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Jeffy Mai

Jeffy Mai

Assistant Editor

Born and raised in Chicago, Jeffy has been covering the local food and beverage scene for more than a decade. Before joining Time Out, he worked with Eater Chicago to tell the stories behind the city’s illustrious restaurants, culinary minds and industry personnel. In addition to writing, he enjoys hovering over dishes in order to take an excessive amount of photos and has strong opinions on fried chicken. When he’s not out experiencing everything Chicago has to offer, he loves spending time bonding with his beagle-mix pup.

Articles (43)

Where to eat and drink at Midway International Airport

Where to eat and drink at Midway International Airport

Midway International Airport is the smaller of Chicago’s two main flying hubs, but it still welcomes countless travelers each day. That also means there are a lot of hungry, and oftentimes weary, mouths to feed. Fortunately, several great spots are on hand to deliver quick and delicious meals. You’ll find delicious tacos at local favorite BIG & little’s, Chicago-style hot dogs courtesy of Vienna Beef and crispy, juicy fried chicken from Big City Chicken. If you’re parched, Reilly’s Daughter and Hubbard Inn will help you refuel with a classic cocktail or cold pint. So don’t subject yourself to mediocre airline food—grab a tasty bite before departure with our guide to the best restaurants at Midway International Airport. RECOMMENDED: Where to eat and drink at O'Hare International Airport

The best late-night restaurants in Chicago

The best late-night restaurants in Chicago

No matter the hour, Chicago restaurants never stop serving great food. For those who work late shifts or have spent a night out on the town, the following spots are life savers. They offer delicious bites into the early morning and are here for you when you need them the most. You can devour one of the city’s best burgers from Redhot Ranch or feast on affordable Indian cuisine at Ghareeb Nawaz. Local greasy favorites like Jim’s Original and The Wieners Circle are also nocturnal haunts. Just as important: these places are among the finest cheap eats in Chicago, too. So the next time you find yourself out past your usual bedtime, check out our guide to the best late-night restaurants for a satisfying meal before heading home. RECOMMENDED: The best late-night delivery restaurants

The 12 best bagels in Chicago

The 12 best bagels in Chicago

Jump-start your day with a carby delight from the city’s finest bagel makers. Sure, an indulgent donut is never a bad decision but a bread roll just hits differently. New York Bagel & Bialy and Taste of New York Bagels offer great versions that even East Coast transplants will be happy with, while Reno is the move if you prefer a Montreal-style bagel. You’ll find a variety of flavors and toppings, as well as gluten-free options and complements like lox and spreads. And these places are among the best bakeries in town so you can also pick up pastries, cookies, cakes and more. The next time the craving hits, head over to one of the following spots for the best bagels in Chicago.

Where to eat and drink at O'Hare International Airport

Where to eat and drink at O'Hare International Airport

As one of the busiest travel hubs in the world, O'Hare International Airport gets a ton of traffic on a daily basis. While eating probably isn't your first priority when flying, you'll still be glad to know there are some good options for a quick bite. Whether it's creative burgers from an award-winning chef, tasty Mexican tortas or an outpost of a local standout, these restauarants make the airport experience a little more bearable. And if you just want to grab a drink to kill some time, there are places to post up for a glass of wine or beer as well. So don't get too down the next time your flight is delayed, check out our guide to the best restuarants at O'Hare International Airport and take a break from the chaos. RECOMMENDED: Where to eat and drink at Midway International Airport

The 60 best restaurants in Chicago you have to try

The 60 best restaurants in Chicago you have to try

November 2022: On our latest roundup of the city's best eateries, we continue to welcome back old favorites, including Mott St. and Owen & Engine. They're joined by Korean fine dining concept Jeong and opulent steakhouse Maple & Ash. You can also scroll through Time Out Market Chicago's various vendors at the bottom of this list.  The best restaurants in Chicago come in all shapes and sizes, from pizza joints and Michelin-starred heavyweights to some of the best cheap eats Chicago has to offer. The cuisines are just as varied, with every corner of the globe represented through Korean, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean and Indian fare. Whether you're a lifelong resident or simply visiting for the weekend, stuffing your face at one of these restaurants is easily among the best things to do in Chicago. This belt-busting food scene shows no signs of slowing down, so we cut to the chase and ranked our essentials—the absolute best restaurants in town. Our editors scour the city for great dishes, excellent value and insider info. They pay their way and sometimes, like the rest of us, their delivery driver gets lost (here's how we eat through Chicago to make the list). We hope to provide an authentic snapshot of Chicago's ever-evolving dining experience right now: We update it constantly with the best new restaurants in Chicago as well as decades-old stalwarts that keep us coming back for more. It could be a mega-hyped destination restaurant or a remarkable food truck: If it’s on the l

