Ryan Bluestone

Gourmet Food Festivals in Chicago

Explore the variety of food festivals held throughout the year in Chicago, highlighting different cuisines, flavors, and cultures. Chicago, famously known as the culinary capital of the Midwest, is a city teeming with food festivals that celebrate its rich gastronomic diversity. From savory street food to delectable desserts, these festivals offer a tantalizing glimpse into the vibrant culinary scene of the Windy City. Ryan Bluestone delves into some of the most exciting food festivals that showcase the culinary diversity of Chicago.

Taste of Chicago

One of the largest food festivals in the city, Taste of Chicago, is a gastronomic extravaganza that attracts food lovers from near and far. Held annually in Grant Park, this iconic event features a wide array of dishes from Chicago’s top restaurants and food trucks. Visitors can sample everything from deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs to global cuisines representing cultures from around the world. Live music performances, cooking demonstrations, and family-friendly activities add to the festive atmosphere of this culinary celebration.

Chicago Gourmet

For those with a penchant for gourmet dining, Chicago Gourmet is the ultimate food festival to attend. Held in Millennium Park, this upscale event brings together renowned chefs, sommeliers, and culinary experts for a weekend of culinary indulgence. Guests can savor exquisite dishes prepared by top-rated restaurants, attend wine tastings led by expert sommeliers, and participate in interactive cooking demonstrations. With its focus on high-quality cuisine and culinary innovation, Chicago Gourmet offers a sophisticated culinary experience unlike any other.

Taste of Randolph Street

Located in the vibrant West Loop neighborhood, Taste of Randolph Street is a beloved food festival that celebrates the area’s thriving culinary scene. Spanning several blocks along Randolph Street, this festival features a diverse lineup of food vendors, offering everything from gourmet sliders and artisanal tacos to global street food favorites. In addition to the delectable food offerings, attendees can enjoy live music performances by local bands and explore the neighborhood’s eclectic mix of shops and boutiques.

Chicago Food Truck Festival

For a taste of Chicago’s burgeoning food truck scene, the Chicago Food Truck Festival is a must-visit event. Held at various locations throughout the city, this festival brings together a wide array of food trucks serving up inventive and mouthwatering dishes on wheels. From gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and Korean barbecue tacos to decadent desserts and artisanal ice cream, there’s something to satisfy every craving at this food truck extravaganza. With its casual and laid-back atmosphere, the Chicago Food Truck Festival offers a fun and flavorful dining experience for foodies of all ages.

Chinatown Summer Fair

For a cultural culinary experience, the Chinatown Summer Fair is a vibrant celebration of Asian cuisine and traditions. Held in Chicago’s historic Chinatown neighborhood, this annual festival features a colorful parade, cultural performances, and, of course, a wide selection of delicious Asian food offerings. From traditional Chinese dim sum and dumplings to Japanese sushi and Korean barbecue, visitors can sample a diverse array of Asian flavors while immersing themselves in the vibrant sights and sounds of Chinatown.

Taste of Korea Chicago

As the largest Korean food festival in the Midwest, Taste of Korea Chicago offers a unique opportunity to explore the flavors of Korean cuisine. Held in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, this festival showcases the culinary delights of Korea, including classic dishes like bibimbap, kimchi, and bulgogi. Attendees can also enjoy traditional Korean music and dance performances, participate in cooking demonstrations, and shop for authentic Korean ingredients and products. With its focus on promoting Korean culture and cuisine, Taste of Korea Chicago is a must-visit event for food enthusiasts and culture lovers alike.


Food festivals in Chicago offer a diverse and flavorful culinary experience that reflects the city’s vibrant multicultural identity. Whether you’re craving gourmet cuisine, street food favorites, or international flavors, there’s a food festival in Chicago to satisfy every palate. From the iconic Taste of Chicago to neighborhood celebrations highlighting diverse cuisines, these festivals showcase the best of Chicago’s culinary scene and celebrate the city’s rich gastronomic heritage.

