Chicago is often named among America’s top food cities, in fact, in 2015 at the James Beard Awards gala, it managed to steal the show, taking the top honors from New York City, which owned it for nearly a quarter of a century.
Whether you’re planning a visit, have just purchased a property among Chicago real estate, or are thinking of doing so, you’ll be spoiled for choices when it comes to great eats, but these iconic dishes you’ll have to put on your must-try list.
Chicago is most renowned for its deep-dish pizza, which is often said to have been birthed at Pizzeria Uno back in 1943 by its founder, Ike Sewell. A Chicago Daily News report back in 1956 disputes that, claiming that it was the restaurant’s original pizza chef Rudy Mainati that developed the recipe. Whomever invented this pizza with a thick crust that resembles a pie more than typical flatbread style, there’s no doubt that it’s the Windy City’s most iconic dish. Today, the eatery that serves the very best is up for debate. Some say it’s still Uno’s, other mention Gino’s East, Lou Malnati’s, or Pequods, where patrons will wait in line for as long as two hours to indulge in its unique twist, with toppings on puffy, buttery crust pies that ooze with gooey mozzarella and mouthwatering tomato sauce.
Chicagoans love their Italian beef, something that’s as natural to the locals here as brautwurst and sauerkraut in Germany. It’s a sandwich made using a fresh roll topped with thinly sliced roast beef that’s dipped in the liquids its cooked in, with the option to top it with sweet or hot peppers and cheese. You can eat it wet with au jus or go dry. Incredibly filling, bring a big appetite, whether you choose to go to Joe Boston’s, Al’s, or Johnnie’s Beef, which was named the best thing to eat in the entire state by Thrillist in 2015.
While a burger might seem like a simple thing, Chicago definitely knows how to do it right. The most popular to grab one is Au Cheval, a diner that’s been hailed as making the very best in the U.S. People wait in line for hours just to try the thin patties that are cooked on a griddle and placed on a golden bun, topped with house-made pickles, Dijonnaise and American cheese. You can choose to add other toppings like thick-cut peppered bacon, a fried egg or even foie gras.
Hot dogs were born out of the Great Depression and have since become one of the city’s most famous staple, found at stands on nearly every corner here. The Chicago-style dog is an all-beef hot dog tucked into a steamed poppy seed bun. Chicagoans would never, ever order it with ketchup. Here, it’s typically topped with relish, yellow mustard, chopped onions, tomato wedges, hot peppers, a pickle and celery salt. Favorites to sample one include Chicago’s Dog House, George’s Hot Dogs, The Wiener’s Circle and Franks ‘N’ Dawgs.