The 17 best Indian restaurants in Chicago

The 17 best Indian restaurants in Chicago

When the craving for Indian cuisine hits, there are countless spots to order soulful curries, flaky paratha and a bevy of vegetarian-friendly dishes. Devon Avenue has long been one of the best stretches in the city for South Asian cooking—home to restaurants that have existed for ages—but great options can be found elsewhere as well. Modern newcomers, like Indienne and Wazwan, are putting fresh spins on classic recipes while old favorites continue to churn out delicious and dependable dishes. And there’s something for every budget, from fine dining tasting menus to terrific cheap eats at Ghareeb Nawaz. The food also holds up well during transport, making the following places excellent for delivery or carryout. So check out our guide to the best Indian restaurants in Chicago for your fill of veggie-stuffed momos, enormous dosas and more. RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best Chicago restaurants

Where enjoy New Year’s Eve dinner in Chicago

Where enjoy New Year’s Eve dinner in Chicago

As 2023 draws near, it’s time to start thinking about how to ring in the new year. It’s never a bad idea to treat yourself to a fun night out, complete with good food and drinks. There will be lots of options, too, as Chicago’s best restaurants are preparing to go all out for the holiday. Whether it’s a special tasting menu at a Michelin-starred spot or a blowout bash, make this New Year’s Eve one to remember. You can Netflix and chill the other 364 days of the year, so get dressed to the nines and enjoy a nice meal before the clock strikes midnight with our guide to the best restaurants serving New Year’s Eve dinner. Don’t sleep on making reservations—they’re bound to go quickly. RECOMMENDED: More ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in Chicago

The best restaurants open on Thanksgiving in Chicago

The best restaurants open on Thanksgiving in Chicago

Thanksgiving is coming up on November 24 and it’s time to start making plans. This year, let the experts handle all of the hard work while you and your loved ones sit back and enjoy a scrumptious holiday spread. Many Chicago restaurants, some of which are among the best in the city, will be offering special prix fixe menus for the occasion. Whether you’re looking for a traditional turkey feast with all the fixins’ or want to switch things up with steak and fried chicken, the following places are up to the task. For those who would rather dine at home, there are plenty of to-go packages as well. Afterwards, head to a bar open on Thanksgiving Day for a nightcap. So add “not having to prepare a large family meal” to the list of things to be thankful for by securing a spot at the best Chicago restaurants open on Thanksgiving. Don’t delay—they’ll book up quickly and there are also ordering deadlines.

The best bars open on Thanksgiving Day in Chicago

The best bars open on Thanksgiving Day in Chicago

Whether you're dining out at the best restaurants open on Thanksgiving or staying in, there will be loads of delicious food, but also fatigue from engaging with small talk with distant relatives. Fortunately, many Chicago bars aren’t taking the day off and will instead be offering an escape from family. You’ll find some of the best dives and sports bars included, as well as arcade bars like Headquarters Beercade and Replay Andersonville. If you’re a football fan, there are several places that will show the day’s games on large screens with sound. So don’t suffer through awkward pleasantries any longer than necessary—check out our guide to the best bars open on Thanksgiving and be ready with an excuse to slip out once the big meal is over. RECOMMENDED: Thanksgiving events in Chicago

The 23 best pies in Chicago

The 23 best pies in Chicago

Whether you’re a fan of the classics or prefer something a bit more original, Chicago’s best pie makers are here to please. With a seemingly endless variety of fillings and toppings to choose from, there’s an option for every taste. Key lime fans can head to Joe’s or Bang Bang to get their fix, while those who want to step into a time warp should check out Spinning J. For creative flavors, Stephanie Izard’s Sugargoat offers delights like a chocolate French fry pie. Even gluten-free pies are available, courtesy of Defloured. While many of these offerings are found at the city’s best bakeries, they also serve as tantalizing desserts at seafood restaurants and steakhouses. And you can usually buy them by the slice, but if you’re trying to be the MVP during the holiday season, grab a whole one for the family. So read on to discover the best pies in Chicago.

