Tag Archives: Chicago

Great Food to Eat When Visiting Chicago (That Aren’t Pizza)

Chicago may be synonymous with “deep dish,” but there’s more to this city than thick crusts and mounds of cheese. In addition to striking architecture and gorgeous sunsets, the Windy City boasts a smorgasbord of good eats.

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1. Chicago-style Hot Dog

What cheesesteaks are to Philly, the Chicago-style hot dog is to the Windy City. The best versions start with a Vienna Beef Natural Casing dog, lay it down in a steamed poppy-seed bun, and top it with yellow mustard, diced white onion, relish, thin tomato wedges, a layer of crunchy dill pickles, and a couple of sport peppers. You’ll be able to find them all over the city, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the choices, head to Jimmy’s Red Hots near Humboldt Park. Or go to Allium (located in Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel) for an upscale take on the classic dog.

2. Vegetarian Diner Food

The Chicago Diner has earned a national reputation for its classic diner fare with a twist: All of the dishes are vegan or vegetarian. Even the most dedicated carnivores will find something to like here, where the menu sports a Radical Reuben (in which seitan replaces corned beef), vegan milkshakes, and truffle mushroom lentil loaf. The restaurant offers locations in both Halstead and Logan Square.

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3. Paczkis

Chicagoans line up for hours on Paczki Day each year, when dozens of vendors around the city sell the hole-less Polish donuts to signal the arrival of Lent. Order them filled with jams, creams, or chocolate, or keep it simple and stick with an iced or powdered sugar variety. Consult this map to find where to score yours.  

4. The Jibarito

Reportedly invented in Chicago, this Puerto Rican dish consists of a sandwich made with fried green plantains instead of bread. The plantains cradle meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a garlic-flavored mayonnaise. Enjoy one at Borinquen in Humboldt Park—the home of the original jibarito.

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5. Saganaki

Another dish that has its origin story in Chicago, saganaki consists of breaded or floured cheese that’s fried and served piping hot. Find it all over GreekTown.

6. Charcuterie

Chicago is well known for its butcher shops and high-quality meat (Perhaps that’s why the Italian beef sandwich is another Chicagoan favorite). Carl Sandburg even declared Chicago the “hog butcher for the world” in a poem about the city. Whether you’re looking for fresh-cut ribs, cured sausages, or heritage breeds, Chicago’s butchers have you covered. Popular shops include The Butcher and Larder (in West Town), Publican Quality Meats (in West Loop), and Paulina Meat Market (in Lakeview).

From carnivorous meals to fried cheese, donuts, and vegan fare, don’t miss a delicious bite on your next trip to Chicago. If by some unlikely chance you’re not satisfied, you can always order a pizza upon arriving back home.

Celebrate National Hot Dog Day near your hotel in New York City - there's bound to be a stand on the corner!

Best Places to Grab a Bite on National Hot Dog Day

Get out the ketchup! Every July 23 is National Hot Dog Day, a summer celebration of the must-have grill food. Eateries all over the world serve up their own version of the classic hot dog, but if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, there are great national — and international — wiener joints out there to satisfy your cravings.

Katz’s Deli

New York has long laid claim to being the home of the American hot dog, and if you’re in the city, you can’t do much better than Katz’s Deli. Order the classic, a big, all-beef hot dog loaded with sauerkraut and just a touch of mustard.

Gene & Jude’s

What makes a true Chicago dog is a much contested , but many would agree that the best place to go is Gene & Jude’s. Their classic, no-nonsense dog is served with mustard, onions, tomato, a pickle spear and some relish, all pushed into a poppy seed bun. What emerges from this is a delectable combination of sharp and sweet flavors.

Dat Dog

New Orleans has recently been making waves in the wiener game, thanks mostly to the strength of local franchise Dat Dog. Never a city to back away from spice, New Orleans finds it own classic dog twist in Dat Dog’s simply named hot sausage, an Andouille-inspired, hand-ground creation that sets the mouth on fire. The French Market Inn, located in the historic French Quarter, is a short distance away from one of their three locations.

Montreal Pool Room

Not eager to let Americans take all the hot dog credit, Canada has put quite a spin on the classic dog themselves. The Montreal dog is steamed, not grilled, and layered with mustard, onions and coleslaw. The best place to grab one? The Montreal Pool Room, one of the oldest and most traditional joints in town.


For those a little more south of the border, Santiago, Chile is your hot dog mecca. The classic Chilean dog is known as a completo — Spanish for complete, which here means a wiener loaded with mashed avocado, mayo, sauerkraut and chopped tomatoes. The best place in the city to find one is Domino, a soda fountain with multiple locations, which makes it easy to try out for anyone staying at a hotel in Santiago.

Hungry yet? No one’s suggesting you book a flight out specifically to sample these hot dogs, but if you’re in the area, there’s no reason why you can’t do your taste buds a favor and grab a dog to try.