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Famous food in Chicago: the dishes you need to try right now

Popular Chicago content creator @chicago.by.ren shares her take on the most famous foods in the Windy City and where you can try them.

February 1, 2023
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4
 min read
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Last updated:
Jan 23
A slice of deep-dish pizza being pulled from a large pizza.

We caught up with popular Chicago content creator and influencer @chicago.by.ren to ask her some questions about what she considers to be the most famous food in Chicago. She also provided her recommendations for where you should head to try each one for yourself!

1. What are three foods Chicago is famous for and where would you go for each food?

Chicago is known for Deep Dish Pizza, Hotdogs, and Popcorn. 

A Chicago style deep dish pizza
@pequodspizza on Instagram

First and foremost, Chicago is known for its pizza. More specifically, deep dish pizza. The best pizza in Chicago is heavily debated but if you truly want to experience Chicago’s best deep dish, head to Peqoud’s Pizza in Lincoln Park. This deep dish pizza is special because it has an amazing caramelized cheese crust. The crust is cooked to perfection by placing mozzarella cheese on the edges of the cast-iron pan. It also has a savory sauce and flavorful toppings. You can get a delicious 7” personal pan pizza for only $10.95. I would recommend adding green pepper and sausage for classic Chicago toppings. Before you know it, you’ll be coming back to try all the toppings! Pequod’s also has an amazing thin crust pizza that will blow you away as well. And don’t worry if you are located in the suburbs because Pequod’s is also in Morton Grove. 

There may be another food that comes to mind when you think of Chicago. If you thought of a Chicago Dog, you guessed it. Chicago hot dogs are truly something special because they consist of yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish, tomato slices, green peppers, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. Notice how I did not see Ketchup. That is very important. For the best Chicago dog, head to Gene & Judes in River Grove. I know this is a little outside of the city, but I promise it will be worth it. They even received the award “America’s #1 Hot Dog.” Gene & Judes has been open since 1946 and will definitely impress you. The employees work hard to provide new customers with the same experience people have been having for over half a decade. Another classic spot to get an amazing Chicago dog is Wrigley Field while you cheer on the Cubs. 

Popcorn from Garrett's popcorn shop
@garrettpopcorn on Instagram

The last food that Chicagoans obsess over is popcorn. The place to get the best popcorn is Garrett Popcorn Shop. The fan favorite is the Garrett Mix which is cheese and caramel corn. This is the one food I can never stop eating because it is just that tasty. It is the perfect balance of sweet and savory that really makes your taste buds dance. Their buttery popcorn is also something to rave about. This popcorn has been around since 1949 and you can find locations all over downtown. What makes the popcorn taste so great is that it is cooked in small batches every day using simple ingredients. There are never any preservatives and every cook follows the same family recipe. Once you try this popcorn, you will never want to eat any other popcorn again. It also makes for great gifts if you ever need a gift idea that will never miss. 

2. What is Chicago’s best value famous food?

You can get a delicious burger and fries at Red Hot Ranch for only $5.65! I consider this to be the best value food because it is very challenging to find a great burger and fries in Chicago for less than $10. The burger has a secret special sauce and the thick-cut fries are crisped to perfection. You can get this perfect combo until 12am at the Bucktown and Lakeview locations. 

3. Which Chicago neighborhood is best for famous Chicago food?

Chicago has amazing food all over the city but I believe the place with the most famous Chicago food is the West Loop. Here you will find the famous Restaurant Row with an endless amount of amazing restaurants. It also seems like every week a new restaurant opens that is just as amazing as the ones that came before it. Some specific famous spots in the West Loop are Girl and the Goat, Au Cheval, and The Publican. 

4. What’s a food Chicago is famous for that people don’t know about?

A famous Chicago food that most people don’t know about is the Atomic Cake from Weber’s Bakery. This unreal cake has three layers separated by Baverian custard, strawberries, and sliced bananas, but it does not stop there. It is topped with whipped cream frosting and rich fudge. If I could eat this for my birthday every year, I 100% would. Plus, Weber’s Bakery has been open since 1930 and is committed to maintaining its high standards. 

So there you have it, Chicago's most famous foods and where you can try them for yourself. If you're looking for more great things to do (and eat!) around Chicago check out our full Chicago City Guide.

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
@chicago.by.ren

Ren is your guide to life in Chicago. She grew up in Northwest Indiana and always dreamt of living here in the Windy City. Two and a half years ago, she made that dream a reality. Now she creates content on Instagram and TikTok showcasing all that Chicago has to offer. She truly believe that Chicago is the best place to call home and if you disagree, we bet she can convince you differently.