The 11 best Vietnamese restaurants in Chicago

The 11 best Vietnamese restaurants in Chicago

When the craving for Vietnamese food hits, you’ve got plenty of options in Chicago. Most locals are familiar with West Argyle Street Historic District, the city’s mecca for Southeast Asian cuisine, but it’s not the only area to find terrific sandwiches and noodle soups. Places like HaiSous and Sochi Saigonese Kitchen offer refined and elevated spins on authentic dishes, and are among the finest restaurants in the city. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, reliable mainstays Nhu Lan and Nha Hang are sure to hit the spot. You’ll find banh mi stuffed with pork and pickled veggies, rich pho teeming with beef, crispy banh xeo and much more. They also double as the best cheap eats in town. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Chicago’s best Vietnamese restaurants have you covered. RECOMMENDED: Discover the best new restaurants in Chicago

The 16 best wine bars in Chicago

The 16 best wine bars in Chicago

Unwinding after a long day with a drink feels great. And while there are plenty of terrific cocktail havens and craft beer temples in the city, sometimes you just want to crack open a bottle of wine and keep pouring until it’s dry. These spots are our favorites for that, offering everything from fancy bubbles to robust reds. You’ll find choices from producers all around the world alongside selections of trendy natural wines. Don’t worry if you’re a novice, though—the trained staff at the following places can steer you in the right direction and provide some helpful insight. If you’re hungry, there are delectable snacks and light bites to be had as well. So prepare to sniff, swirl and sip with our guide to the best wine bars in Chicago. RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best bars in Chicago

Listings and reviews (71)

Mild 2 Spicy

Mild 2 Spicy

You don’t have to go to Devon Avenue to get your dosa fix. Mild 2 Spicy in Lakeview will satisfy your craving with more than a dozen versions stuffed with cheese, omelet, seasoned potatoes and more. The menu is also packed with a host of classic Indian dishes, most of which can be tailored to your desired level of heat.

Wazwan

Wazwan

Chef Zubair Mohajir, whose previous experiences include working at world-renowned Gaggan in Bangkok, launched Wazwan as a pop-up supper club before eventually settling into a space in Wicker Park. His restaurant features both casual and elevated concepts. Up front, expect bites that explore the street food culture of South Asia, such as vada pav—potato croquette sliders—and kati rolls with tandoori chicken. But the coach house located behind Wazwan is where Mohajir really showcases his talents with a dazzling tasting menu. You’ll be treated to refined pleasures like duck numidian, a spin on an ancient recipe, and uni-topped parippu vada in coconut mint chutney. Though it’s a pricey meal, you’re free to BYOB to save some dollars.

The Momo World

The Momo World

True to its name, this counter-service spot near UIC specializes in all kinds of steamed and fried dumplings. They’re filled with chicken, pork, fish or veggies, and you can also try them coated in a bevy of sauces like butter masala and creamy alfredo. Craving other Indian staples? The samosas, curry bowls and biryanis are solid as well.

Indienne

Indienne

One of the most memorable meals of my life came at Gymkhana, a contemporary Indian restaurant in London. Arriving hungry and jet-lagged, my partner and I were floored by the elevated takes on familiar South Asian staples. For Brits, this type of experience is a common occurrence but here in Chicago, it’s nowhere near as prevalent. While a number of openings have broken new ground in recent years, Indienne is arguably the most ambitious to date. Its chef and co-owner, Sujan Sarkar, is no stranger to the local scene. He helped launch Rooh in the West Loop, which itself was a revelation at the time. At Indienne, Sarkar pushes the envelope even further. The restaurant debuted in September with two tasting menus—vegetarian and non-vegetarian—that reimagine classic Indian recipes through a progressive lens (an a la carte menu has since been added). In a surprise, both set options are priced at $90, a relative bargain considering the River North location. On a recent visit, my non-vegetarian experience began with canapes. A passion fruit pani puri packing a tart punch cleansed the palate for a mushroom éclair crowned with goat cheese and shaved truffle. The evening’s first course, a beautiful chaat starring a potato nest with dollops of chutneys atop yogurt and a raspberry spread, delivered a medley of textures and flavors. Each bite was creamy and crispy, as well as tangy and spicy. It was followed by an immaculate poached egg in a curry studded with peas, sweet corn and crispy oni

