There is no doubt that Chicago is one of the best food destinations in the U.S., especially in recent years. Choices for restaurants, specialty shops, and bars are overwhelming, and you may only be in town for two days on business or for a quick visit. I’ve written extensively about the Chicago food scene according to neighborhoods, cuisine, and mass transit line here at Feeding Off The Rails. However, I thought it was about time that I create some convenient food itineraries that take the guesswork out of dining in The Windy City using the local trains and buses. Below is the first installment of my new blog series, Eating Chicago in 2 Days. Ditch the car and follow me!
Day 1 – Eating Chicago in 2 Days – Vol 1
Whether you arrive in Chicago in the morning, afternoon or evening, head to
the West Loop and fuel up with some coffee at Little Goat Bakery. Top Chef winner, Stephanie Izard, has included this spot in her “goat-named empire,” including Little Goat Diner (attached to this Little Goat Bakery) and Girl & the Goat. The coffee creations at Little Goat Bakery are well-executed and, yes, they have goat milk on hand. I love the Vietnamese-style coffee made with condensed milk, as well. Grab a seat at the bar and enjoy some bagels, pastries, oatmeal or the all-day breakfast menu. – 820 W. Randolph St. (3 blocks east of the Morgan ‘L’ stop on the Green Line)
When lunchtime rolls around and you’re looking for a meal with a view, head up to River Roast on the Chicago River. Whether you choose some from their selection of table-carved meats and fish or fantastic sandwiches and soup, you will be eating Chicago with a sweeping view of the skyline and river. If you happen to be visiting Chicago on the weekend, you should check out River Roast’s “Blues ‘n Brews” Brunch with live bands. – 315 N. LaSalle St. (two blocks north of the Clark/Lake stop on the Green, Blue, Pink, Purple, Brown and Orange Lines.)
Whenever you visit a new city, you should explore beyond the downtown area. That said, you can continue eating Chicago by hopping the Blue Line up to Osteria Langhe in Logan Square. This charming Italian restaurant specializes in the cuisine of Italy’s Piedmont region. All of the dishes are delicious but try the daily risotto special or the seafood dishes. If you visit Osteria Langhe during its “Trifecta Tuesday” event, you can try a three-course meal for $38. If you’re here on Sunday, the chef prepares a popular “All-You-Can-Eat-Sunday-Ragu.” No matter what you order, make sure to try their famous plin. – 2824 W. Armitage Ave. (five blocks south and two blocks west of the California ‘L’ stop on the Blue LIne.)
While you’re in the Logan Square neighborhood, walk over to Longman & Eagle for a cocktail. The bartenders here are talented, and whiskey is their specialty although there is a full bar. Longman & Eagle is a restaurant/bar with a small number of rooms upstairs where you can stay while in Chicago.
Don’t miss out on the stellar music scene while you’re eating Chicago. Take a break from your food frenzy and visit one or more of the 21 Awesome Chicago Concert Venues.
Day 2 – Eating Chicago in 2 Days – Vol. 1
One of the very best places to experience great coffee in Chicago is at Caffe Umbria in River North neighborhood. Located inside a busy office building, this west coast, coffee roaster uses beans blended from Africa and Latin America and its Italian espresso is divine. I recommend you try to Nocciola and the Cafe Piccante drinks. Caffe Umbria offers pastries from several local bakeries. – 346 N. Clark St. (two blocks north of the Clark/Lake ‘L’ stop on the Orange, Brown, Green, Blue, Pink and Purple Lines or two blocks east of the Merchandise Mart ‘L’ stop on the Brown and Purple Lines.)
When you’re hungry for lunch, you can continue eating Chicago in Lincoln Square/Ravenswood neighborhood which is home to Luella’s Southern Kitchen. This place will do you right! Get the fried green tomatoes and the shrimp ‘n grits with some sweet tea. The menu is like a big hug from the owner and chef’s grandmother. – 4609 N. Lincoln Ave. (Three blocks east and two blocks south of the Western ‘L’ stop on the Brown Line.
As you wind down your time eating Chicago in two days, head to the south side and duck into The Duck Inn for dinner. Chef/Owner Kevin Hickey dedicated this love letter to his Bridgeport neighborhood where he grew up. Call ahead and order the signature duck for you and a friend or try one of the many appetizers and potent cocktails. If you are visiting The Duck Inn during the warmer months, sit outside on the lovely backyard patio and garden. – 2701 S. Eleanor St. (Take the #62 Archer bus to Loomis (transfer at the Halsted ‘L’ stop on the Orange Line) and walk north to Eleanor St.
Round off your evening in Bridgeport with a cocktail or nightcap at the legendary Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar. This beloved, neighborhood dive bar has fantastic craft beer and cocktails at the back of this retail liquor store. If you’re lucky, Maria will be at the cash register. – 960 W. 31st St.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions for Eating Chicago in 2 Days – Vol. 1. Subscribe to Feeding Off The Rails today or stop by again soon for more posts in this new blog series of 2-day food itineraries in Chicago.
In the meantime, check out my posts about 30 Coolest Chicago Coffee Spots Chicago Food: Daisies, Shokolad, Chicago Cut Steakhouse and Where to Eat and Drink in Chicago’s Humboldt Park.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and ride the CTA trains and buses as you continue Eating Chicago in 2 Days – Vol. 1. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!