The Burhop family keeps their fish markets stocked with just-caught, never-frozen goods. They do this by going right to the source?wholesale distributors in Alaska, Hawaii, New England, and as far away as Australia. Their connections with these distributors stretch over the course of Burhop's 88-year history, which started when Albert "Pops" Burhop founded a wholesale-seafood business in downtown Chicago. When locals started offering him money and moon rocks in exchange for the prized cuts of fish, Pops decided to cut out the middleman.
Today, they proudly report that many of their loyal customers are transplants from the East and West Coasts, where fresh seafood is easier to come by. Ironically, Burhop's gets fresher stuff than many stores on the coasts do, thanks to Chicago's central location, which enables quick shipping from all of America's shores. In the shop, customers can watch as the filleters skillfully ply their craft. Get to know your Burhop?s fish mongers! A series of online video tutorialss teach home chefs to prep mouthwatering lobster tails, soft shell crabs, tuna burgers, and more.
Much of the artwork at Zaza's has no color. Black-and-white photographs dapple the walls?everything from Rat Pack portraits to Ansel Adams landscapes, the monochromatic tones offsetting the surrounding gold paint and wood accents. These pictures lend sophistication to the dining room, but they also provide a counterbalance to the vibrancy of the food?a mix of northern Italian recipes that feature pasta, meats, seafood, and thin-crust pizzas.
Like an overambitious werewolf, the menu changes weekly, cycling through dishes such as housemade crab-stuffed gnocchi and signature plates of bone-in rib eye. An appetizer of a whole baked artichoke might lead into succulent bites of veal tenderloin, or perhaps helpings of jumbo shrimp wrapped in the linguine of the scampi broccoli olio. Daily specials add yet another element of unpredictability to the restaurant, though catering and party platters remain planned in advance and private private parties are always a phone call reservation away.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Over the past 50 or so years, Chicago’s Little Italy may have endured a wave of gentrification, but it still manages to maintain its original charm owing to establishments like Fontano’s Subs. Since 1960, Fontano’s has assembled top meats and cheeses into decadent, hefty sandwiches, including italian beef, italian sausage, and italian meatball. The team behind the counter sides these handheld meals with familiar deli sides including coleslaw, potato, and macaroni salads and Good Humor ice-cream bars harvested directly from the earth’s frozen core. The popularity of Fontano’s has spurred five additional storefronts across Illinois where customers can expect to find the same quality subs as those from its flagship location.
Dips & Dogs swings open its doors seven days a week to on-the-move munchers from lunch hour until late in the evening. Succulent wafts of chili-coated fries, cheesy hot dogs, and freshly grilled burgers escape from the snack stand onto Garfield Street, luring passersby in to browse a menu of eats more American than an apple pie sliced by Hulk Hogan. Outside, a patio hosts meals and games of bags throughout the summer.
The kitchens inside La Bamba look a bit different from most. That's because they don't have a freezer or a fryer, and instead focus on fresh food cooked right in front of the customer. The restaurant's chefs start with traditional bolillos?a soft Mexican roll?or tortillas that are made specifically for the restaurant each day. In addition to the as-big-as-your-head La Bamba burrito, they craft tacos and tortas with meat or vegetarian fillings. Chefs then add a spicy touch and splash dishes with their hot sauce, which is so popular people ask for it in bottles or pepper-spray form.