Ryan Bluestone

Chicago’s Craft Beer Revolution

Chicago, the Windy City, is renowned for its rich cultural tapestry, stunning architecture, and vibrant food scene. However, in recent years, another aspect of Chicago’s identity has been making waves – its craft beer revolution. With a burgeoning craft beer scene that rivals some of the nation’s top brewing destinations, Chicago has become a haven for beer enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. In this article, Ryan Bluestone discusses the thriving craft beer landscape of Chicago, shining a spotlight on local breweries and the innovative brews they produce.

A Rich Brewing Tradition

Chicago has a long and storied brewing tradition that dates back to the 19th century when German immigrants brought their brewing expertise to the city. Over the years, Chicago has been home to iconic breweries such as Schlitz, Berghoff, and Goose Island, which have left an indelible mark on the city’s beer culture. Today, Chicago’s craft beer scene continues to evolve, with a new generation of brewers pushing the boundaries of innovation and creativity.

Local Breweries Leading the Charge

One of the hallmarks of Chicago’s craft beer revolution is the abundance of local breweries that have sprung up across the city. From cozy neighborhood taprooms to sprawling production facilities, Chicago offers a diverse array of breweries, each with its own unique character and style.

Revolution Brewing, founded in 2010, is one of the pioneers of Chicago’s craft beer movement. Located in the Logan Square neighborhood, Revolution Brewing is known for its bold and flavorful beers, including its flagship Anti-Hero IPA and its Deep Wood series of barrel-aged brews. With a commitment to quality and innovation, Revolution Brewing has garnered widespread acclaim and earned a loyal following among beer enthusiasts.

Another standout brewery in Chicago is Half Acre Beer Company, which has been producing top-notch beers since 2006. With two locations in Chicago – one in Lincoln Square and another in Balmoral – Half Acre Beer Company offers a diverse lineup of beers ranging from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts. Their Daisy Cutter Pale Ale and Big Hugs Imperial Stout are perennial favorites among Chicago beer lovers.

Innovation and Creativity on Tap

What sets Chicago’s craft beer scene apart is its emphasis on innovation and creativity. Local breweries are constantly experimenting with new ingredients, flavors, and brewing techniques, resulting in a wide range of unique and exciting beers.

For example, Forbidden Root Brewery, located in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, specializes in botanical beers that incorporate herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients. Their Sublime Ginger, a Belgian style witbier infused with ginger and lime, is a refreshing and aromatic brew that perfectly captures the essence of summer.

Meanwhile, Off Color Brewing, known for its quirky and offbeat approach to brewing, offers a range of adventurous and unconventional beers. From their Apex Predator farmhouse ale to their Dino S’mores imperial stout, Off Color Brewing pushes the boundaries of traditional beer styles, delighting adventurous palates in the process.

A Destination for Beer Enthusiasts

With its vibrant craft beer scene and a wealth of innovative breweries, Chicago has firmly established itself as a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts from around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned beer aficionado or just beginning to explore the world of craft beer, Chicago offers something for everyone. So, the next time you find yourself in the Windy City, be sure to raise a glass and toast to Chicago’s craft beer revolution!


Seasonal Sensations: Embracing the Flavors of Each Season in Chicago’s Restaurants

Chicago’s culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry woven with flavors that change with the seasons. From the crisp freshness of spring to the hearty warmth of winter, the city’s restaurants embrace the bounty of each season, incorporating locally sourced ingredients and innovative techniques to create unforgettable dining experiences. In this blog from Ryan Bluestone, he will delve into the seasonal sensations of Chicago’s restaurants, exploring how chefs across the city harness the essence of each season to tantalize taste buds and celebrate the culinary diversity of the Windy City.


As winter melts away and the city bursts into bloom, Chicago’s restaurants welcome the arrival of spring with menus that showcase the season’s vibrant produce. From fresh asparagus and tender peas to delicate ramps and fragrant herbs, chefs embrace the bounty of springtime ingredients, infusing their dishes with bright flavors and playful presentations. Diners can indulge in dishes like pea and mint risotto, ramp pesto pasta, and grilled asparagus with lemon zest, reveling in the refreshing taste of the season.


