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Superdawg at Superdawg

Superdawg at Superdawg

The namesake item at this iconic drive-in, which Maurie and Flaurie Berman opened in 1948 (that’s them, in hot dog form, on the restaurant’s roof), is a Chicago-style hot dog — just a bit bigger and better. The oversize all-beef wiener is served on a poppy seed bun and comes topped with mustard, onions, a dill pickle, … Read more

Saganaki at Greek Islands

Saganaki at Greek Islands

If you’ve dined in Greektown in the past five decades, you’ve seen it: A slice of brandy-drenched kefalotyri cheese, set aflame at your table with a cry of “Opa!” before being extinguished with a squeeze of lemon. Crispy, gooey saganaki isn’t a Greek import; it was invented at Chicago’s now-closed Parthenon restaurant. Other places in … Read more

Carnitas at Carnitas Uruapan

Carnitas at Carnitas Uruapan

In 1975, Inocencio Carbajal set out to re-create the signature fried-pork dish of his native Michoacán, and a Pilsen legend was born. There’s a reason his family’s carnitas — sold by the pound with tortillas, lime, onion, and cilantro, or tucked into a taco — attract lines out the door on weekends: After a low, slow simmer in manteca … Read more

Pork Chop Sandwich at Jim’s Original

Pork Chop Sandwich at Jim’s Original

Chicago’s most famous 24-hour eatery has been a part of Little Italy for more than 80 years, and you know you’re close when you can smell grilled onions in the air. Tourists might be quick to order a Polish sausage, but picky locals go down the street for one of those (see Polish Sausage at … Read more

Fried Shrimp With Hienie’s Sauce at Hienie’s Shrimp House

Fried Shrimp With Hienie’s Sauce at Hienie’s Shrimp House

It’s all about the dipping sauce at this 74-year-old Southeast Side institution. Locals are fanatics for the zingy orange stuff, which is made with mustard, vinegar, and turmeric and was first introduced by local snack manufacturer Vitner’s (nowadays it’s made by a different company but hasn’t lost its neon glow). While the sauce would be … Read more

Rib Eye Steak at Gene & Georgetti

Rib Eye Steak at Gene & Georgetti

New York had steakhouses before Mrs. O’Leary had a cow, but let’s be clear: This Midwestern stockyard city perfected the genre. Want proof? Walk into the gray, shingle-roofed building that has stood under the L in River North since 1941 and watch history still writing itself. Visiting celebrities, titans of industry, and stalwart regulars smile … Read more

Lengua Taco at La Chaparrita Taqueria

Lengua Taco at La Chaparrita Taqueria

Visiting this Mexico City–style taqueria, which is attached to a corner grocery store, is a joy, from the colorful papel picado decorations to the housemade pineapple tepache. But all that is just a preamble to the food, and while it’s hard to argue against any of the tacos on the menu, the lengua is justifiably … Read more

Peppered Salmon at Calumet Fisheries

Peppered Salmon at Calumet Fisheries

As you wait to place your order at this venerated fish shack by the Calumet River in the southernmost part of Chicago, you can picture what was: the barges plying the water, the steel plants churning, the European immigrant workers lined up to grab a quick lunch of fried or smoked chubs, pike, or walleye. … Read more

Kalamata Chicken at Athenian Room

Kalamata Chicken at Athenian Room

Order the kalamata chicken from this half-century-old Greek restaurant and, for the price of a glass of wine at most Lincoln Park spots, you’ll get your own broiled and grilled half chicken, crisp-skinned and juicy, plus an ample side of thick Greek fries drenched in a jus of olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and … Read more

Doña Cuca Gordita at Carniceria Aguascalientes

Doña Cuca Gordita at Carniceria Aguascalientes

For the past four decades, this butcher shop and restaurant has been turning out Chicago’s best gorditas — griddled disks of masa stuffed with meaty fillings. The gorditas here come filled with cheese and beans along with your choice of al pastor, nopalitos (cactus), arrachera (skirt steak), carnitas, or chicken, but the Doña Cuca is what locals … Read more