Lunch in Chicago: More than Deep-Dish Pizzas

Lunch in Chicago is a great way to experience the local flavor. Whether you’re looking for one of Chicago’s famous deep dish pizzas, an Italian beef sandwich or to dine at one of its many ethnic restaurants, Chicago’s dining scene offers many options.

A bit off the beaten path but not exactly in a quiet neighborhood is Twisted Spoke. You’ll know you found the right place if you see the skeleton on the motorcycle above the joint. Once inside, consider the shrimp po-boys or FatBoy burger and if you’re not in a hurry, the place has more than 400 whiskeys in stock to enjoy.

Craving something more Chicago-y? Pequod’s is arguably one of Chicago’s best dish deep pizza restaurants while Al’s #1 has some of the best Italian beef sandwiches in the city.

Chicago is also home to many ethnic groups that have lovingly brought along their unique tastes. It’s worth heading into Chicago’s ethnically diverse neighborhoods for some authentic flavors and lunch is often the best time to check them out.

Photo courtesy of Photo by Jamie Bartosch

Outstanding food in a stylish setting, Naha is a terrific choice for an upscale lunch. The entree list reads like it's pulled directly from a who's who of award-winning dishes, including wild halibut with mushrooms and squash, herb-roasted wild...  Read More

Little Italy
Al's #1

Spots to sample a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich abound, but no place holds a candle to the Little Italy original, which has been around since the late 30s. Steak spiced with garlic and oregano, grilled onions and peppers and a soggy loaf...  Read More

Like many city downtown areas, finding an indie restaurant that's good, relatively inexpensive and accessible isn't easy. Nestled on bustling Ohio Street, Emilio's (as everyone here calls it) has a colorful interior (murals line the walls) and...  Read More

A skeleton on a giant spinning motorcycle on the roof of the building greets hungry diners morning, noon and night. It's biker-friendly (Think bikes from the '40s.), but the diverse crowd doesn't make anyone feel excluded. Motorcycle parts are...  Read More

Lincoln Park

There is some debate among diners on whether the pizza here is considered deep dish or pan pizza. Pequod's uses the terms interchangeably but once you get past the debate, few will argue that its caramelized crust is stuff of pizza dreams. Their...  Read More

This cafeteria-styled Chicago institution offers some of the Windy City's best lunches. Expect to find the deli crowded with everybody from politicians (Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have been known to...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of m. henry

This is a longtime favorite in the north side Andersonville neighborhood. Located on a stretch with lots of bars, restaurants and shopping, this restaurant is beloved for its fresh food and creative twists on American food. They use locally...  Read More

Little Goat Diner
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Boka Restaurant Group

Celebrity chef Stephanie Izard's adorable modern diner features all sorts of creative and delicious menu items, including Fat Elvis waffles, and a fun dish named "Kimchee & Bacon & Eggs & Pancakes Asian Style Breakfast Tasty Thing."...  Read More

This market consists of dozens of different restaurants and bakeries that aren't exclusively French, but almost all of them are delicious. You don't feel like you're in a Parisian market in this concrete-floored, below-the-train station...  Read More

Gayle's Best Ever Grilled Cheese
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Gayle Voss

The restaurant's name says it all. After massive popularity at local farmers markets, owner Gayle Voss opened a permanent home for her famous sandwiches in February 2016. Located in the new Block Thirty Seven mall, right off the Red Line and...  Read More


Meet Jamie Bartosch

Jamie Bartosch is a lifelong Chicagoan who thinks her hometown is the greatest city in the world. She is an award-winning newspaper reporter, a freelance travel writer, and the mother of two great kids.