Friday, I posted about what to do in Chicago. Today, I am sharing where to eat and drink in Chicago. Chicago has some great restaurants and many wonderful places to grab your favorite drink, or to try a new one.
Disclaimer: I was in Chicago with three photographers and two videographers, but we chose to be present with one another and took very few photos. All of these were taken with an iPhone, so the quality is not the best.
Where to eat in Chicago
Gino’s East- Gino’s East has perfected the art of Chicago-style pizza. We checked out the Gold-Coast, Superior location and loved the graffiti covered walls. Between the golden crust, delicious sauce and loads of cheese, Gino’s East changed my opinion about how to eat pizza. I am just thankful to live near one of the only locations outside of Chicago (Dallas).
Lou Malnati’s- If you have talked to anyone from Chicago about their favorite pizza place, 9 times out of 10 they will say Lou Malnati’s. Our group went to the Lincoln Park cafe location, and my only complaint was that it wasn’t a full-service restaurant and bar, although they do have beer and wine. Chicago has 46 Lou Malnati locations to choose from, including takeout and delivery locations.
Portillo’s Hot Dogs– Colton loves hot dogs so much that it is not unusual for him to stop by a gas station on his way home to grab them. He was so thrilled with Portillo’s, that he went back the next day. Chicago hot dogs are a “must-have” when you visit Chicago, and Portillo’s Hot Dogs are infamous.
Kim and Carlo’s Chicago Hot Dog Stand– Not only does this stand have Chicago style hot dogs, but they offer turkey and vegan style too.
Siena Tavern- Siena Tavern is a Chicago Italian kitchen with unique pizzas and entrees. We stopped in for a late night bite and drinks before karaoke. Order the caramelized Brussels sprouts pizza. You won’t be sorry. However, drink prices are a little steep. We were all shocked by the “famous” old fashioned and Manhattan’s price tags, $18 and $21 respectively.
Forbidden Root- On our friend Jeff’s actual birthday, we had reservations at Forbidden Root, Restaurant and Brewery. They even personalized a menu for our group. A couple of the guys enjoyed the beer flights and the rest of us enjoyed some delicious craft cocktails. Forbidden Roots cocktails have unique flavors mixed in. Their mule even has their own “Sublime Ginger” beer. The dinner menu focuses on quality, not quantity. Although there weren’t an overwhelming amount of choices, there were several vegetarian and healthy options. Colton and I split the burger and a side salad, and it was great.
Tavern on Rush- All weekend, I was craving a good brunch. On our last day in Chicago (Labor Day), we found this gem. Tavern on Rush has a fantastic brunch menu. We all had a difficult time choosing what to eat, because everything looked and sounded amazing. I decided on chilaquiles and eggs with chorizo, and it was my favorite meal of the trip. The restaurant felt like a country club, with all of the dark wood paneling, but everything from the food and drinks, to the decor was picturesque.
Big Star- Big Star knows their tacos. Their menu is simple, tacos, chips and salsa, queso fundido, salads and a couple of sides. Big Star’s al pastor and chorizo tacos were my favorite. They have vegetarian friendly tacos as well.
Shake Shack- Yes, I realize we now have a Shake Shack in Dallas, but my first experience with this place was in Chicago. Their shakes are made with custard, so they are extra thick and creamy. Their burgers are amazing and the shakes are even better, so stop in if you have never tried it.
Chicago Diner- Although we did not have a great experience, Chicago Diner came highly recommended to us. They are a vegetarian/vegan restaurant and their menu looks delicious. We came in for some of their infamous vegan milkshakes. It took almost an hour (48 minutes) to get 5 shakes. In addition to the slow service, the servers were rude and made a snarky comment to our table. The shakes were wonderful, but it was not worth the incredibly long wait.
Where to grab a drink in Chicago
Yak-Zies- Yak-Zies is in Wrigleyville was right across the street from the stadium. The food isn’t anything to write home about but the drinks were affordable and our waitresses are super friendly. The bar has a fun atmosphere and great prices. It is worth checking out next time you are in Wrigleyville.
Headquarters Beercade- HQ Beercade is one of the coolest bars we visited in Chicago. It is a giant arcade with alcohol where all games are free. I felt like I was twelve again, playing Mortal Kombat and Pac Man.
Signature Room Lounge- You can pay to visit 360 Chicago and get some amazing views of the city, or you can go to the Signature Room Lounge on the 96th floor and enjoy the view for free. Grab a drink, walk around the lounge, and take photos from 96 floors above ground. I am not exaggerating when I say they have the best chocolate martini I have ever had.
Ladies, don’t forget to check out the restroom while you are there. The whole back wall is a window overlooking Chicago, so grab a selfie with a view.
The Wormhole Coffee- Walking in to Wormhole Coffee is like walking into a time machine to the 80s. All of the walls are covered in posters with characters from famous 80s movies. You will see figurines of 80s characters and a DeLorean like Back to the Future. Their coffees are great, but this place is a must see for the decor.
Heritage Bicycles and Coffee- Colton and I stumbled in this cool bicycle and coffee shop on our first visit to Chicago. The coffee is great and the bicycles and gear are fun to look at. This is a great coffee house to relax, read, or get some work done while you are in town.
If you are looking for fun things to do on your trip to Chicago, then check out post one of this series.
Are you visiting soon? I hope you got some ideas on where to eat and drink in Chicago. Leave me a comment below with your favorite places, or what you would like to try.