Summer is in the rear-view and with cool fall days often comes a craving for comfort food. Chicago has no shortage of places that offer heavy, stick-to-your-ribs meals that aim to satisfy – and send you well into food coma.
Need a little help on where to find some filling, home-style foods? We’ve got you covered. Prepare to make a trip, fill up on warm meals and loosen your belt a few notches in the process.
Mac and cheese
Perhaps one of the ultimate comfort food, mac and cheese is a staple on many Chicago menus. For traditional mac and cheese – as well as comfort food of all sorts – try The Southern in Wicker Park. Some of the city’s famed barbecue joints, such as Smoque on the Northwest Side or downtown’s Bub City have the dish as a standout side. For award-winning mac, try Bucktown’s AMK Chicago, which took top honors last year at the city’s annual mac and cheese fest.
When your comfort food craving is one the sugary side, pie shops in the city can satisfy the sweet tooth. Try a slice at West Town’s Hoosier Mama Pie Company, which offers seasonal flavors and classics such as chocolate chess and banana cream. Shops such as Logan Square’s Bang Bang Pie Shop offer slices, cobblers and a variety of just-baked biscuits. Some places, such as First Slice Pie Café in Andersonville, give to good causes by offering outreach and job training programs in the community.
Chicken joints started hatching across the city in recent years – offering a hands-on way to get your grease fix. When you’re up north, try Avondale’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Closer to downtown, there are West Loop spots such as Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and South Side staples like Uncle Remus Saucy Fried Chicken.
Chicken and Dumplings
The warm dish aims to offer comfort on a chilly day. To get your fix, try the chicken and dumplings at Andersonvile’s Big Jones and see how it compares to Grandma’s.
With or without a side of tomato soup, grilled cheese fills your belly with warmth. Head to Cheesie’s in Lakeview where the sandwiches come with a variety of fillings, even the non-traditional, such as chicken tenders. If you’re really hungry, head to the South Loop to The Scout, and chow down on the sports bar’s foot-long sandwich, served with a side of tomato basil sauce for dipping.