Taste of New York Bagels & Deli

Taste of New York Bagels & Deli

Chicagoans and New Yorkers don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but even locals can agree a chewy and crusty New York bagel is hard to beat. Due to differences in the water supply between the two cities, this Lakeview shop imports its products from the East Coast and then bakes them on site. For an Instagrammable hit, the rainbow bagel is an attention getter that’s sure to garner likes. There’s a variety of cream cheese flavors to spread on them including bacon cheddar and honey pistachio with avocado.

Phodega

Phodega

Part restaurant and part corner store, Phodega is a wholly unique concept in West Town. Swing by for a hot bowl of pho—there are beef, chicken and vegan versions—or a plate of Hainanese chicken rice. Owners Nathan Hoops and Anthony Ngo also think outside the box to create items like pho-style fries and an Italian beef-inspired Viet dip sandwich. On your way out, grab a couple of Asian snacks for the road.

Pho Nam Lua

Pho Nam Lua

Because of the high concentration of Vietnamese restaurants in Uptown, it’s understandable if you thought the city’s best pho was found on Argyle Street. In actuality, it’s served at this low-key kitchen on the far North Side. Upon entering, you’ll spot tons of Vietnamese expats in the dining room—a sure sign you’re in the right place. The signature dish stars a complex and fragrant broth teeming with slices of beef, meatballs, tripe, oxtail and more. You can garnish your bowl with some herbs or dial up the spice with jalapenos.

Pompette

Pompette

All-day cafes are having their moment in Chicago and we’re quite ok with that, especially if there’s a wine component involved. Pompette, a new spot from a trio of industry vets, shines the spotlight on Old World natural wines from small producers across France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Complementing them are European-influenced small plates and pastries, such as crab croquettes and beet falafel.

Bar Pendry

Bar Pendry

Cozy up next to the fireplace at this classy bar inside the Pendry Chicago hotel. You’ll feel like old money as the space drips sophistication with features like floor-to-ceiling curtains, leather sofas, vintage rugs and a curated art collection. The menu focuses on classic libations alongside contemporary creations so do your best impression of Don Draper by sipping on an old fashioned, and perhaps complementing it with a decadent bite of fried chicken topped with caviar. On Sundays, Bar Pendry also offers boozy afternoon tea service.

Obelix

Obelix

At what point does cost start to affect satisfaction? I pondered that question as I walked out of Obelix after dinner. If you’re a fan of French cuisine, you’re probably already aware of this new modern concept in River North. Brothers Oliver and Nicolas Poilevey, whose parents founded beloved Bucktown bistro Le Bouchon, have taken over the space formerly housing Entente and turned it into one of Chicago’s buzziest spots. I arrived on a Monday night to a completely packed house, which had been foreshadowed by the limited availability of tables for most dates on Resy. The large dining room wasn’t in need of much upgrades, as Entente opened in just 2019, though there are some new touches like burgundy banquette seating and a chalkboard near the bar that lists the day’s specials. If you’re sitting along the walls, you’ll have to make nice with your neighbors as the tables are practically on top of each other, with inches to spare on each end, and it’s close to impossible to not eavesdrop on conversations. At various points during the meal, my date and I noticed the couple next to us discussing the dishes we ordered so we chimed in with our thoughts. It was more or less a communal dining experience and definitely not a place to share secrets. Similar to Le Bouchon, Obelix’s menu is full of French staples, albeit at slightly higher price points to match the neighborhood. Steak tartare is always a go-to for me and the Asian-tinged version here is outstanding. Cubes of raw filet mig

Mr. D's Shish-Kabobs

Mr. D's Shish-Kabobs

Over on the Northwest Side, this mom-and-pop joint has garnered a loyal following over the past several decades for its outstanding sandwiches. Owners Mike and Ann Antonopoulos have been serving the Montclare community affordable bites since the late ‘60s, and while you can’t go wrong with the namesake shish kebab, we lean towards the steak sandwich that stars thinly-sliced, marinated ribeye tucked into a French roll alongside onions and tomatoes. Plus every order comes with fresh cut fries, which are some of the best in the city.

