Let’s take a look at the history of food in Chicago along with some of the most famous foods unique to the city.
Chicago is a city filled with people from different backgrounds and cultures. This is what shapes their cuisine landscape. The city is one of the culinary capitals of the United States and is home to various food halls, innovative restaurants, famous chefs, and a wide selection of food.
Since the first restaurant opening in 1835, Chicago’s cuisine has expanded through cultures and innovations stemming from immigrants entering the city. Nowadays, many restaurateurs have opened up their own unique dining establishments in the city.
Today, you can find various michelin-starred restaurants, ethnic foods, and unique cuisine throughout Chicago. If you choose to call Chicago home, then you’ll have endless new cuisine and restaurants to try.
What is the original deep dish pizza of Chicago?
When you think of Chicago and food, the first thing you may think of is the deep dish pizza. The Chicago deep dish pizza style is most recognized for being a very thick pizza. As a result, It is more of a pie than a flatbread type of pizza. The crust is very deep and is usually baked in a round steel pan or iron skillet.
Additionally, the deep crust allows the pizza to hold a thick layer of toppings such as cheese and pepperoni. Due to the thickness of this pizza, it has a longer baking time of 30 to 45 minutes.
While the origins of the deep dish pizza is not exactly known, it is believed to be invented in 1943 at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. Some say that Ike Sewell, Uno’s founder, is the inventor of the dish, but others believe that the original pizza chef at Uno, Rudy Malnati, is the one who created it.
If you want to live near the original Pizzeria Uno in River North, here are a few listings you should check out:
- 545 North Dearborn Street, #3403 River North, Chicago ($1,399,000) – 3 beds, 3 baths, 2,566 sqft
This penthouse level duplex features a private wrap around deck with beautiful skyline views. It also features a sprawling layout with soaring ceilings and 26 feet of double windows. The space also has a formal dining room, renovated open kitchen, steel staircase, and a high tech surround sound system with mounted speakers throughout.
- 33 West Ontario Street, #TH5 River North, Chicago ($1,500,000) – 4 beds, 5 baths, 4,460 sqft
This three story luxury townhouse is located in a high rise in River North. The space features floor to ceiling windows, third floor full windowed atrium, heated floors, built in surround system, and french floors that open to a huge terrace. The townhouse has 11 foot ceilings, high end brands throughout the home, and has private elevator access to the parking garage.
Famous Chicago foods
If you’re living in Chicago or even just wanting to visit, a Chicago food bucket list is a must. Here are just some of Chicago’s most popular foods along with the most famous Chicago restaurants that serve them!
Vienna Beef Chicago style hot dog
One famous food unique to Chicago is their Vienna beef hot dog. It’s a beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun. The real difference between the Chicago style and regular hot dog is its toppings. The Vienna Beef Chicago style hot dog is traditionally topped with mustard, onions, tomatoes, sweet relish, and pickled peppers.
It was invented in 1893 by Austrian immigrants Emil Reichel and Sam Landry. The hot dog combines various ethnic groups to the city of Chicago including Germans, Greeks, Italians, and Czechs. If you want to try this famous hot dog, visit Portillos in the Loop and South Loop neighborhoods.
This popcorn mix has been a Chicago favorite since 1949. The sweet and salty snack all started at the Garrett Popcorn Shop. While the actual recipe is a family secret, it is a mix of the Garrett’s classic CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn popcorn flavors. If you’re a fan of mixing sweet and salty, you can try out this snack mix at the various Garrett’s locations throughout Chicago.
The Italian Beef is a sandwich unique to Chicago. While it is thought to have originated from Italian immigrants in Chicago during the Depression era, the people at Al’s Beef claim it as their own. It is a sandwich made up of thinly sliced roast beef, sweet peppers or spicy giardiniera, and an Italian roll. If you’d like to taste this juicy beef sandwich, check out Al’s Italian Beef at its various locations in Chicago.
Chicago Rainbow Cone
If you love sweets or ice cream, you’ll love this Chicago food. It is an ice cream cone named after its colorful appearance. The Rainbow Cone is made up of a combination of orange sherbet, chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House, and pistachio ice cream scoops stacked on top of each other.
You can try it at Rainbow Cone on the South Side of Chicago. They have been serving this amazing treat for the last 90 years.
The Chicken Vesuvio is a classic Southern Italian dish. However, Chicagoans took this dish as their own. The name refers to the Vesuvio Restaurant on Wacker Drive where it originated in the 1930s. It’s a dish made by baking chicken garlic, lemon, white wine, and herbs.
The dish is also served with potatoes and peas. If you love garlic in your dishes, then you’ll have to try this dish at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse.
Big Baby Cheeseburger
While the name is unique, this dish has been native to restaurants around Midway Airport. It is a double cheeseburger with American cheese, grilled onions, pickles, mustard, and ketchup on toasted buns.
While the exact origin isn’t known, it is believed to have originated at Nicky’s in Gage Park in 1969. If you love a delicious burger, you can still try it at Nicky’s today.
The Bing Bread is a modernized version of a pan-fried Korean pancake dish. It is made of potato, bancon, cheese, and scallions. This appetizer was created by chefs Beverly Kim and Johnny CLark who wanted to change up Korean dishes to fit the American palettes. You can try this dish at Parachute, their Michelin-starred restaurant.
This dish was originally created by George Akutagawa, a working class japanese American in Chicago during the late 1960s. It all started when he asked his friend and owner Joe Yamauchi at Hamburger King in Wrigleyville to create this dish for him.
It is a saute of chopper burger, bean sprouts, onions, eggs and green peppers. While the name of the restaurant has changed, you can still get a taste of this dish at Rice ‘N Bread at Wrigleyville.
Where to live in Chicago
If you want to live next to some of these amazing restaurants that feature Chicago’s famous foods, here are just some houses for sale you might like:
- 3010 West Cornelia Avenue Avondale, Chicago ($490,000) – 3 beds, 3 baths, 2,242 sqft
This Chicago townhouse is located in Avondale, Chicago near the Michelin-starred Parachute restaurant. Here you can try the famous Bing Bread. The townhouse features multiple outdoor spaces, living room with fireplace, hardwood floors, and sound wiring & speakers throughout the main level.
The area it is located in has slightly below average crime rates. However, it is in an industrial area which may have more truck traffic to the area.
- 9204 South Leavitt Street Beverly, Chicago ($325,000) – 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,526 sqft
This single-family home is located near the Original Rainbow Cone dessert that is so famous in Chicago. The home features a landscaped yard, updated kitchen and bath, retro recreation room, and a brand new private sun room. The neighborhood it is in has below average crime rates and the street was recently repaved.
Out of all these popular foods, which one do you think is the best food in Chicago? If you’re looking to move to Chicago for all their amazing cuisine, Localize has all the listings in the city for you to check out.