When summer arrives in Chicago, the city comes alive with the sizzle of grills, the tang of ripe tomatoes, and the sweetness of juicy berries. Restaurants capitalize on the abundance of summer produce, crafting menus that highlight the flavors of sun-ripened fruits and vegetables. From farm-fresh salads and grilled seafood to artisanal ice creams and fruit-forward cocktails, diners can enjoy a taste of summer at every meal. Whether dining al fresco on a bustling patio or savoring a rooftop sunset, summer in Chicago is a feast for the senses.


As the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change, Chicago’s restaurants embrace the cozy comforts of fall with hearty dishes and rich flavors. Chefs draw inspiration from the season’s harvest, incorporating ingredients like pumpkin, squash, apples, and pears into their menus. Diners can indulge in dishes like butternut squash soup, apple cider-glazed pork chops, and pumpkin ravioli, savoring the warmth and richness of autumn with every bite.


When winter descends upon Chicago, restaurants transform into cozy sanctuaries, offering diners respite from the cold with hearty fare and comforting classics. Chefs showcase the season’s bounty with dishes that warm the soul, from slow-cooked stews and braised meats to decadent desserts and spiced cocktails. Diners can cozy up by the fireplace or gather around communal tables, indulging in dishes like beef bourguignon, roasted root vegetables, and mulled wine, as they celebrate the flavors of winter in the Windy City.

Throughout the year, Chicago’s restaurants offer a culinary journey through the seasons, inviting diners to embrace the flavors of each time of year. From the fresh beginnings of spring to the cozy comforts of winter, chefs across the city showcase the bounty of each season with creativity, passion, and reverence for the ingredients. Whether enjoying a leisurely brunch, a romantic dinner, or a casual meal with friends, diners in Chicago can savor the essence of the seasons in every dish, creating memories that last a lifetime.

Ryan Bluestone

Foodie Adventures: Chicago’s Best Food Tours and Culinary Experiences

Chicago, a city synonymous with culinary excellence, beckons both locals and visitors to embark on a gastronomic journey like no other. From iconic deep-dish pizza to mouthwatering ethnic cuisines, the Windy City offers a culinary landscape as diverse as its vibrant neighborhoods. For those eager to uncover the city’s hidden gems and indulge in its delectable delights, food tours provide an immersive and unforgettable experience. In this blog from Ryan Bluestone, Ryan will explore some of the best food tours and culinary adventures Chicago offers, promising unique gastronomic experiences and a deeper appreciation for the city’s rich culinary heritage.

One of Chicago’s most popular food tour companies is Chicago Food Planet Food Tours. Their guided tours take participants on a culinary journey through various neighborhoods, each offering its unique flavors and history. Whether it’s the bustling streets of downtown Chicago or the cultural enclaves of Chinatown and Pilsen, these tours provide a comprehensive overview of the city’s culinary diversity.

For those who prefer to explore the city on two wheels, Bobby’s Bike Hike offers food-centric bike tours that combine sightseeing with gastronomic delights. Pedal through Chicago’s neighborhoods, stopping at local eateries, markets, and food trucks to sample a diverse array of dishes while soaking in the city’s sights and sounds.

If you’re a pizza enthusiast, Chicago Pizza Tours is a must-try experience. These guided excursions celebrate the city’s rich pizza heritage, from the iconic deep-dish pies to the lesser-known stuffed and thin-crust variations. Participants will visit legendary pizzerias, learn about the history and evolution of Chicago-style pizza, and indulge in plenty of slices along the way.

For those with a sweet tooth, Chicago Chocolate Tours offer a delectable journey through the city’s best confectioneries and dessert shops. Led by expert guides, participants will sample a variety of chocolates, truffles, and other sweet treats while learning about the art of chocolate making and the city’s chocolate history.

No visit to Chicago would be complete without experiencing its vibrant food truck scene. Chicago Food Truck Tours showcase the city’s diverse culinary offerings on wheels, from gourmet tacos and BBQ to inventive desserts and international fare. Participants can hop on board and sample various dishes while exploring different neighborhoods and food truck hotspots.

