9 Great Spots for Chicago Comfort Food
Chicago's comfort food scene is well-documented—this is the land of the deep-dish pizza after all. But even if you take away iconic foods like the Chicago-style hot dog and that famous cheese-and-caramel mix popcorn, Chicago's comfort food game is strong. Like, really strong. To prove it, we gathered together 9 great spots serving hearty, comforting fare across the city. Word of advice: leave the skinny jeans at home.
2552 N Clark St. | Lincoln Park
This old-school deli has been dishing out stick-to-your-ribs grub since 1938, but don't mistake it for your typical greasy spoon—it's a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand winner. Drop in any time of day for breakfast favorites like bacon chocolate chip pancakes or a reuben omelet, or wait 'till lunch to wash down a hot pastrami sandwich with one of the diner's much-lauded Maker's Mark milkshakes.
3411 N Halsted St. | Lakeview
Diner's like Frances' aren't exactly the easiest spots for vegans or vegetarians—or, at least, they weren't until Chicago Diner popped onto the scene in 1983. This spot's meat-free versions of comfort-food classics like poutine, gyros, and country-fried "steak" are so good, they've even won over the hearts and mouths of die-hard carnivores.
2934 W Diversey Ave. | Avondale
Classic comfort food dishes get a modern twist at this recently-revamped spot. Think: creamy mac-and-cheese enhanced with poblano peppers and brisket; burgers topped with scrambled eggs and served on slices of French toast; and loaded tater tots topped with bacon and chipotle mayo. Whatever you decide, be sure to save room for the Oreo cookie bread pudding.
116 w Hubbard | River North
Few dishes are as comforting as a steaming bowl of ramen, but don't confuse the ramen at Slurping Turtle with the packaged kind you devoured in college. Chef Takashi Yagihashi is known for his homemade noodles, paired with slurp-worthy ingredients like pork belly, pickled ginger, buttered corn, and garlic-shallot oil.
3361 N. Elston Ave. | Avondale
Honey Butter Fried Chicken's specialty is right there in its name: crispy, golden-brown fried chicken topped with sweet honey butter. As if that wasn't decadent enough, the restaurant also dishes out sides like pimento mac n' cheese and roasted garlic grits.
3420 N. Clark St. | Lakeview
Chicago has invented its fair share of comfort foods—french fry-topped hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, etc. But it's most comforting concoction might just be the Italian beef sandwich. Topped with sweet or hot peppers and served dripping with savory aus jus, it's an absolute must for anyone visiting the city for the first (or second... or tenth) time.
3221 W Armitage Ave. | Logan Square
At La Bomba, you'll find another Chicago comfort food original: the jibarito. The hefty steak sandwich swaps sliced bread for fried, sliced plantains, with cheese and garlic mayo sandwiched in between. We love the Puerto Rican-inspired sandwich so much, we named it one of our essential sandwiches.
1518 E 53rd St. | Hyde Park
When Former President Obama comes home to Chicago, there's only one spot he turns to for old-school comfort food: Valois, which has been dishing out hearty omelets and prime rib dinners since 1921. In true old-school Chicago fashion, the spot is cash only and serves its meals on cafeteria-style trays. If it's good enough for a commander-in-chief, who are we to complain?
3121 N Milwaukee Ave. | Avondale
A smorgasbord of Polish comfort foods awaits at this old-world spot, where the all-you-can eat selection includes pierogis, schnitzel, sauerkraut, and a rotating selection of daily specials. The early 70's-era decor only helps to make it feel like you're sitting down to a meal at your great Aunt's house—assuming your Aunt always had a selection of fresh kolaczki waiting for you when you arrived.