New York Bagel and Bialy, though not technically in chicago, is the best bagel I've had anywhere. Jalapeno cream cheese is unbelievable
Chicago: The Right Way
So many of our readers write us asking, “Help! I’m going to Chicago, where should I go while I’m there!? ” So we asked our friends here at The Interrobang!? and our readers, what’s The Right Way to see Chicago? Here’s our top recommendations, in no particular order.
1. Mollys Cupcakes. Obviously. 2535 N. Clark Street, 773.883.7220 Home of the world-famous Ron Bennington Cupcake, and all delicious things. Grab a swing and enjoy the best cupcakes in all of Chicago, and some outstanding cookies, brownies, homemade ice cream and some of the best coffees and coffee drinks we’ve ever had. And say hi to our good friend Mike while your there. He owns the joint.
2. The Wiener Circle. 2622 N. Clark Street. Chicago Style hot dogs located conveniently right down the street from Mollys. Obviously get them Chicago style.
3. Hot Dougs. 3324 N. California Avenue. You’ll have to travel a bit but everyone calls it the best dog in town, and the best fries.
4. Lou Mitchell’s for breakfast. 565 West Jackson Boulevard. Open since 1923, it’s literally a part of Chicago history. Get any of the skillet breakfasts, served right in the pan. It may look like a greasy spoon– and you can definitely go the high cholesterol route– but you’ll also find fair trade coffee, whole grain toast and kick ass egg white omelets. Delicious and very Chicago. Free milk duds if you have to wait in line.
5. Garrett’s Popcorn. Various locations. Outstanding caramel corn fresh out of the …whatever they pop and coat the popcorn in. Basically it comes out still hot, and there is no substitute for that. Buttery is pretty great too.
6. Blackbird. 619 W. Randolph. (312)715-0708 If you want a nice dinner, using great local fresh ingredients, check out Blackbird. Since everything is seasonally based here, the menu changes often so just order what looks good to you. We had an outstanding meal there.
7. Kuma’s Korner. 2900 West Belmont Avenue. We’ve heard from enough people to trust that this place has one of the best burgers in town and has become a Chicago institution. Expect lines.
8. Gibsons Steak. Again, it’s as much a part of Chicago as anything. It’s not a ‘secret’ and it might not even be the absolute best steak in the city. The menu is basic ‘steakhouse’ fare and the apps are just okay but it’s a damn good steak, and its very Chicago.
9. Fishbar. Grab a stool at the counter of this truly unique Lakeview spot, where you can order comfort foods (small plates of fried everything) or go trendier with outstanding sashimi’s, carpaccios and tartares. The selection is small and based on what’s fresh that day. Great salads, clams, and oysters too. Get the salted potatos on the side, a bowl of chowder, and anything else after that. Don’t miss the changing beer list, picked to match up perfectly with the catches of the day.
10. Publican. It’s trendy. But so what, it’s delicious. Warning, all the tables are communal, and it tends to get loud. If you’re not willing to give yourself over to that environment, just go to Gibsons. But if you want a different kind of experience, with fun and surprising menu choices, This is an outstanding choice. Save room for dessert.
When You’re Done Eating- Or In Between Meals, Do Not Miss:
9. Millenium Park. One of the best things to do in Chicago. Check out the Bean, and all of the other iconic sculptures and fountains. It’s also a great place to view several of Chicago’s skylines. The Frank Gehry designed amphitheater is completely unique and beautiful and brilliantly designed. Try to get there when someone is playing music of any kind. We happened upon an afternoon rehearsal there and it was an amazing experience. And you’ll also want to check out all of the bridges, gardens, walkways and other features of the park.
10. The Art Institute of Chicago. Located adjacent to Millenium Park. If you like art, Ferris Bueller, or even the board game Masterpiece, you wont want to miss the World Famous Art Institute. Its located right alongside Millenium Park so you can kill those two birds in the same afternoon.