In addition to guided food tours, Chicago also offers a variety of other culinary experiences, including cooking classes, culinary events, and food festivals. These events provide opportunities for participants to meet local chefs and artisans, learn new cooking techniques, and discover unique ingredients and flavors from around the world.

Chicago is a city renowned for its rich culinary heritage and diverse flavors. One of the best ways to explore the city’s food culture is by taking a food tour or participating in a culinary experience. These tours offer a fantastic opportunity to sample some of the best dishes the city offers while also learning about the history and culture behind them.

Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just someone who appreciates good food, you’ll find something to enjoy on these tours. From classic Chicago-style hot dogs and deep-dish pizza to lesser-known specialties like Italian beef sandwiches and Polish pierogis, there’s no shortage of delicious dishes.

Moreover, these tours will take you off the beaten path and introduce you to some of the city’s hidden culinary gems. You’ll get to explore different neighborhoods and taste the unique flavors each one offers.

So, if you’re looking for a fun and tasty way to experience the best of Chicago’s food scene, grab your appetite and embark on a foodie adventure through the city’s streets. You won’t be disappointed!

Ryan Bluestone

The Secret Sauce: Uncovering the Stories Behind Chicago’s Iconic Foods

Chicago, often hailed as the ultimate foodie’s paradise, is not just famous for its towering skyscrapers and windy streets, but also for its unique culinary landscape. The city’s food is as rich in history and culture as it is in flavor. From deep-dish pizza to the iconic Chicago-style hot dog, each dish has a story to tell. In this blog from Ryan Bluestone, he will uncover the secrets behind some of Chicago’s most iconic foods, exploring their origins and what makes them so special to both locals and visitors alike.

Deep-Dish Pizza: More Than Just a Pizza

It is a common misconception that deep-dish pizza originated in Italy. In reality, it is an American creation that was born in Chicago during the early 1940s. This type of pizza is unique due to its high-edged crust, which allows for a generous serving of cheese, chunky tomato sauce, and a variety of toppings. Unlike traditional Italian pizza, which is usually thin and crispy, deep-dish pizza is thick, hearty, and filling.

If you are looking to experience authentic deep-dish pizza, there are several iconic spots that you should visit in Chicago. Pizzeria Uno is a must-visit place, as it is widely considered to be the birthplace of deep-dish pizza. Another top spot is Lou Malnati’s, which has been serving up delicious pies since the 1970s. Both of these restaurants offer their own unique and unforgettable deep-dish pizza experience, and you won’t want to miss either one.

The Chicago-Style Hot Dog: A Culinary Melting Pot

The iconic Chicago-style hot dog has a rich history that dates back to the Great Depression. During this difficult time, street vendors began selling this affordable and filling meal to the working class. The hot dog is made with a steamed all-beef sausage placed on a poppy seed bun. The toppings, however, are what truly set the Chicago-style hot dog apart from the rest. Adorned with mustard, neon green relish, chopped onions, tomato wedges, a pickle spear, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt, there is only one rule of the Chicago-style hot dog that must be followed: no ketchup!
This unique combination of ingredients creates a burst of flavors and textures for every single bite. It’s more than just a delicious snack; it is also a representation of the city’s diverse cultural history. This dish brings people together, regardless of their background, and celebrates the unique blend of cultures that shape Chicago.

Italian Beef: Chicago’s Answer to the Philly Cheesesteak

The Italian beef sandwich has a rich history that originated from Italian immigrants in Chicago. Initially served as a staple food item at weddings and festivals, this sandwich has since become an iconic dish of Chicago and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

The sandwich consists of thinly sliced roast beef that is slow-cooked and simmered in its own juices for hours, giving it a tender and juicy texture. It is then served on a long Italian-style roll, which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, creating the perfect balance of textures. The sandwich is often topped with giardiniera, a pickled vegetable mixture made with celery, carrots, and peppers, or sautéed green Italian sweet peppers, which add a slight sweetness to the sandwich.

Chicago is home to many famous Italian beef sandwich joints, but two of the best-known spots are Al’s Beef and Johnnie’s Beef. These establishments have been serving up delicious Italian beef sandwiches for decades and have a loyal following among locals and visitors. With their mouth-watering sandwiches and authentic Chicago atmosphere, these spots are must-visit destinations for anyone looking to experience the true taste of Chicago’s Italian beef sandwich.

