Afternoon Edition: Chicago’s grocery store access problem gets worse

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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A produce aisle at a Lake View East Jewel supermarket is stocked with a variety of fresh foods — items that shoppers say they want more of in their neighborhood grocery stores.

Mariah Rush/Sun-Times

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

How close is your nearest major grocery store?

For many Chicagoans, getting to one is a bit of a hike.

A WBEZ and Sun-Times analysis found that the number of Chicagoans living more than a mile away from a supermarket or superstore has jumped by 63% in the last decade.

More on the state of food access and the other stories you need to know this afternoon below. 👇

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


Exodus of major, full-service grocers offering healthy variety paints a bleak picture of food access for some in Chicago

Reporting by Mariah Rush and Alden Loury

Too far from fresh food: Low food access in Chicago — measured by the city’s 2013 definition as anyone living more than a mile from a large grocery store — has jumped by 63% in the last decade, a WBEZ-Chicago Sun-Times analysis found. The data paints a bleak picture for people on the South and West sides of the city who might not have access to thriving supermarkets.

Store closings worsen problem: Several major store closings in recent months — including a Walmart Supercenter in Chatham, a Whole Foods in Englewood and an Aldi in Gresham — have left people living in these neighborhoods upset and scrambling to find full-service stores where they can buy fresh, healthy foods at a low cost.

Inadequate replacements: Some residents have criticized the presence of discount grocers, such as Save A Lot and Food 4 Less, and an increasing number of dollar stores, as unsuitable substitutes for the major grocers that have moved out, questioning whether the discount grocers stores offer high-quality, healthy or diverse options. Food access and industry experts are also skeptical.



  • The mayor’s top cop pick: Larry Snelling, the Chicago Police Department’s counterterrorism chief, was formally introduced today as Mayor Brandon Johnson’s choice to be the city’s new top cop. At the news conference, Snelling outlined his top priorities, which include improving officer wellness and making every cop a community policing officer.
  • City, police union back to bargaining table: After a pair of defeats at the bargaining table, Mayor Johnson’s administration is trying to settle unresolved portions of the police contract with the Fraternal Order of Police.
  • Migrant families say motel kicked them out: Two families that had been staying at a Rogers Park motel set up by the city to house migrants said Saturday they were told to leave after missing an 11 p.m. curfew by seven minutes the night before.
  • Aurora-raised former cartel leader seeks leniency: Pablo Vega Cuevas — once at the center of a Mexico-to-Chicago heroin-trafficking operation — is seeking a reduced sentence of 15 years for his role in running the Guerreros Unidos cartel. Vega is hoping his cooperation with federal investigators will be taken into consideration.
  • Law aims to protect kid influencers in social media: Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed a bill into law that aims to ensure child social media influencers are compensated for their work. The law will entitle child influencers to a percentage of earnings, the Associated Press reports.
  • Chance the Rapper to celebrate hip-hop on Mag Mile: The Chatham-born star will head Wednesday to Apple’s Michigan Avenue location, where he’ll talk hip-hop’s 50th anniversary and the last 10 years of his career.
  • Pink wows in sold-out Wrigley set: The superstar took to the Friendly Confines for a set filled with gymnastics, acrobatics and high-flying vocals.


Grab a drink at Right Bee Cider


Right Bee Cider in Hermosa

Brett Chase/Sun-Times

I caught up with Sun-Times reporter Brett Chase, who recommends stopping by Right Bee Cider on the Northwest Side.

Located in an old bike building, the business makes and packages its cider on-site. Plus, it’s kid- and dog-friendly.

“I love Chicago’s abundance and variety of breweries, and I never considered myself a cider guy until I tried Right Bee Cider in Hermosa,” Brett tells me. “There’s no food, but you can bring it in, and there are good restaurant options nearby.

“I prefer the dry ciders, but there’s an intriguing mix offered, including the Wilco-approved Muzzle of Bees,” Brett says.

📍 Right Bee Cider, 1830 N. Kostner Ave.


Members of the Empiire Dance Company perform during the annual Bud Billiken Parade along South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in the Bronzeville neighborhood, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Members of the Empiire Dance Company perform during the 94th annual Bud Billiken Parade along Martin Luther King Drive in Bronzeville Saturday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Bud Billiken Parade puts South Side’s spirit on display: ‘It brings out the kid in everyone’

Reporting by Violet Miller and Jacquelyne Germain

The Bud Billiken Parade drove thousands of people to Bronzeville Saturday morning for the 94th edition of the nation’s largest and longest-running African American parade.

The annual back-to-school celebration is known for bringing a good time to Martin Luther King Drive in the name of Bud Billiken, a fictional character created by newspaper publisher Robert Sengstacke Abbott in the 1920s.

This year’s parade, the third since it took a break for the COVID-19 pandemic, was led by 2023 Grammy Award-winning poet and Chicago native J. Ivy as its grand marshal. Last month, he told the Sun-Times it was the ”ultimate honor.”

During the parade, Erin Joi Carmack walked alongside the Made By Money dance company, as her daughter Riley danced with the group for her second year in a row.

Despite the long day and preparation, Carmack said she was excited to see her daughter perform in the parade again.

“I attended [this parade] as a youth, so to be an adult with my daughter in it is a surreal feeling,” Carmack said.



What is one meal from a Chicago restaurant that you can’t live without?

Email us (please include your first and last name and where you live). To see the answers to this question, check our Morning Edition newsletter. Not subscribed to Morning Edition? Sign up here so you won’t miss a thing!

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Editor: Satchel Price
Newsletter reporter: Matt Moore
Copy editor: Angie Myers

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