About Us

Owner, Lisa SantosPlease stop by and experience our exciting array of specialty food groceries and a charming café serving modern comfort food at 3552 N. Southport (just south of Addison). In the middle of the burgeoning shopping and dining destination that is the Southport Avenue corridor, Southport Grocery & Café captures the quality-focused, yet down-to-earth nature of its Lakeview neighbors. This same balance occurs in the café’s kitchen, with dishes that are at once modern and new, yet accessible and comforting.

The Beginnings

 My passion for food began at an early age.

“I still have my first cookbook from when I was 5 years old. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sleepovers at my grandma’s house where we’d just hang out in the kitchen and bake.” So after over 10 years in Financial Services at CNA, I decided to follow my passion for food and enrolled in the Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC).”

“From the very beginning, even before cooking school, I had thought of starting my own food business. When I travel, I love digging around in fine food groceries just as much as I like dining at new restaurants. Southport Grocery and Café is a great blend of both of these interests – interests that I think many Chicagoans share.”

“I like doing things that aren’t already done, and this combination of fine food groceries and a café meets the needs of people who love to cook as well as those who just love to eat!”

The Grocery

While many specialty grocers have an international focus, Southport Grocery & Café fills an unusual niche by first concentrating on domestic foodstuffs….and many items made and packaged in our own kitchens.

“It’s such an interesting time in American food production. It’s very possible now to find high-quality specialty products and artisanally produced foodstuffs right here in the U.S.” And I admit that finding a passionate producer or artisan is almost as important as the product itself.”

“I really enjoy the hunt of finding things that are good AND domestic. The best part of that search is finding a company where the owners are just as excited about being found, as you are about to taste their product. That energy and momentum really carries through to our enthusiasm in the store.”

The Café

With focus on quality, it goes without saying that the café menu changes seasonally to reflect the best products available. Plus most menu items are available for carryout.

So whether you like to cook or just eat, I look forward to meeting you.

Lisa Santos