Chicago Mix Popcorn: A Sweet and Salty Affair

Chicago mix popcorn is a delightful blend of two seemingly contrasting flavors – caramel and cheese popcorn. This unique combination has become synonymous with Chicago’s snack scene, and it’s not hard to see why. The sweet and buttery caramel popcorn pairs perfectly with the savory and salty cheese popcorn, creating an addictive taste that’s hard to resist.

Garrett Popcorn Shops are the go-to place for popcorn lovers looking to indulge in this delicious treat. They are famous for their Chicago mix, which is a true popcorn paradise in a bag. The caramel and cheese flavors are perfectly balanced, making it a favorite snack for people of all ages. The Garrett Popcorn Shops have perfected the recipe for this mix, ensuring that every kernel is coated with just the right amount of seasoning to create the perfect taste.

Each dish in Chicago’s culinary repertoire tells a story of the city’s history, people, and ever-evolving culture. These foods are more than just meals; they are emblematic of the city’s identity and a testament to its rich cultural tapestry.

Ryan Bluestone

Chicago’s Midnight Eateries: A Guide to Late-Night Dining

As a city that never truly sleeps, Chicago is as vibrant and diverse in its late-night food offerings as it is in its daytime culinary exploits. For night owls, party-goers, or those just getting off the late shift, the Windy City boasts a plethora of eateries that truly come alive as the sun goes down. In this blog from Ryan Bluestone, he will explore some of Chicago’s best midnight eateries, where the food not only satisfies your late-night cravings, but also offers a taste of the city’s eclectic food culture.

Must-Visit Midnight Eateries in Chicago

First up is Wiener’s Circle, located in the bustling Lincoln Park neighborhood. Besides its famous hot dogs and cheese fries, Wiener’s Circle is also known for its lively late-night atmosphere, making it a must-visit for those on the hunt for a fun night out.

Next on the list is Jim’s Original, which is located in the University Village area. This legendary spot is open 24/7 and is famous for its Polish sausages and pork chop sandwiches. Whether you’re craving a late-night snack or a full meal, Jim’s Original has got you covered.

If you’re in the mood for some authentic Mexican food, head over to Arturo’s Tacos in West Town. This eatery is renowned for its delicious late-night tacos and burritos, which are perfect for satisfying those post-party cravings.

For a classic American diner experience, head to the White Palace Grill in the South Loop. This spot serves up comfort food round the clock, and its extensive menu ensures there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for pancakes, burgers, or a classic Philly cheesesteak, you won’t be disappointed.

Last but not least is Velvet Taco, located in the heart of the Gold Coast. This spot offers a creative twist on traditional tacos, making it a favorite among late-night diners. Whether you’re in the mood for a chicken tikka masala taco or a spicy tikka chicken taco, Velvet Taco will have what you want.

Exploring Chicago’s Late-Night Diverse Cuisines

If you find yourself craving some delicious Asian food late at night, Chicago is the place to be. One of the best spots for this is Furious Spoon, located in the Logan Square neighborhood. Here, you can indulge in various mouth-watering ramen dishes, alongside other Asian delicacies well into the early hours of the morning.

If you’re in the mood for some hearty Mediterranean flavors in the middle of the night, look no further than Sultan’s Market. With locations in both Wicker Park and Lincoln Park, this eatery offers a wide range of Middle Eastern dishes that are perfect for a late-night meal. From falafel and hummus to shawarma and kabobs, you’ll find plenty of delicious options to satisfy your cravings.

Of course, no discussion of late-night dining in Chicago would be complete without mentioning pizza. Luckily, the Windy City has a surplus of pizza joints that stay open through the night. One such place is Dimo’s Pizza, which has locations in both Wrigleyville and The Loop. Here, you can enjoy some truly innovative slices that are sure to tantalize your taste buds well past 2 AM.

