The best places to eat and drink near Chicago's Wrigley Field

A who’s who in the Chicago culinary orbit are landing in Wrigleyville like the Boka Group (see The Girl and the Goat and GT Fish & Oyster); Matthias Merges' craft driven Folkart Restaurant Management; and even Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano and Cubs manager Joe Maddon are putting their formidable heads together to open an eatery in the coming months. 

The area surrounding the ballpark, known as "Wrigleyville," is changing: exciting for the young bucks, bittersweet for others who love the old timey neighborhood feel to the home of the Chicago Cubs. But honestly, you can now get a roasted cauliflower with red pesto sandwich INSIDE the park, so quit your belly aching about gentrification, at least when it comes to baseball eats. 

Gourmet burgers star in the lineup at Rockit Burger Bar and sticky, smoky meats are elevated to Major League status at The Smoke Daddy and Wrigley BBQ. Casual Lowcountry  flies the "W" for winning seafood and Mexican street food nourishes fans at Big Star Wrigleyville. Is there refined food in baseball? There is if you head to Mordecai. For something cold and sweet on a hot summer day, head to FRÍO Gelato, West Town Bakery or Snow Junkie Cafe

Wrigley Field is right off the Addison Red Line stop so it’s also nice to visit when the stadium is dark and an unhurried, quieter dining and drinking experience awaits. The neighborhood attracts lots of post college locals looking to duplicate raucous school days so bars along Clark Street are packed from April to October. 


Lake View

A seven-minute ride from Cubs country gets you to Lowcountry's fresh seafood boil. Concert goers or baseball fans will go for special combos that include one pound of shrimp, one pound of snow crab, six corn pieces, six red potatoes, four pieces of cornbread and two drinks. If you don't feel like peeling and picking, order deep fried items like shrimp, calamari. soft shell crab, wings, garlic beignets and popcorn chicken. Try some of the killer cocktails like Lowcountry Limeaid with Ford's gin; The Carlos featuring Chicago's favorite libation, Malort; and the appropriately named Clark and Addison with Ketel One vodka, blue curaçao, millet, carbon, lemon grass, tiki/plum/rhubarb bitters.

The neighborhood is being flooded with culinary upstarts, including pizzerias, but locals seem to love Dimo's especially after an assortment of adult beverages. Serving New York style pizza with interesting variations (no sweat - you can still get the classics like pepperoni, sausage, and plain old cheese) there's an extensive menu of downright crazy pies. The most popular pizzas are the mac and cheese, BBQ chicken bacon cheddar ranch, steak & fries, s'mores, burrito and the chicken and waffles. Count on an array of delicious vegan options (how about marinated tofu on a peanut sauce base with cilantro and sprouts) and rotating seasonal choices like the summery elotes street corn pizza. Dimo's is an easy choice for made-from-scratch whole pizzas or a slice after a game at Wrigley Field. It's also BYOB, and with slices under $5, it's a budget-friendly place with a happy vibe.

A Good Humor bar at the park is fine in a pinch, but to really celebrate a W or assuage the pain of a loss against the Cardinals, check into FRÍO Gelato, three minutes away from Wrigley. Chicago's only Argentine gelato producer, the ice cream and sorbets at FRÍO are made by hand in an allergen-friendly kitchen using all-natural ingredients, Standout gelato flavors include Fig with Cognac, avocado, a coconut-pineapple Piña Colada, Malbec with Berries, Sambayón, and Queso y Miel (cheese and honey), as well as handcrafted waffle cones called Cucuruchos. Water-based sorbets are ultra refreshing on a hot summer day with flavors like tamarind, passion fruit, plum and kiwi. FRÍO Gelato also makes crepes to order, sundaes and Ahogado, a frozen dessert of a shot of espresso poured over gelato.


When typical ball park options place you in an "L" column state-of-mind, look for Snow Junkie Cafe. Just a few blocks north of Wrigley, the shop brings beautiful delicious bites and desserts to this corner of the city. Eggettes are fluffy waffles (Hong Kong's most popular street food) stuffed with shaved scoops of cold confection and topped with various syrups, pocki, macarons, candies and lychee jelly. Shaved snow, a Taiwanese dessert, counts legions of fans, and one of the newest creations, the multi-flavored Rainbow Shaved Snow, has become an Instagram favorite. Although the shop had been closing for winter, it's now open year-round with an expanded menu that includes Bánh mì sandwiches like garlic chicken, all veggie and beef kalbi as well as a variety of drinks. Try butterscotch beer (non alcoholic cream soda and butterscotch), ube smoothies (purple yam, coconut cream and vanilla ice cream) and Vietnamese coffee.

