Chicago Series: Where to Eat and Drink in Chicago

September 12, 2016
love you more too north dallas blogger plano lifestyle blogger food bloger Where to eat and drink in Chicago

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).

What to eat and drink in Chicago

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

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.


If you are looking for fun things to do on your trip to Chicago, then check out post one of this series.


PIN for later

PIN for later


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.

  • Jessica Tondre September 12, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Love your tips! We go to Chicago once a year and are always searching Yelp! Now I just need you to do one on New York ;)!!!

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Haha. I have been to NY several times before I started blogging. I just need to go back so I can get photos and do a refresher. 😉 Thanks so much.

  • Chrissy September 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Great tips! We loved Lou Malnati’s and we loved Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza! Portillo’s was a must just like any kind of Chicago hot dog!

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      That deep dish pizza has a part of my heart for sure.

  • Mai Lyn Ngo September 12, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Wow you did A LOT in Chicago! It’s a great foodie city for sure and where i had my first shake shack burger! So good.

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      I did! I am always a go go go girl on trips. That food is incredible. I miss it already.

  • Christian Plush Simone September 12, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I gained 5 lbs reading this blog. This seems like a foodie’s dream.

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Haha. It really is. I wish I could go back already.

  • dixya @food, pleasure, and health September 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    i have been to chicago couple of times but not visited any of these places. thank you for the recommendation. i love getting drinks and view from the signature lounge though. i have also heard great things about girl and the goat but we couldnt get reservation on time.

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Next time you have a few more places to check out. I haven’t heard girl and the goat… I need to look at that next time.

  • Neely (@Neelykins) September 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Tavern on Rush is one of my favs! I love Ginos too! So much fun.

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Food twins! 🙂

  • Rebecca Hicks September 12, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Wow I shouldn’t have read this while hungry! That pizza looked AAAHHMMAAZING. I need to visit Chicago, if only to try some authentic deep dish pizza! And girl… You did a LOT while you were there. I’m impressed!

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      haha. I shouldn’t have written it while hungry. Every time I see a photo I get hungry all over again. We need to go to the Ginos East in DFW. It is super authentic and tastes exactly the same (they sell a frozen one at Central Market too that is legit).

  • Jessica September 13, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I have never been to Chicago but this makes me want to go, the food and locations look amazing!

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:42 am

      It’s a foodie dream for sure. 🙂

  • candy September 13, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Love going to Heritage General Store when up visiting Chicago. A person could eat their way around Chicago.

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Absolutely! I like to eat my way through most cities. 😉

  • Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife September 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I haven’t really spent a lot of time in Chicago but really need to! I hear the food is amazing, and this looks like a fun spot. Love the neon sign 🙂

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:43 am

      It is a blast! One of my favorite U.S. Cities

  • Katherine Turro September 13, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Chicago is such a cool and fun city and I had an amazing time when I went a few years ago! I love your recommendations!

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Thanks, Katherine. It is one of my favorite cities for sure!

  • Lindsey September 13, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    Yay!! This is awesome! LOVE your page, by the way! My husband and I are going to Chicago in March and it’ll be his first time. I will definitely be using your recommendations! Thanks so much!

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Thanks, Lindsey! That means a lot coming from you. I hope you have an amazing trip. There are so many great things to do and places to eat. 🙂

  • Stephanie Suire September 14, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    What a fun trip!!! I have never been to Chicago, so I will pin this for when I do plan a visit. Sound like pizza, beer and hot dogs are a must when I visit. Great recommendations.

    • Jessica September 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Absolutely! You got it in a nutshell. haha. Thanks for the pin, Steph!

  • Betsy September 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Coming over from Grow Your Blog! Cracks me up when people love Yak-Zies, it’s always the last resort, end of a night of drinking place haha. Let me know if you need any recommendations for your next visit there are definitely some must visit/eat places you need to try!

    • Jessica September 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Haha. Like I said, the food was meh, but the people were fun. Honest to goodness, we went in three places not serving food at the time we were there (like 11:30-12:00ish game day), and this was the first place that said they were.

  • Anushka Wickramaratne September 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    This is so helpful, Jessica! Chicago has been on my bucket list for the longest time and it will definitely make planning a trip there less stressful with all these places in mind. (: