Did FX’s latest hit series The Bear (available to stream on Hulu) leave you drinking from plastic food containers and salivating for a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich? Heard, Chef. While the tension between Carmy and his kitchen crew can be anxiety-inducing, when you watch the perfectly sliced, slow-roasted beef being piled on a toasted Italian bun, topped with giardiniera, and served up wet to the next patron waiting at the counter—you can’t help but wonder where you too can get your hands on this Chicagoan cuisine.
Although the restaurant featured in the series—The Original Beef of Chicagoland—is unfortunately fictional, the show pays tribute to some of the city’s longtime restaurant and food staples during the intro of the infamous seventh episode, “Review.” With Sufjan Stevens’s “Chicago” playing in the background, the episode starts with a montage of the city, which includes a string of foodie locations.
If you blink at all during this intro, there’s a good chance you’ll miss these culinary nods—so instead of forcing yourself to rewatch the manic chaos, here are the six famous Chicago eateries featured in “Review.”
1. Johnnie’s Beef
Arguably serving the best Italian beef sandwiches in Chicago, Johnnie’s might be the closest you can get to a real-life experience of The Bear, minus the drama. Patrons wait in long lines at the Elmwood Park location to anxiously give quick-hitting orders that are then shouted back to the kitchen, similar to the operations seen in the show. If you’re planning a visit to this stand, be sure to bring cash, know your order before getting in line, and don’t forget to wash down your sandwich and fries with a classic Italian lemonade.
2. Parky’s Hot Dogs
Don’t let the futuristic architecture and vibrant building colors fool you: This iconic stand—famous for its steamed, non-Vienna dogs—has been serving hot dogs and fries in Forest Park since 1947. Parky’s patrons can customize hot dogs to their liking, judgment-free of whatever condiments and toppings they choose (including ketchup). You can also snag burgers, beef and Italian sausages, and more at this longtime family-favorite establishment.
3. Pequod’s Pizzeria
You can’t talk about Chicago cuisine without mentioning pizza, and you can’t talk about pizza without mentioning Pequod’s. This pizzeria puts a twist on its pies that differentiates it from other deep dish rivals like Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, and the like. The unique, caramelized crust keeps patrons coming back for more, and is often why this restaurant finds itself at the top of Chicago pizza-ranking lists. The original location can be found in Morton Grove, but most city-goers seek out the Lincoln Park restaurant, which has been open since 1992.
4. Superdawg Drive-In
For more than 70 years, this drive-in has been serving up its famous Superdawg Chicago-style hot dogs in the Norwood Park neighborhood. What started as a means for two high school sweethearts to pay their way through college after World War II is now one of the few original drive-in restaurants remaining in the U.S.—and the only one still standing in Chicago. Easily recognized by the two giant fiberglass hot dogs standing on the top of the building, visitors from all over flock to Superdawg for an authentic taste of Chicago cuisine, and nostalgia that you simply can’t find at other restaurants.
5. Gene and Jude’s
Since 1950, Chicago residents and tourists alike have lined up outside of Gene and Jude’s in River Grove for a taste of its famous Chicago-style hot dogs and hand-cut fries. Unlike Parky’s, these all-Vienna Beef dogs have a limited selection of condiments: mustard, relish, onion, and sport peppers. So don’t even think about asking for ketchup at this establishment, as it’s quite literally not an option. All dogs are topped with fries and available in single or double variations.
6. Wrigley Field
There are few things that are more quintessential Chicago than downing a Chicago-style hot dog while cheering on the Cubbies at Wrigley Field. There’s a plethora of food options at the stadium, but there’s nothing quite as iconic as the official hot dog of Wrigley Field. Made with an all-Vienna Beef dog and topped with mustard, relish, chopped raw onions, sliced tomato, a kosher pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt, you won’t find this dog at any other ballpark—not even at a White Sox game. Even if you’re not a fan of all of the Wrigley-dog toppings, it’s a must-try meal, especially for first-time stadium visitors.
Play ball: 9 baseball stadiums to get fans excited for Opening Day