What Food Defines Your City?

Whatever city you live in, there are foods and restaurants that define your area that cannot be found anywhere else. Being a Chicagoan, I love to indulge in my city’s best, and show it to my friends when they visit. Keep reading to see my list of top Chicago eats.

1. Portillo’s: If you visit this classic eatery in Chicago or the `burbs, make sure you get a hot dog, italian beef, or chopped salad. And get a side of onion rings. Any Chicagoan will tell you about the wonders of Portillo’s, and the best part about it is that it’s not found anywhere else in the US.

2. The Chicago-Style Hot Dog: Speaking of hot dogs, make sure you eat yours Chicago-style. That means a boiled hot dog on a poppyseed bun with no ketchup, and lots of yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. Remember, no ketchup! The best place to get one is Gene and Jude’s, and the McDonald’s next door doesn’t give out ketchup since too many hot dog-eaters would go there and ask for it. You’ll have to buy a ketchup packet if you decide to act like a foreigner!

3. Deep Dish Pizza: Chicago’s pizza is the best in the country, and deep dish is the only way to eat it. Many would argue that Giordano’s has the best deep dish pizza, which you often eat with a fork and knife because the slices are so large and so cheesy.

4. Garrett’s Popcorn: There’s no popcorn in the country as well-known as Garrett’s. If you get the chance to go, make sure to get the Chicago Mix — half cheese popcorn and half caramel popcorn. Also, the popcorn will last less than a day before going stale if you don’t move it to an airtight bag or container. It’s made fresh, and you have to eat it fresh!

5. Chicago Beers: There are lots of beers made in Chicago, and I love supporting my city when I go out on the town. While Goose Island is a must drink and must visit bar in Wrigleyville, there are also some lesser known craft beers that I suggest you try. Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter and Over Ale are two of my faves, and Emilie loves anything from Revolution, such as Double Fist.

6. Any Restaurant Run By a Famous Chef or that’s Basically Famous: Dale from Top Chef runs Sprout, and Stephanie’s Girl and the Goat is legendary among Chicago restaurant enthusiasts. You can also hit up any number of restaurants from Rick Bayless, and you’ll be astounded at the unique food that’s prepared. One of the best restaurants I’ve been to downtown is Perennial Virant (read our review here and photojournal here). Also, you can’t go wrong with Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, such as RJ Grunt’s, a favorite of Cub’s manager Theo Epstein.

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  • Franny

    I love garrett’s popcorn!

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