Hienie's Shrimp House

Hienie's Shrimp House

This fry house in South Deering offers a variety of crispy treasures, ranging from chicken and shrimp to liver and gizzard. No matter what you fancy, be sure to douse it in the restaurant’s signature hot sauce, a zingy mustard-vinegar condiment that has a cult of fans on the Southeast Side. It cuts through the grease and pairs nicely with the heavy seasoning on the bird.

News (14)

What to eat and drink at Christkindlmarket 2022

What to eat and drink at Christkindlmarket 2022

Chicago’s favorite holiday tradition, Christkindlmarket, is now open at its usual locations in Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville (also home to Winterland at Gallagher Way), as well as a new site in Aurora. The German-inspired wonderland is full of vendors selling festive trinkets and delicious foods and beverages. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a first-timer, the experience can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve taken a stroll through this year’s market to see what you should be eating and drinking. So if you’re looking for recommendations, here are our top picks. Photograph: Jeffy Mai   1. Glühwein ($10 with mug, $9 refill) The drink that’s synonymous with Christkindlmarket, glühwein is a must for all visitors. It’s served in a souvenir mug, which is once again not shaped like a boot, and there are white apple cinnamon and non-alcoholic versions as well. The body-warming properties of the mulled wine cannot be overstated, especially when the wind chill approaches zero. You'll save a dollar on mug refills.   Photograph: Jeffy Mai   2. Jamon and raclette sandwich ($16) On frigid days, when fingers and faces are almost frosted over, Christkindlmarket’s raclette stand and its distinct smell will quickly jolt you back to life. For those who are unfamiliar, raclette is a pungent Alpine cheese that’s typically served over boiled potatoes. Here, it’s melted and scraped onto a toasted baguette along with, if you desire, cured meats or a bratwurst. The nutty ch

A pair of Chicago spots are among the best new restaurants in America

A pair of Chicago spots are among the best new restaurants in America

Two local spots have just made Esquire’s 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants in America. For this year’s edition, the publication’s editors highlighted 40 places that “represent what it means to dine well in the U.S. right now.” In Chicago, modern Filipino standout Kasama landed at No. 7 for its tasting menu, which debuted around the end of 2021. Though the restaurant operates as a casual kitchen and bakery during the day, dinner service sees it transform into a fine dining sensation. “The nilaga, composed of cabbage, bone marrow, and fluffy short-grain rice, has the uncanny ability to evoke what you would eat on a rainy day as a kid. There is a croissant toward the end with a shower of truffles. All of this made us believe: People need to know about the p.m. version of Kasama, too,” Esquire editor Kevin Sintumuang writes. The accolade is the cherry on top of a momentous year for Kasama—it was awarded one star by the Michelin Guide this past April. Coming in at No. 36 is Indienne, the progressive Indian newcomer that Time Out Chicago praised in its review for raising the bar on South Asian experiences in the city. Sintumuang is similarly impressed by chef Sujan Sarkar’s “potent and unexpected” cooking, and calls the $90 degustation menu a “steal.” “The service is delightful, informative, proper, the room is vast and luxurious, the wine pairings are illuminating. You might be wondering, what’s the catch? As far as I can tell, there is none,” Sintumuang adds. You can check ou

Supreme will open its first Chicago store this week

Supreme will open its first Chicago store this week

Calling all hypebeasts! After months of speculation, a Supreme store is officially set to open in Chicago this week.  The world-famous, New York-based streetwear brand will unveil a shop at 1438 N Milwaukee Ave on November 10, according to Hypebeast. This will mark Supreme’s first location in the United States outside of New York and California. Posters advertising the new Wicker Park outpost could be seen in the neighborhood over the past weekend. An Instagram Story shared on Supreme’s official account also teased the opening. Founded in 1994 as a skateboarding store, Supreme has grown into an international phenomenon. Its stores draw long lines each Thursday for the release of new merchandise, with shoppers sometimes camping out overnight. Supreme typically celebrates the debut of a new store with a special Box Logo tee, which is its most popular design. Although it has yet to be confirmed, rumors have swirled that the launch-day shirt will pay tribute to Virgil Abloh, the acclaimed Chicago fashion designer who died last year. In addition to clothing, the company collaborates with other big names—including Nike, The North Face and Louis Vuitton—to put its branding on everything from backpacks and helmets to Oreos and travel trailers. Most items are available in limited quantities, thus driving demand, and often fetch high amounts on the secondary market. Supreme will join Adidas, Carhartt and Levi’s on Milwaukee Ave, making it a burgeoning corridor for fashion in the city.

