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What food is Chicago known for

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Eat like a native

Eat like a native

Chicago has long been famous for its food. It?s the home of many specialties ? not just the deep dish pizza Chicagoans know is better than anything from New York. Cuisine options from all over the globe have been adopted, and in many cases, made better than the original. Are you hungry yet? Read on for more ideas.

Get your sweet on

In 1966, restaurateur Eli Schulman made cheesecake his signature dessert at Eli?s the Place for Steak. The treat was so rich and creamy that it was quickly proclaimed Chicago?s finest. In fact, it was so popular that Eli?s made a separate business of cheesecake and people worldwide can enjoy this delicious piece of Chicago.

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If you love brownies, you can thank Bertha Palmer. The wife of the millionaire and Palmer House hotel owner came up with the heavenly snack for the World?s Fair in 1893. Let?s just say they were a hit ? brownies were even mentioned in the 1898 Sears catalog.

If you crave something sweet for breakfast, try the whiskey caramel old fashioned doughnut from The Doughnut Vault. This popular morning treat sells out fast and when the doughnuts are gone, the shop is closed until the next morning.

It?s all about the beef

At one time, Chicago was best known for its stockyards and meat processing. This gave birth to some of the greatest steak restaurants, such as Morton?s and Gibson?s.


While it?s hard to beat a perfectly cooked steak, creamed spinach and a potato the size of a football, the Italian beef sandwich might give a steak a run for the money. After the Depression, beef was difficult to come by and restauranteurs had to make what little food they had go a long way. Al?s Beef came up with the perfect answer and the sandwich remains a Chicago staple. Tender roasted beef is thinly sliced, piled on an Italian roll and topped with hot or sweet peppers. Extra gravy can be added for a ?wet? sandwich and spicy giardiniera can give it extra kick.

Ball park foods

Nobody goes to Wrigley for the food ? it?s all about the baseball. The home of the White Sox, however, is a different story. The restaurant there is open to the public, even without the benefit of a Sox ticket. Gibson?s Restaurant Group is responsible for the fantastic menu and locals are enjoying it. One of the favorites is the pork belly wrap, consisting of fried pork belly, lettuce, onion, mayo, and pickled cherry peppers. It takes the idea of a BLT to a new level.

Looking for the traditional hot dog to go with your baseball? The Chicago hot dog is iconic. It?s an all-beef dog on a steamed poppy seed bun with yellow mustard, neon green relish, tomato wedges, chopped onions, pickle spear, hot sport peppers and celery salt.

It is never, ever, served with ketchup. Just don?t do it. 

Flaming appetizers

Saganaki, the famous Greek cheese appetizer was made even better at the Parthenon in Chicago?s Greektown. Greek cheese with a high melting point is fried in a two-handled pan called a saganaki, making the cheese a little melty, but still firm. In 1968, the Parthenon decided to make it table-side, with a twist. After frying the cheese, they added a splash of brandy, lit it on fire, yelled ?Opa!?, and finished it off with a squirt of lemon juice. The rest, as they say, is history.

So get out there and try something new the next time you?re in Chicago. Or, if you find a Chi-town favorite with a location near you, dive in. Chances are good that you?ll come away with a new favorite food. Then you can share the wealth by sending offerings to friends and family with many online ordering options!


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