I’m always on the search for great food. In a city as
big as Chicago, it’s not hard to find great food. Whenever friends from home
come to visit me, I know they’re only coming to visit because they know that
I’ll lead them to the best food. Still, everyone always wants to get those
iconic Chicago foods: popcorn, pizza, and hot dogs. The truth is that,
sometimes, eating like a tourist is the best way to experience Chicago and to enjoy
those famous foods. If have you haven’t been before, or if you have an
out-of-state friend coming to visit, you have to visit these restaurants.
You can never get enough of Garrett Popcorn (but
really everyone calls it Garrett’s and I just learned it’s actually Garrett).
There's a reason that there's often a line out the door for it. Garrett Popcorn
is best known for their Garrett Mix (formerly, and more popularly, known as the
Chicago Mix until a trademark kerfuffle forced them to change the name), a mix
of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn. No one does cheese popcorn like
Garrett’s. Note: ask for extra napkins. If you thought Cheeto dust was hard to
get off your fingers, just wait until you try Garrett’s cheese popcorn.
Embarrassing story: throughout my first year in
Chicago, because I’m stupid, I always heard Illuminati whenever people said Lou Malnati’s and I would wonder why they’re talking about the Illuminati and
pizza. Luckily, Lou Malnati’s has no known affiliation with the Illuminati.
But, they are known for having some of the best Chicago-style deep dish pizza
in all of Chicago. And since Chicago is obviously going to have the best
Chicago-style pizza, that means that Lou Malnati’s probably has some of the
best Chicago-style pizza in the world. Even better, there’s a Lou Malnati’s a couple blocks off of DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, so it’s convenient as well!
While people will always argue over the authenticity
of different Chicago-style hot dogs, Portillo’s is definitely one of the more
popular and more common places to get a hot dog. Or if you're brave, try out
The Wiener’s Circle, which is right in Lincoln Park. The Wiener’s Circle is
legendary not just for its food, but also for its “feisty” late night interactions
between staff and customers on the weekends.
I'm not totally sure if Chicago has any claim to a
famous dessert, but if it does, it might be the chocolate cake shake at
Portillo's. Hypothetically, that means you can kill two birds with one stone if
you get a hot dog and a chocolate cake shake at Portillo’s. The chocolate cake
shake is exactly what you’d think it would be. It’s literally ice cream and
chocolate cake blended together. What could be better than that? Now Portillo's
is a chain with restaurants all around Illinois, so it may not be a big deal to
people from Illinois, but to this Wisconsinite, it's the biggest deal.