution Brewery and Goose Island are a must but I also highly recommend checking out the tasting room at 5 Rabbit Cerveceria in Bedford Park and the tour and tap room at my neighborhood brewery, Half Acre. I literally could go on and on so if you ever need a recommendation, I’m your girl!
What Chicago Musician Are you listening to right now?
I’ve been a fan of Saba‘s music for years now – I remember when he had his first big show at Lincoln Hall and he’s blown up since then. I love how he raps about Chicago and keeps it real with his experiences over such beautiful instrumentals. He’s got a bit of an old soul and as a person, he seems to have a big heart. He currently has out new music so hopeful that there’s a full album coming soon *fingers crossed* . Check him out on Apple Music, Spotify, etc.
What Chicago Restaurant will you go out of your way for, just because it’s that good?
Living in Chicago has the amazing advantage of having so many great cuisines represented here and I’m a foodie so I love exploring! I will say that the one meal that I will always drive across the city for is the authentic Mexican seafood dishes at El Barco Mariscos in Wicker Park. It’s one of my husband’s favorites and he took me there when we first started dating and I’ve been hooked ever since. They have a huge menu but my favorite is their Diablo Shrimp or the shareable whole Red Snapper dinner. One of the best things at the restaurant isn’t even on the menu – it’s one of the complimentary salsas they bring to the table, their Salsa Negra—I crave it all the time!
What are your favorite Chicago Shops?
Recently, my favorite local shop has been Soap Distillery. Although the shop is online, you can pick it up locally from their headquarters or one of the local suppliers listed on their site. All of their products are cocktail and spirits themed so they smell amazing! These have made great stocking stuffers during the holidays but also excellent gifts for my Cocktail Hour guests and my favorite scents so far have been the Elderflower Mimosa and shockingly, the Beer and Cigarettes! They are local and Black-woman owned so I’ll always be glad to support them. When it comes to my ‘hood,’ I live in the Edgewater/Andersonville area so I also always have to pop in the Women & Children First Bookstore as well as Rattleback Records to check for a new Prince vinyl!
What Community Organizations Do you support?
The Gray Matter Experience , one of my best friends started this organization back in 2016 and I’ve loved seeing her vision impact so many youths in Chicago. Britney has worked extremely hard to build a program that has cultivated not only entrepreneurship skills but has also instilled the importance that it’s ok to dream big and go after it – no matter who you are or where you’re from. The teenagers that she has worked with have done some incredible things with their businesses and I’m happy to always support GME in any way that I can.
Seek Like A Local, and discover things to do, places to dine, and more of what the city of Chicago has to offer this week. Check out previous guides from influential Chicago locals here.