Chicago’s late-night dining scene is a vibrant part of the city’s culture, offering an array of delicious options for every palate and craving. Whether you’re looking for a post-concert bite, a late study session snack, or a post-party feast, Chicago’s midnight eateries have you covered with their diverse and delectable offerings.

Ryan Bluestone

The Best Restaurants in Chicago

There’s a reason why Chicago is one of the country’s top foodie destinations.

Actually, there are thousands of reasons. Over 7,000 restaurants adorn the Windy City to suit every possible appetite and budget.

From charming and casual neighborhood eateries (with deep dish pizza!) to Michelin-star studded dining, Ryan Bluestone says that a visit to Chicago means enjoying some of the best restaurants in the Midwest — even the U.S. as a whole.

5 Great Chicago Restaurants to Try Right Now

Time Out Market

This is a bit of a cheat since Time Out Market is actually a collection of some of the best food Chicago has to offer. Some of the city’s best bakeries, highly rated restaurants, and unique bars have set up shop in this food hall within the Fulton Market District in the bustling Fulton Market.

Time Out calls itself a “curated” experience of nearly 20 food concepts over 50,000 feet, with everything from Ethiopian and West Indian fare and ramen to modern German American specialties and 1980s-inspired shakes. It’s OK to just call it “yummy.”


Stick around the West Loop and the reward is Ever, now best recognized as the restaurant hosting Richie in the “Forks” episode of FX show “The Bear.” The food is still the star here, though, with visionary Chef Curtis Duffy and his team continuing to earn Michelin stars.

Ever is a special experience, with guests enjoying 8 or 10-course meals that change with the season and usually feature a variety of exquisite meats, seafoods, and local veggies. It’s a very pricey meal, but it’s an experience that will never be forgotten.

Robert’s Pizza & Dough Company

There are hundreds of deep-dish pizza joints throughout Chicago, but Robert’s thin and crispy crust truly stands out to pizza fanatics. This Streeterville spot also offers a fantastic brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays, with smoked salmon, huevos rancheros pizzas, and hearty fare like chili con carne.

The Bloody Marys are fantastic, too, made from Robert’s in-house and distinctive mix. Still craving deep-dish? Head to Pequod’s Pizza, consistently rated as one of the top deep-dish restaurants in the whole city.

Ryan Bluestone


Want to truly experience the best Peruvian food? Get it from Gastón Acurio, one of the country’s most famous chefs, at Tanta.

Here, diners can fully embrace the country’s rich culinary offerings, with dishes blending ingredients from the ocean to the mountains with a multicultural fare thanks to Peru’s vibrant immigrant populations from Italy, Spain, and Japan. There’s nothing better than trying everything on Tanta’s lovely rooftop patio paired with unique drinks like the Ainoko, a blend of pisco, lychee, sake, and yuzu.

Andros Taverna

Named one of America’s best new restaurants by Esquire magazine in 2021, Andros still lives up to the hype, with its Greek fare that’s contemporary but honors classic Mediterranean techniques and tastes. The Logan Square stalwart is bright, bold, and Instagram-ready with Greek wines that are beyond excellent.

Diners can’t go wrong with the octopus or anything from the mezze list, especially the wood-fired pitas. Don’t forget to save room for loukoumades, traditional Greek donut balls with walnuts and cinnamon honey.

Ryan Bluestone

Chicago’s Food Culture: From Street Eats to Fine Dining

Whether it’s locals grabbing a bite to eat on the way to work or tourists attempting to sample every morsel the city has to offer, Chicago is truly a foodie haven. Famed for its deep-dish pizza (among others), it satisfies fine dining aficionados and food truck fans alike.

Ryan Bluestone explains that the city’s food culture has evolved over time, but one sentiment has rung true throughout its history — black-tie restaurants and quick-and-tasty four-wheeled eateries can easily coexist in perfect harmony.

The Iconic Food Trucks of Chicago

Food trucks have been a staple of Chicago’s food scene since around 2008, when the modern food truck era took off. However, the city’s first full-service food truck didn’t hit the road until 2013, when the local government finally put such licenses in place.

Dan Salls’ truck, The Salsa Truck, was the first food truck in the city to acquire a license for serving products that were prepared onboard the vehicle.