You'll be able to skate inside Wrigley Field this holiday season

You'll be able to skate inside Wrigley Field this holiday season

The holiday season is right around the corner and this year, Chicagoans have the rare opportunity to step onto Wrigley Field. Winterland at Gallagher Way, the annual festive experience that takes place outside the home of the Cubs, is expanding into the ballpark for the first time this year. Starting Friday, November 18 and running through Sunday, January 8, 2023, visitors will be able to celebrate the season with a host of programs and activities. Popular winter attraction Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville returns as one of the headliners and will offer hand-crafted ornaments and unique holiday merchandise plus a taste of traditional German fare and hot spiced wine. While Winterland’s ice skating has customarily happened next to the stadium, the festivities are moving onto the field in 2022. Attendees will be able to make their way through a special gate filled with holiday decor before arriving at an expanded 12,000-square-foot ice rink. The whimsical wonderland will also feature a carousel, carnival rides and games, an ice slide and an Infield Express train. And if you need to warm up, there’s a new ski lodge-themed dining option—aptly named The Lodge—that will provide creative beverage offerings as well as fire pits. Those who want to commemorate the occasion can take professional family photos with Santa in his workshop, located in the lobby near the Wrigley Field Marquee. It will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November 25 to December 18. Large groups can re

Chicago is voted the best big city in the United States

Chicago is voted the best big city in the United States

The accolades have been rolling in for Chicago over the past week. On Tuesday, Chicago was named the Best Big City in the United States for an unprecedented sixth straight year. The honor comes via Conde Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards and was voted on by more than 240,000 people from around the country. A city had never won this many times in a row until now. “It's no wonder Chicago is topping this list yet again. A world-class destination known for its impressive architecture, first-rate museums, brilliant chefs, and massive brewing scene, it’ll take several repeat visits to get through your list of must-dos,” Conde Nast Traveler editors declared. As most Chicagoans already know, it’s wholly true. The city has no shortage of great restaurants, bars and things to do. There’s always something new to discover on every street corner, from the North Side to the South Side, which is why a Chicago neighborhood was also recognized by personal finance publication Money.  In a recently released list, Rogers Park was No. 5 on Money’s rankings of the 50 best places to live in the United States. It was the lone Chicago spot to make the cut, earning praise for its diversity, walkability, access to public transit and various places of worship. Naperville was Illinois' other representative, landing at No. 16. “Few places are as welcoming to different religions, creeds or ethnicities as Rogers Park, an underdog neighborhood located in the northeast corner of Chicago,” Money wr

12 businesses Chicagoans want to bring back from the dead

12 businesses Chicagoans want to bring back from the dead

Here today, gone tomorrow. That's the unfortunate reality every business and its customers face. Although there are plenty of new places to be excited about, many local favorites have shuttered over the years, in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We asked Facebook and Twitter users which iconic Chicago spots they would like to see revived and received a wide range of replies. The following were some of the most popular answers—so as painful as it may be, take a trip down memory lane and pay tribute by reading our list of businesses Chicagoans want to bring back from the dead. 1. Marshall Field’s Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas Chicago’s iconic department chain is gone but certainly not forgotten by countless Chicagoans. Founded in 1852 as a dry goods store, Marshall Field’s was a local institution. Its flagship location on State Street, housed inside a landmark building, spanned 13 floors and an entire city block. It was also where the company’s signature Frango mints were produced. In 2005, New York-based Macy’s purchased Marshall Field’s and rebranded it the following year. The famous green corner clocks are still on display, though, serving as a symbol of what once was. “Best department store ever!! The State Street store at Christmas was magical,” Anne Bieda wrote on Facebook. 2. Hot Doug's Photograph: RosieTulips/Flickr This famous hot dog stand in Avondale drew large crowds on a daily basis, with customers often waiting several hours in line. Those who toughed it out were