If authentic, scratch-made, smoked meats, like brisket, pulled pork, chicken or St. Louis ribs, pique your salivary glands, take a a two minute drive from the ball park via Addison to Wrigley BBQ. The Wrigleyville staple, under the leadership of pitmaster Mitch Liebovich, offers made in-house barbecue, from Mitch's signature Sam & Erna Sandwich combining bold brisket and smoky pulled pork to classic burgers and barbecue platters.The Jumbo Whole Wings are rubbed with a homemade spice blend and wood smoked or fried until golden-brown and served with sides like mac & cheese, jalapeño corn bread or cole slaw. Sweeten it up with Bourbon Bread Pudding and S'Mores Pie for dessert.

Making a splashy debut on Cubs' opening day, 2018 within the newly opened Hotel Zachary, Big Star Wrigleyville joins the original Wicker Park location offering tacos, affordable libations and tunes. Nearly 300 restaurant and bar seats should cut down a wait for takes on Mexican street food like Al Pastor, Baja Fish, and Panza tacos constructed with tortillas made in house daily. There are riffs on on ballpark favorites, like Big Star Hot Chips, a mash up of baseball nachos and chilaquiles. The extensive bourbon program includes 20 exclusive House Barrel selections from Kentucky. Count on prime-time game watching on eight retractable TV screens that will be tucked away on non-game days.

Duplicating the urban vibe of West Town Bakery's original location (hence its name), the new spot adjacent to Hotel Zachary's lobby lists new sips and bites for its Wrigleyville debut. One would think that adult bevvies and sweets are the antidote for a glum Cubs' loss, but now that we think about it, it's a perf pairing for a Cubs' win or an anytime stop in the neighborhood. Expect elevated baked goods and a bar fully stocked with beer, cold-brew coffee and cocktails on tap. Imagine that - Cubs fans can sip on cocktails inspired by bakery favorites taking a drinker from cocktail to dessert in one effort at bat. In addition to boozy shakes, fancy cocktails, impressive beer on tap, wine and shots, there are sundaes. soft serve, pastries, cup cakes and freshly baked, warm, stuffed buns from a cheeseburger and Philly cheesesteak to breakfast sandwiches. Did we mention they pour Dark Matter Coffee, too?

Firing up Wicker Park since '94, Smoke Daddy stokes the coals in Wrigleyville, too, as of 2018. Barbecue fans should expect identical smoked meats and housemade sauces available at the original spot but also blues and baseball. Located inside Hotel Zachary the 300-seat eatery on two-levels includes an outdoor terrace overlooking The Park at Wrigley and live music seven days a week. The barbecue is Midwestern by way of Kansas City with meats smoked in-house over fruit woods and finished with housemade sauces. Opt for St. Louis Style Spare Ribs, Baby Back Ribs, smoked chicken or combo platters; and salads and sandwiches including burnt ends or sliced brisket with provolone and onion rings. You have your baseball, barbecue and blues, so complete the perfect circle with selection of drafts and 15 beers by the bottle.

Perhaps you're not up for just a slice and a brewski or the snooty in-laws are in town who prefer artisan cheese, Chicken Liver Parfait and a goat bratwurst with 18-hour sauerkraut. Take 'em to Mordecai, a bi-level cocktail bar and restaurant attached to the Hotel Zachary. Those who appreciate fine spirits will go for the namesake (Cubs pitcher and World Series champion Mordecai Brown) as well as the 250 rare bottles, especially whiskey - Chicago's most diverse collection of antique spirits. Chef Jared Wentworth (Longman & Eagle) aims for refined, American-inspired bar fare (warm Gougeres with aged cheddar mornay is a perfect example);a game day list that includes asparagus salad, fish 'n' chips and a couple burger renditions; and a regular menu of tempting small plates from roasted bone marrow and Ora Bay salmon crudo to fine salads, sandwiches and grilled entrees like Hanger steak and summer flounder.


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky