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where to eat in Chicago

Casual Chicago Dining Guide

Chicago has world-class museums, renowned architecture, and a vibrant culture.  Chicago restaurants reflect this history, diversity, and color.   Fine dining abounds, but the casual dining opportunities are overwhelming. On your next trip, check out the following options for Chicago restaurants:


Giordano’s Pizzeria

Opening in 1974, Giordano’s is ubiquitous to Chicago dining.  As one of the pioneers of Chicago Style stuffed crust pizza, they continue to be a favorite to tourists and locals alike.  There is an ever-growing number of locations, so its normally a very convenient Chicago Restaurant from any location.

Chicago stuffed crust doesn’t mean they add a little cheese in the crust like your local pizza chain.  They start with a thin crust, toppings and sauce, another crust, more sauce and cheese. 

Chicago Dining Tip:  Take your server’s recommendations on how much to order.  The pizza is very filling, so a small isn’t really that ‘small’. 

Find a Giordanos Near You


Gino’s East of Chicago

We aren’t done with Pizza yet. 

When speaking to non-locals, Gino’s and Giordano’s are frequently confused.  Their names, locations, and cuisine type may be similar, but the pizza is not. 

Gino’s opened in 1966 right off of Michigan Avenue.  The downtown Chicago restaurant location couldn’t be more convenient to all the shopping, tourist attractions, hotels, and more.  The ambience is authentic as the food, bring a small bottle of white out if you want to leave your mark on this historical Chicago Restaurant (if you can find some room).

Gino’s specializes in a deep dish pizza.  The golden brown crust is crispy and incredibly filling.  Order modestly.

Chicago Dining Tip:  If you are headed to the original Chicago Downtown restaurant location, get there early.  The line starts filling up the sidewalk as early as 5:30 PM, and doesn’t let up until quite late. 

Gino's East


Al’s Beef

Pizza is great for a big family dinner, but how about a quick lunch?  Everyone knows sandwiches are for lunch.  Your Chicago restaurant choice for sandwiches is clear:  Al’s Beef.

Al’s Beef (aka Al’s #1 Italian Beef) has been winning awards for its Italian beef, sausage, and other sandwiches.  Lines travel around the corner during the busier times at some locations. 

There is nothing like an Italian beef sandwich when it comes to comfort food, and there is no Italian beef sandwich like Al’s.

Chicago Dining Tip:  Some food does better than others as “Take Out”.  When you can, eat your sandwich right there in the shop. If you have to travel it will be…   soggy.

Al's Beef


Black Dog Gelato

All right.  Time to cool down some of that spice.  And can we all agree we are over Frozen Yogurt? Again?

Black Dog Gelato is the creation of renowned pastry chef and gelatorier (yes, that word is made up) Jessica Oloroso.  Oloroso has been perfecting her craft in Gelato in fine restaurants over the past several years, and now has launched her own storefront. 

Black Dog offers traditional Gelato flavors, and some unique options.  Some flavors are available on a seasonal basis, using local produce.   In addition to a cup of gelato, try the whiskey gelato bar (whiskey-spiked bar covered in chocolate), gelato cookie sandwiches, and custom Italian sodas.  Delightful. 

Chicago Dining Tip:  Sampling is encouraged!  Even if you have a favorite, try the others.  You never know what you might be missing.

Black Dog Gelato

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