A Chicago cocktail bar has been deemed one of the world's 50 best

A Chicago cocktail bar has been deemed one of the world's 50 best

An acclaimed Chicago bar has just been recognized as one of the best in the world. Kumiko, the elegant cocktail temple helmed by renowned mixologist Julia Momosé, is ranked No. 25 in this year’s list of The World’s 50 Best Bars. It marks the first time a Chicago spot has made the top 50 since 2018. Kumiko was No. 61 in last year’s rankings, which (despite its name) honors 100 bars. Opened in 2018, Kumiko is a Japanese-inspired bar and restaurant in the West Loop that’s earned numerous accolades for its exquisite cocktails and inventive plates. Momosé won a James Beard Award this past summer as well for helping write the cookbook The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes. In Time Out Chicago’s review of Kumiko, critic Maggie Hennessy wrote it “raises the bar on fine dining and delivers a superb lineup of sake- and shochu-centric sips and delicate bites imbued with Japanese flavors.” The awards were announced at a ceremony in Barcelona. Fittingly, the host city is also home to the bar that claimed the coveted No. 1 spot, Paradiso. This is the first time a place outside of New York or London has received the distinction. All in all, the list features entrants from 26 cities around the globe. New York led the way with six honorees: Double Chicken Please (No. 6), Katana Kitten (No. 9), Attaboy (No. 22), Overstory (No. 34), Dante (No. 36) and Employees Only (No. 47). Miami’s Cafe La Trova landed at No. 21. First published in 2009, The World’s Best 50 Bar

Celebrate Octoberfest at Time Out Market Chicago

Celebrate Octoberfest at Time Out Market Chicago

Bust out your dirndl and lederhosen because Octoberfest is coming to Time Out Market Chicago! From October 7-9, folks can head to the Market for a weekend of family-friendly festivities and plenty of beer from partner Sam Adams. Oktoberfest, the annual festival held in Munich, Germany, is a celebration of Bavarian culture that attracts millions of attendees. But if you weren’t among those who made the trip across the Atlantic this year, don’t let FOMO get you down. Octoberfest at the Market is bringing the fun to Chicago. The event will kick off on Friday, October 7 with a stein hoisting competition. Each competitor will be tasked with holding a stein of beer, with their arm straight out and parallel to the ground. The person who is able to maintain the pose the longest will be declared the winner and receive a prize. For those who would rather drink than test their strength and endurance, there will be a pop-up bar selling $15 commemorative glass steins of Sam Adams Octoberfest. The mugs can be refilled throughout the weekend for $6. All the drinking is bound to work up an appetite. Luckily, one of Chicago’s best German-inspired restaurants, Funkenhausen, will also be popping up to help feed hungry stomachs. Chef Mark Steuer draws on his German and Southern background to create the imaginative menu at his West Town eatery, and for Octoberfest he’s come up with an appetizing spread of both classic and original bites. You’ll be able to dip a big pretzel in Alabama white barbec

How Big Kids and its smash burger were born during the pandemic

How Big Kids and its smash burger were born during the pandemic

When the pandemic hit and the restaurant industry was forced to shut down, Ryan Pfeiffer knew he wanted to do something different. The former executive chef of Blackbird, the Chicago fine dining stalwart that shuttered in 2020, had already received one of the highest honors—a Michelin star in 2015—but was ready embark on a new venture. After discussions with friend Mason Hereford, the mind behind celebrated New Orleans concept Turkey and the Wolf, the two chefs decided to join forces. “We did a lunch thing at Blackbird where he came up from New Orleans and we sold his sandwiches there. Then we just kind of talked about it after that. We’re like, ‘Hey, we should partner up and open a sandwich shop in Chicago,’” Pfeiffer recounts. Adding to the challenges of launching a new restaurant at the time was, of course, COVID-19. Despite countless places struggling to stay afloat, Pfeiffer wasn’t deterred. “I talked to Mason about it and we’re like, ‘You know, let’s just do it. We’re just sitting around right now. Try it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.’” Thanks to friends, Pfeiffer secured a home for the project in the space that previously housed Young American. And in October 2020, Big Kids was born. Appealing to nostalgia, the interior is decorated with ‘90s memorabilia while the menu features playful bites like the Amy N Nettie 5.0, a sandwich loaded with chicken tenders, tomato chimichurri, smoked paprika mayo, arugula and provolone. The operation began as takeout-only, but

