Chicago is home to some of the most iconic dishes in the United States, and for that, we are fortunate to call the windy city home. Everyone has their go-to spot for their hot dogs and Italian beef, whether it is in the heart of the city or on the outskirts of town. Last year we spent a lot of time trying these classic spots, and we came up with a list of our five favorite Chicagoland Food icons that we visited in 2021.
Let us know if your favorite is on this list and where we will go in 2022!
Gene & Jude's
This hot dog joint has been famous since before you were born and we'll be famous for generations to come. River Grove’s Gene and Jude’s the ultimate when it comes to serving up the depression dog. A classic depression dog comes with onion, relish, mustard, and sport peppers. And they load theirs up with fresh-cut French fries. They serve you fistfuls of fries, but be prepared; there is no ketchup on-site, so if you want it for your fries, you will need to bring your own. But don’t you dare put it on this Chicago-style dog!
Gene and Jude’s keeps it simple with their menu with only hotdogs, fries, and tamales to choose from. The best part is it is a delicious cheap eat as well! A hotdog with fries will only set you back $3.69.
Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen
Manny's is your classic old-school Deli that has been around since 1942. Stepping into Manny's does feel like you're stepping back in time and has even been featured in movies because of its retro style. They serve a little bit of everything from vast portions of pastrami to Classic spaghetti dinners.
The Reuben sandwich is the show’s true star and Manny’s, and we loved it. Our trip to Manny's, and now that we know it exists, it's hard not to stop by all the time for one of their delicious sandwiches.
Johnnie's Beef in Elmwood Park is famous for its classic Italian beef. Italian Beef is an art form in Chicago, and Johnnie’s paints the Mona Lisa. People gladly wait in line to get their hands on this iconic sandwich. You might have to wait a bit when you get to the counter, and be sure to have your order ready to go quickly.
Johnnies is also cash only, so be sure to stop at the atm before grabbing a delicious beef sandwich. Johnnies was suggested by so many of our followers last year, and we are so glad we finally visited! One of our favorite parts about creating content like this is seeing new places and being tourists in our city.
Superdawg has been a Chicagoland Staple since 1948. It’s located on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, and this old-school drive-in carhop with neon lights and two large life-like hot dogs on the roof is not easily missed. One thing to keep in mind before visiting Superdawg is that they don’t claim to make regular Chicago-style hot dogs. They make SuperDawgs. Their proprietary all-beef franks are served with most of the classic Chicago trimmings but with a bit of a twist, including a pickled tomato and no celery salt.
The Whoopskidog is their version of a Polish and comes with their house-made Whoopskisauce. The Whoopskisauce is like a barbecue sauce, and it is messy! Make sure you grab extra napkins!
They also have a full menu of other items, including super burgers in super shakes, and you can order all these delicious treats from right inside your car in classic carhop style.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company
Chicago is home to the most iconic style of pizza around. While we have some incredible spots for deep dish, one of the most unique pizza places has to be Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. First of all, their salads are enormous, and their creamy garlic and poppy seed salad dressing are incredible. Also, their flatbread is a must-order. It is so big that it hangs off the plate, and you tear it and eat it with your hands!
Their pizza is as nontraditional as it gets, and they turn a stuffed pizza on its head. The chefs cook it upside down and flip it right at the table. It's hard to explain, but think of it as a pizza pot pie. And don’t forget about what puts the “Grinder” in Chicago Pizza and Grinder Co. Their giant grinder sandwiches are piled high with delicious meats and cheeses.
Chicago Pizza and Grinder Co is an excellent spot to bring family and friends when they visit, especially if you have kids in the group. You’ll feel like your family when you visit, and stepping inside feels like you are entering your small hometown Italian restaurant.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. is located at 2121 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614