13 Iconic Foods That Every Chicagoan Must Eat (at Least Once)
Chicago’s both the Windy City and the City of Big Shoulders. It’s only fitting, then, that the city’s most iconic foods are the hearty type that power you through a cold day and a tough workweek. From burgers to hot dogs, we’ve rounded them all up here.
Deep Dish from Lou Malnati’s
New York pies be damned—this is the best pizza there is.
Multiple locations; loumalnatis.com
Hot Dog from Superdawg
Three rules: Absolutely no ketchup; it must be Vienna Beef; and it better come smushed in a box with fries (and pickled tomato).
6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-763-0660 or superdawg.com
Ice Cream from Original Rainbow Cone
For the original Original Rainbow Cone, head south to Beverly. If you’re in a hurry, you can also get your fix at the Navy Pier outpost.
9233 S. Western Ave.; 773-238-7075 or rainbowcone.com
Italian Beef from Al’s #1 Italian Beef
Starting with a Little Italy storefront in 1938, this now nearly ubiquitous chain claims to have invented the beloved sandwich.
Multiple locations; alsbeef.com
Smoked Salmon from Calumet Fisheries
This legendary smokehouse has been churning out some of the city’s best seafood since 1948.
3259 E. 95th St.; 773-933-9855 or calumetfisheries.com
Cheesecake from Eli’s
The name now known for cheesecake originally belonged to a Streeterville steakhouse. Eli’s The Place for Steak no longer exists, but the dessert lives on.
6701 Forest Dr.; 773-308-7015 or elicheesecake.com
Cheeseburger from Billy Goat Tavern
The burger that launched John Belushi’s career.
430 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-222-1525 or billygoattavern.com
Hot Giardiniera from J.P. Graziano’s
No Italian sub is complete without the spicy, crunchy mix.
901 W. Randolph St.; 312-666-4587 or jpgraziano.com
Fried Chicken from Crisp
The perfectly caramelized Korean fried chicken has a serious cult following.
2940 N. Broadway St.; 773-697-7610 or crisponline.com
Steak Jibarito from El Nuevo Borinquen
This beloved Puerto Rican sandwich gets layered between fried plantains instead of bread—genius.
1720 N. California Ave.; 773-799-8390
Chicago Mix from Garrett Popcorn
Lines have been known to wrap around the corner, and then the next corner, for the crunchy nutty goodness.
Multiple locations; garrettpopcorn.com