Two Chicago spots are among the 50 best restaurants in America

Two Chicago spots are among the 50 best restaurants in America

Chicagoans already know about the depth of the city’s dining scene, but the New York Times has just weighed in and named two local spots to its list of the 50 best restaurants in America right now. The Times staff traveled across the county, visiting places both new and old, in search of the most exciting bites. In the end, Chicago’s own Evette’s and Dear Margaret made the cut for their “amazing” food. Evette’s, which is also one of the restaurants inside Time Out Market Chicago, explores Lebanese and Mexican flavors through a Midwestern lens. Named after owner Mitchell AbouJamra’s grandmother, the Lincoln Park shop offers favorites that include crispy golden fries topped with spit-roasted shawarma, and halloumi tacos dressed with jalapeño tabouli and whipped feta—a creation the Times declared “ingenious.” Over in Lakeview, Dear Margaret was praised for its take on French-Canadian cuisine. First-time restaurateurs Ryan Brosseau and Lacey Irby have built a warm and inviting dining room to enjoy comforts such as smooth duck liver pâté with pink lemon marmalade and buckwheat granola, and smelts fried in beef tallow. “Thanks to the grace of its cooking and service, Dear Margaret feels like an old soul,” the Times said. Having two restaurants honored put Chicago on equal ground with other cities like San Francisco, Nashville, Washington D.C. and Portland, Maine. New York City led the way with five inclusions. After an extremely challenging two years for the restaurant industry due

Garrett Popcorn and Revolution Brewing have produced a caramel beer

Garrett Popcorn and Revolution Brewing have produced a caramel beer

One of Chicago’s most famous snacks is being immortalized in beer form. Garrett Popcorn, the company behind the popped kernels enjoyed by both locals and tourists, has collaborated with Revolution Brewing to produce a CaramelCrisp-flavored ale. Four-packs have already begun hitting store shelves in the city and a statewide release is expected by October 1. The Chicago Tribune details the trial-and-error process of how the beer came to be. Instead of adding caramel or different types of popcorn while brewing, Revolution kept it simple by only using Garrett’s CaramelCrisp and a dose of brown sugar. At the very end, a dash of kosher salt helps further emulate the subtle taste of popcorn  All in all, 450 pounds of caramel popcorn and 1,200 pounds of sugar were needed to make the limited edition brew. The end result is a beer that the Tribune describes as “surprisingly dry and nuanced, rich with caramel essence and overtones, but only modest caramel-like sweetness.” And rather than being a substitute for the popcorn, it’s meant to serve as a complement.  The novelty of the product even extends to the packaging–the 16-ounce cans have the same design as a tin of Garrett Popcorn. It’s not the first time the company has worked with a brewery to produce a beer, either. Last year, Hop Butcher created an imperial chocolate stout with the oil used in Frango mints, a brand owned by Garrett. Hopheads and popcorn lovers have a few months to pick up a pack at a nearby Jewel-Osco or Binny’s bu

An upscale plant-based restaurant is coming to River North

An upscale plant-based restaurant is coming to River North

Fall may have just started but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start working on next year’s summer bod. Fortunately for Chicagoans, an upscale plant-based restaurant will soon be putting down its roots in River North to help boost the city’s vegan options. Planta Queen, part of a chain that originated in Canada, is taking over the space at 413 N Clark St, which was formerly the home to another health-conscious eatery—LYFE Kitchen. “We’re in great company in River North, and Planta Queen will introduce a fresh—and decadent—take on a plant-based menu to a neighborhood already known for elevated experiences and destination dining,” founder and CEO Steven Salm said in a release. Photograph: Courtesy of PlantaPlanta founders David Lee and Steven Salm. The new concept is scheduled to open on September 29 and will focus on Asian-inspired, veggie-forward dishes. Executive chef David Lee, who’s also a co-founder, has created a menu of sushi, dumplings, noodles and more to go along with the stylish space. Favorites include crispy gyoza stuffed with cabbage, carrots and mushrooms; udon noodles in truffle mushroom cream; and General D’s cauliflower, a riff on American-Chinese classic General Tso’s chicken. There’s also a selection of sushi, such as a spicy ‘tuna’ roll featuring dehydrated watermelon as a substitute for fish. Photograph: Courtesy of Planta On the beverage front, diners will be able to imbibe sustainably-minded cocktails sporting playful names. The Herb Your Enthus

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