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Pizza and hot dogs? Yeah, Chicago still does 'em great. (See #1 and #2.) But when locals wind up homesick and craving the food that really makes them long for sweet home Chicago, these are the cult-classic dishes they dream about, and the ones you need to try.

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Pepperoni pan pizza at Pequod’s

The pepperoni is crispy. The cheesy is gooey, but it’s the crunchy caramelized crust that gets us every time.

2207 N. Clybourn Ave.; 773-327-1512 or pequodspizza.com

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Duck fat dog at The Duck Inn

You can go for a classic Chicago dog, or you can up your game with a juicy beef-and-duck link that takes this ballpark food to a whole new level.

2701 S. Eleanor St.; 312-724-8811 or theduckchicago.com

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Carrot cake at Gibson’s

You can?t not Instagram this monster. It?s bigger than your head.

1028 N. Rush St.; 312-266-8999 or gibsonssteakhouse.com

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Pizza potpie at Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co.

It’s not quite deep dish, it’s not quite pot pie. You must try it yourself to understand. No regrets.

2121 N. Clark St.; 773-248-2570 or chicagopizzaandovengrinder.com

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Caramel and cheesy popcorn mix at Garrett’s

Our signature sweet-and-savory treat is worth the line at Garrett’s.

Locations here

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Whole duck at Sun Wah BBQ

The skin is crispy. The meat is moist. The price is low. Order ahead--these birds fly out of the kitchen.

5039 N. Broadway; sunwahbbq.com

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Beef Wellington at Swift & Sons

There are too many steak houses in Chicago to pick just one, but this is the steak of the moment. Served with mushrooms, foie gras and spinach in a puff pastry.

1000 W. Fulton Market; 312-733-9420 or swiftandsonschicago.com

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Chickpea fritters at Girl and the Goat

Only Stephanie Izard could make a vegetable taste this good.

809 W. Randolph St.; 312-492-6262 or girlandthegoat.com

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Arroz Gordo at Fat Rice

A big bowl of Macanese flavor, aka rice layered with about eight different kinds of meat and seafood. Oh, and eggs. This rice is fat.

2957 W. Diversey Ave.; 773-661-9170

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Endive salad at Blackbird

This delicate creation served in a crisp bird?s nest and topped with a perfectly poached egg arguably kicked off a food revolution in Chicago.

619 W. Randolph St.; 312-715-0708 or blackbirdrestaurant.com

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cheeseburger at Au Cheval

A perfect diner-style burger with two thin patties, a buttery bun, melty cheese and a not-so-diner-style three-hour wait.

800 W. Randolph St.; 312-929-4580 or auchevalchicago.com

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Chorizo-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates at Avec

You can bring a date. As long as he?s wrapped in bacon. 

615 W. Randolph St.; 312-377-2002 or avecrestaurant.com

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Honey butter fried chicken at Honey Butter Fried Chicken

Hot, crispy, tender perfection made even better by the fact that you slather sweet butter on it.

3361 N. Elston Ave.; 773-478-4000 or honeybutter.com

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Cassoulet at Sunday Dinner Club

At the secret club associated with Honey Butter Fried Chicken, devouring the ultimate wintertime casserole will be easy. Getting on the word-of-mouth-only mailing list? A little more challenging.

773-878-2717 or sundaydinnerclub.com

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Belgian-style mussels at Hopleaf

Steamed in beer and served with a pile of piping hot frites, they’re everything you always knew mussels could be.

5148 N. Clark St.; 773-334-9851 or hopleafbar.com

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Milanesa torta at XOCO

Crispy, creamy, spicy, layered, griddled, huge. Too incredible to really call a “sandwich.”

449 N. Clark St.; 312-661-1434 or rickbayless.com

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Maple bacon long john at Glazed & Infused

When you realize you can eat bacon on top of a doughnut, nothing is ever the same.

Locations here

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Green bean salad at In-On Thai

A mountain of exotic-tasting goodness with shrimp, ground pork and hard-boiled eggs swimming in sweet coconut milk.

3821 N. Broadway St.; 773-857-2475 or inonthai.com

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Pecan sandies at Baker & Nosh

These cookies taste and crumble like they have a stick of butter in every bite. That is to say, they?re incredible.

1303 W. Wilson Ave.; 773-989-7393 or bakerandnosh.com

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Honey ham empanada at Café Tola

All of the piping-hot empanadas at this tiny spot are worth waiting in the Saturday morning line for, but this one is basically a deep-fried version of our favorite breakfast sandwich. So there?s that.

3612 N. Southport Ave.; 773-687-8428 or cafetola.net

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Steak and ale pie at Pleasant House Bakery

The savory treat with the flaky crust that proves British food’s not all bad...as long as it’s served in Chi-town.

964 W. 31st St.; 773-523-7437 or pleasanthousebakery.com

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Maple bourbon pecan pie at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits

They get the crust-to-nut-to-custard texture exactly right. See?

2051 N. California Ave.; 773-276-8888 or bangbangpie.com

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