Food crawl through Navy Pier

It’s long been known as a tourist trap, but Navy Pier is making a big play for some local love with great new restaurants
Big City Chicken
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas Big City Chicken
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It’s long been known as a tourist trap, but Navy Pier is making a big play for some local love. The lakefront destination is putting up a new (and even larger) Ferris wheel and adding a 13-acre park with two performance spaces. Plus, you can find new fast-casual restaurants (see ya later, Auntie Anne’s, America’s Dog and McDonald’s) that offer great options for coffee and lunch, making the trip all the more appealing. Here’s where you’ll find us spending a little more time this spring at Navy Pier. 

Navy Pier restaurants

Ben & Jerry's
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

Ben & Jerry's

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The folks behind the counter here use the by-the-pintful ice cream to transform smoothies and banana splits into magical concoctions. Get any flavor in sundae form, topped with hot fudge and whipped cream, or do it like we do and order a waffle cone.

goddess and the grocer
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Cafés

Goddess & the Baker

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Headed to the Pier early, or need to add a jolt to your afternoon? This little bakery has everything you need. Try the Liquid Chocolate Buzzed, a creamy and warming sipping chocolate spiked with two shots of espresso and topped with a dollop of whipped cream to keep you going all day. If you need a snack, the almond croissant has a sweet amaretto taste and is marvelously flaky and buttery. 

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Big City Chicken
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Big City Chicken

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This new joint serves well-executed fried chicen, offering spicy or original pieces of bird with crisp skin and plump juicy meat that is so damn tasty, you won’t even need to dip them in buffalo sauce. The fries perfectly accompany the messy (but delicious) meal. If getting your hands dirty isn’t an option, get your chicken by way of the original crispy sandwich, with pickles and mayo. 

DMK Fish Bar
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Hamburgers

DMK Burger Bar and Fish Bar

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The local restaurant group brings its signature burgers and tacos to Navy Pier so you can finally enjoy them under the same roof. Technically, Fish Bar occupies its own area, but DMK combined the restaurant so you can grab both shrimp tacos and the number four burger (with roasted hatch chili, a fried egg, Sonoma jack cheese and smoked bacon) at the same spot. There’s also a long list of craft beers and cocktails, upping Navy Pier’s alcohol game considerably.

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porkchop
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Barbecue

Porkchop

icon-location-pin Streeterville

For perhaps the meatiest meal you can get at the Pier,
head to Porkchop and chow down on the pulled pork sandwich. You’ll get a generous heap of meat with tasty tomato barbecue sauce on top, all packed inside a chewy pretzel bun. If you’re especially hungry, grab sides like fries and a soda to drink. 

freshii
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Freshii

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All these heavy options weighing you down? Head to Freshii instead, where salads reign supreme. We're fans of the fiesta salad, packed with avocado, black beans, cheddar, pico de gallo and topped with a cilantro lime vinaigrette. To make it a slightly heartier meal, top it with some grilled chicken for a dash of protein.

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