11. Frank Lloyd Wright Home, Studio and Neighborhood. This requires heading out of downtown to Oak Park, but if you have the time, and like architecture, its a really interesting side trip. You get to see and tour the house where he lived and worked, but even more fun is the walking tour through the neighborhood where he designed many homes. The best part of the neighborhood tour is you get to grab headphones and tour on your own timing.
12. The Rafaello Hotel. 201 E. Delaware Place. 312.943.5000. We love a good boutique hotel: big enough to have privacy, but small enough to have a personal touch. The prices are reasonable and sometimes even better than reasonable (check hotels.com for upgrades and deals). For the price of a small room in a big chain hotel, you can have a suite here, and its worth it. Rainforest shower, sitting room, work area, and you’re located right off Michigan Avenue, near the beach, shops, restaurants and the water tower.
13. Wrigley Field. Chicago’s a great sports town, and seeing any sport there is a great experience but nothing beats a visit to Wrigley Field. Currently hosting its 98th year of major league baseball, it’s as much a part of history as it is a part of Chicago culture. Catch a game if you can, or a tour if you can’t time your visit with a home game. But make sure you check out this incredible landmark.
That’s it, for us, but here is a collection of some things our readers sent in on twitter to recommend where to go to do Chicago The Right Way. Let us know if you love or hate anything mentioned here.
Favorite Wrigleyville bar for a game or for fucking around is Murpheys Bleachers. Nice large space on a corner lot. They have a great beer selection that's always updating, good food, great service. They treat locals like kings, and let you cornhole in the back!
Skip the Wrigleyville Goose Island brewpub, and go to the Clybourn location. The Music Box Theater is a great place to see an old or new movie, just blocks west. World Bar on Irving Park is great for soccer games. Mad River on Sheffield has killer burgers, and is a great place to see a football game. Uncommon Ground Cafe in Wrigley is a great place for a coffee or beer, and at night they usually have great music in the small back room. Pick Me Up Cafe is open 24 hrs, and has the best Club Sammich I've ever had. Shit there's so much to do. Risque Cafe is another good bar in the neighborhood.
One day a month, I make a 3 hour round trip just to have lunch (Coney Island Polish) at a Portillo's, then buy some Italian Beef to take home for dinner that night. Nuthin better...
I'm a big fan of Portillo's. Also, Harry Carey's is great for steak or Italian entrees. Another place I used to eat at regularly when I lived in Chicago 20 yrs. ago was called the "Fish Keg". It was on the far north side (on Howard Street maybe) near the lake and was across the street from the City of Evanston. They would fry up whatever fish you requested, with my favorites being Smelt and Rainbow Trout. If the Fish Keg is still in business, I would highly recommend it if you love good fried fish!
Disagree with number 3, Jan and Judes has the best dogs and fries in town, well, a little outside of it (river grove), but if you have to drive to the other, i would much rather drive to this one.
Greek Town, Halsted Street 4 blocks from the United Center where you can enjoy a Bulls or a Blackhawks game. Leave your wallet at home!
Rosebud Trattoria for good Italian, always go to Smith & Wollensky's after 11pm, kitchen still open and you can hassle the umpires after a game, this is where they always end up
Grant Achatz's Alinea -- arguably the best restaurant in America, expensive but worth the experience. Also G-FEST, the annual Godzilla fan convention.
The Publican is a MUST. Favorite restaurant in Chicago. All about pork, oysters, and beer. Also any of the Rick Bayless restaurants.
Rustic House, Next, L2O, GT Fish and Oyster are all magnificent places. The Girl and the Goat is one of the most popular places in the city. Hurry, only a few more weeks until winter......
Pequod's for some killer pan Pizza and Big Star for the best pork belly taco that'll ever melt in your mouth.
Meze- Great atmosphere and great tapas. www.mezerestaurant.com. Then head to Wicker Park at check out Reckless Records... If you like music that is.
I've been here 10 years and Pequods is my fav, although sometimes it's nice to go for something classic thin, like Aurelios, or Piece (which is also a brewpub in Wicker Park based off CT style).