What food is Chicago known for?

What Food is Chicago Known For? | Discover the Iconic Dishes


When it comes to food, Chicago is a city that knows how to satisfy your taste buds. From its famous deep-dish pizza to its mouthwatering Chicago-style hot dogs, the Windy City is a haven for foodies. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring Chicago’s culinary scene is a must-do. In this article, we’ll dive into the iconic food that Chicago is known for, giving you a taste of the city’s unique flavors and culinary traditions.

Table of Contents

  • The Deep-Dish Pizza Experience
  • Indulge in Chicago-Style Hot Dogs
  • Try the Flavorful Italian Beef Sandwich
  • Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Garrett Popcorn
  • Enjoy the Famous Chicago Food Chains

The Deep-Dish Pizza Experience

When it comes to Chicago cuisine, deep-dish pizza is undoubtedly the star of the show. This iconic dish features a thick crust that rises high on the sides of a deep pan, creating a perfect vessel for layers of cheese, chunky tomato sauce, and your favorite toppings. The result is a pizza with a hearty and indulgent flavor that’s unlike any other.

One of the most renowned deep-dish pizza establishments in Chicago is Lou Malnati’s. With multiple locations across the city, Lou Malnati’s has been serving up their signature deep-dish pies since 1971. Each pizza is crafted with care, using fresh ingredients and a secret family recipe that has stood the test of time.

If you’re looking for another popular spot to satisfy your deep-dish cravings, Giordano’s is a must-visit. Known for their stuffed deep-dish pizza, Giordano’s takes the concept of a thick crust to the next level by layering in even more cheese and toppings. It’s a cheesy, gooey delight that will leave you wanting more.

Indulge in Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Chicago-style hot dogs are a true culinary delight and a staple of the city’s food culture. These delicious creations start with an all-beef frankfurter served on a poppy seed bun. From there, they’re topped with mustard, bright green relish, chopped onions, tomato slices, pickle spears, sport peppers, and a sprinkle of celery salt. It’s a symphony of flavors that come together in each bite.

One of the most famous spots to grab a Chicago-style hot dog is Portillo’s. With locations throughout the city, Portillo’s has been serving up their iconic hot dogs since 1963. The combination of fresh ingredients and a perfectly steamed bun makes their hot dogs a must-try for anyone visiting or living in Chicago.

Try the Flavorful Italian Beef Sandwich

Another Chicago classic that should be on your foodie bucket list is the Italian beef sandwich. This sandwich is made with thinly sliced, seasoned roast beef that’s slow-cooked to perfection and served on an Italian roll. It’s typically topped with sweet or hot peppers and dipped in flavorful au jus for an extra burst of flavor.

When it comes to the best Italian beef in Chicago, Al’s Beef is a top contender. Founded in 1938, Al’s Beef has been serving their mouthwatering sandwiches for over 80 years. Their beef is cooked daily, ensuring that each bite is packed with flavor and tenderness.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Garrett Popcorn

No trip to Chicago would be complete without indulging in some Garrett Popcorn. This beloved snack is a combination of sweet and savory, featuring perfectly popped popcorn coated in a secret blend of caramel and cheese. The result is a unique flavor that’s both addictive and delicious.

Garrett Popcorn has been a Chicago tradition since 1949, and their iconic red and white striped bags can be found throughout the city. Whether you prefer the classic Garrett Mix (a combination of caramel and cheese popcorn) or one of their other mouthwatering flavors, a bag of Garrett Popcorn is the perfect treat to enjoy while exploring the streets of Chicago.

Enjoy the Famous Chicago Food Chains

In addition to its iconic dishes, Chicago is also home to several famous food chains that have become synonymous with the city. One such chain is Portillo’s, which we mentioned earlier for their Chicago-style hot dogs. In addition to hot dogs, Portillo’s is known for their Italian beef sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more. It’s a one-stop-shop for all your favorite comfort foods.

Another popular Chicago food chain is Lou Malnati’s, known for their deep-dish pizza. Their menu also features other delicious options like thin-crust pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and salads. With their commitment to quality and flavor, Lou Malnati’s has become a go-to spot for locals and visitors alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Chicago is known for its iconic deep-dish pizza, with Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s being popular destinations for this indulgent treat.
  • The city is also famous for its Chicago-style hot dogs, which can be enjoyed at Portillo’s.
  • Italian beef sandwiches, topped with sweet or hot peppers, are another must-try in Chicago, with Al’s Beef being a top choice.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with Garrett Popcorn, a unique blend of caramel and cheese-coated popcorn.
  • Don’t forget to explore the famous food chains in Chicago, such as Portillo’s and Lou Malnati’s, for a taste of the city’s culinary traditions.


1. What is the origin of deep-dish pizza?

Deep-dish pizza originated in Chicago in the 1940s. It was created as a response to the thin-crust pizzas that were popular in New York City at the time. The thick crust and generous toppings of deep-dish pizza quickly became a hit among Chicagoans and visitors alike.

2. Are Chicago-style hot dogs only served in Chicago?

While you can find hot dogs topped with various ingredients in different cities, the specific combination of toppings that make up a Chicago-style hot dog is unique to the city. If you’re craving an authentic Chicago-style hot dog, you’ll have to head to the Windy City.

3. Can I find Garrett Popcorn outside of Chicago?

Garrett Popcorn has expanded beyond Chicago and now has locations in several cities across the United States and even internationally. However, enjoying Garrett Popcorn in its hometown of Chicago adds a special touch to the experience.


Chicago’s culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors and traditions, with iconic dishes that have become synonymous with the city. From the deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s to the Chicago-style hot dogs at Portillo’s, there’s something to satisfy every craving. Don’t forget to try the Italian beef sandwiches at Al’s Beef and indulge in some Garrett Popcorn while exploring the city. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these dishes are an essential part of the Chicago food experience.

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