At the time, there wasn’t much competition, but that didn’t last very long. The food truck scene rapidly became abuzz with vehicles serving everything from tacos to waffles.

Although much of the hype has died down (especially since the COVID-19 pandemic managed to wipe out many food truck businesses), the scene has somewhat regained its pace as of 2023.

Those looking to sample these delicacies can head to Aztec Dave’s Truck, La Cocinita Food Truck, Yum Dum Truck, Chicago Lunchbox, and Jarabe Mexican Street Food to name just a few.

Introducing Fine Dining

Fine dining has a long but turbulent history in this foodie city, as the first such establishment opened in 1835, two years after Chicago became a town and two years before it became a city!

The Lake House Hotel on Kinzie featured amenities that had previously been unheard of at the location, like menu cards, toothpicks, and napkins. In fact, it was so upper-class that many believed it to be far too posh for their rough and rowdy town.

Despite early opinions, the city began to build a beautiful restaurant scene, but everything wasn’t as rosy as one would expect. Licensing didn’t exist until 1907, and since cholera was a persistent issue at the time, diners were forced to determine for themselves whether an establishment was safe.

Star Chefs and Foodie Culture Were Formed

When 1893 rolled around, however, the World’s Fair saw sophisticated diners head to the city, and it clearly paid off — Chicagoans developed a taste for seafood, prompting one of the most famous chefs back then, Charles Rector, to open a restaurant right in the heart of the city.

Ryan Bluestone

Tiki Bars Hit The Windy City

Following WWII, servicemen returning to their homes brought tales from the South Pacific. With this, they began the discovery of interests and the need for escapism, and so tiki bars subsequently flooded Chicago. Couple that with the varied collection of celebrity visitors to the area and it’s no wonder how the city transformed into such a hotspot for food lovers.

Making Ever-Lasting Contributions to Global Cuisine

Both the fine dining establishments and food trucks of this city have made incredible contributions to national and global cuisine, cementing Chicago’s place on foodies’ bucket lists for decades.

Ryan Bluestone

The Chicago Food Scene

Chicago too often plays second fiddle to its big-city cousins New York and Los Angeles — especially when it comes to its restaurants and eateries.

However, that has been changing as of late. In 2017, Bon Appétit magazine named Chicago the best restaurant city in America, and it’s not just for deep-dish pizza. In the five years since then, Chicago has remained an epicenter of culinary delights and diversity.

Whether it’s casual late-night eats — pizza, italian beef sandwiches, hot dogs dressed Chicago-style with tomatoes — or a showcase of the art of molecular gastronomy (aka expensive dishes that combine science and cooking), Ryan Bluestone notes that Chicago’s food scene offers a little bit of everything for everyone on its menu.

And yes, tomatoes are actually popular on Chicago hot dogs, but never ketchup.

Windy City’s Intriguing Eats

There’s a lot to see in Chicago — and a lot of food to experience along the way.

Through the city’s 77 neighborhoods, visitors and residents can sample authentic Mexican, Southern soul food, crispy samosas, and, yes, the legendary sausages and meats associated with the city’s extensive Eastern European influence.

There are as many low-key dining options as there are unique fine dining choices. Chicago is even home to Kasama, the only Filipino restaurant in the world that is Michelin-starred.

Where to start? How about a steakhouse, which has long been popular among both locals and tourists.

Chicago rivals New York for not just the amount of steakhouses, but their variety as well. In and around Chicago, one can find Artango Bar & Steakhouse, which offers traditional steaks with an Argentinian twist, or Maple and Ash, putting a twist on the old-school steakhouse feel of the Gold Coast. Bavette’s in River North is the steakhouse of choice for many Chicago first timers and Chicago natives alike, but is quite the difficult reservation to get!

A side note: The burgers in Chicago are mouth-wateringly top-notch. The burgers at Au Cheval and the Loyalist were each named the best burger in the entire U.S.

Ryan Bluestone

Ethnic Flair

Mexican food is experiencing a renaissance of sorts in Chicago. While chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill remains the best-known Mexican food purveyor in the city, other chefs are bringing their own distinctive flair to traditional Mexican flavors, such as chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya Antojeria.

