Restaurants in Chicago have grown to a level of sophistication that challenge any food scene in the U.S. The windy city blows the industry away with not only America’s best steaks, hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, and Italian beef, but also Michelin-starred world-class experiences and revolutionary cocktails that are truly one of a kind. With a culture this eclectic and dynamic, it’s no surprise Chicago is home to the NRA Show and Foodable.io., Foodable’s new event and food-focused film festival. This year, Chicago also hosted the James Beard Awards for the second time in the program’s 32-year history, which honors the best of the culinary industry. The city holds over 40 JBF Award winners including leading chefs such as Stephanie Izard, Rick Bayless and Grant Achatz.
However, it takes more than passion to run an experiential restaurant — Chicago’s plentiful and affordable real estate seals the city’s position as a leader. Chicago has seen nowhere near as many closures as coastal cities such as NYC and San Francisco, which is something that can be credited to lower rent costs. The inexpensive real estate is what allows operators to take risks and experiment, leading to more successful innovative concepts.
Wondering where to start on Chicago’s diverse restaurant selections? Consider this your guide to Chicago’s best in class restaurants.