That’s just a sample of the variety of restaurants and types of food that make Chicago a culinary landmark. Genie Kwon and Tim Flores, the chefs and owners of the aforementioned Kasama, were jointly named Best Chef in 2021 by the James Beard Foundation.

Another incredible award, The Emerging Chef Honor, went to Damarr Brown of Virtue in Hyde Park, which focuses on Southern specialties.

Neighborhoods to Eat Through

Each neighborhood in Chicago sports massive culinary differences, each hosting their own incredible restaurant scene.

The West Loop is home to Au Cheval, Girl and the Goat, run by Top Chef champ Stephanie Izard, Japanese spot Momotaro, and avec, which specializes in Mediterranean shared plates.

Pilsen, with its large Latino community, is where to head for the best tacos, but this neighborhood is also home to HaiSous, a Vietnamese kitchen. Creole cuisine is easy to find in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood as well.

Upscale foodies may feel most at home in Lakeview and Lincoln Park, where rustic gastropubs like DryHop Brewers and tapas spots like Café Ba-ba-reeba! await them.

But where can one find the best deep-dish pizza in Chicago? The answer is simple: everywhere!

Ryan Bluestone

Top Ten Upcoming Events in and Around Chicago

Heading to the Windy City this Summer? There’s always something happening in Chicago!

The largest city in Illinois, famed for its art, culture, sports teams, museums, architecture, and – perhaps most importantly – its deep-dish pizza, has an endless supply of hot happenings for residents and tourists of all ages. Ryan Bluestone takes a look at the latest special events this city has to offer.


Enjoy two full days of interactive experiences, food, and live music while dancing on the sand at Volleywood, Chicago Sport and Social Club’s annual beachfront festival. Runs July 15-16.

Little Red Riding Hood

Bring the little ones to see Little Red Riding Hood, presented by the Chicago Kids Company – Theater for Children (CKC), now through August 4. This hour-long musical adaptation encourages plenty of audience participation!


The renowned musical festival Lollapalooza comes to Chicago’s Grant Park on August 3 – August 6. Headliners include Carly Rae Jepsen, Diplo, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Maggie Rogers, Fred Again, and many more.

Destination/El Destino: a decade of GRAFT

Art lovers are getting the opportunity to experience “Destination/El Destino: a decade of GRAFT,” Edra Soto’s largest solo exhibition to date, for free at the Hyde Park Art Center through August 6. Soto is a Chicago-based Puerto Rican artist, educator, and community organizer.

Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross

Avengers assemble…at the Elmhurst Art Museum! The work of renowned comic book artist (and Chicagoan) Alex Ross is on exhibition in “Marvelocity” through August 20. Workshops and family-friendly activities will also be available.

Harry Potter™: Magic at Play

Through September 4, young muggles can play pretend at Harry Potter™: Magic at Play at Water Tower Place. This unique interactive experience allows fans of all ages to immerse themselves in scenes from the Wizarding World.

“Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop” | Works from the Bank of America Collection

Experience 94 works of pop art from master Andy Warhol at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art (CCMA) in the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) on exhibition through September 10.
Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night at On the Rocks Edison Park
The title says it all – Chicago fandom nerds who want to meet friends, show off their knowledge, and enjoy a cocktail can head out on recurring Thursdays through September 28 to enjoy some classic pub trivia.

Ryan Bluestone

Chicago City Markets – through October 28

Shoppers can wander the stalls at Chicago City Markets through October 28 to sample locally made products, produce, food, flowers, and more. This farmers market has several locations in various neighborhoods throughout the city to choose from.

Rush Hour Concerts

Stop by Chicago’s St. James Cathedral on the way home from work on Tuesday evenings at 5:45 PM throughout the Summer to check out the Rush Hour Concerts presented by Classical Music Chicago. A series of classical chamber musicians will be putting on free 45-minute performances.

Enjoy All Chicago Offers

Whether it’s shopping at the farmers market or getting your groove on at Lollapalooza, the possibilities are endless this Summer 2023 in Chicago!