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Take me out before or after the ballgame at Wrigley



A who’s who in the Chicago culinary orbit have landed in Wrigleyville like the Boka Group; Matthias Merges' craft driven Folkart Restaurant Management; and even Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano and Cubs manager Joe Maddon put their formidable heads together to open an interesting eatery steps from the ballpark. 

The area 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 bellyaching about gentrification, at least when it comes to baseball eats. 

Polish and Italian food memories of the Cubs' manager star at Maddon's Post and sticky, smoky meats are elevated to Major League status at The Smoke Daddy and Wrigley BBQ. Casual Aurelio's flies the "W" for winning local pizza 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 West Town Bakery or FRÍO Gelato. 

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. 


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Even though there's an advertisement right in its name, Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern also stocks classic and modern craft cocktails; a decent selection of craft and domestic beers; as well as sparkling, red and white wine. Belly up to any of four bars throughout plus two outdoor terraces with floor-to-ceiling garage-style windows. Don't let the sports-focused atmosphere lower your expectations on the food roster. In addition to expected starters like nachos, wings and cheese fries, the menu boasts steak tacos and lemon garlic hummus plus surprising specialties like lollipop lamb chops with chimichurri french fries; Hoban's Sausage & Peppers on a dusted hoagie roll; a mighty Chicago Polish with the classic toppings; pizzas; and even an Impossible Burger. Wrap up the ninth inning with a cake shake or a sundae in a red and blue waffle bowl. A ginormous all-you-can-eat brunch buffet ensues weekends when the Cubs are on the road.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: Adjacent to Wrigley Field, Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern has location and size on its side when you're in Wrigleyville looking for a cold drink and impressive brunch.

Jacky's expert tip: Chances are you'll snag a seat even on game day. The tavern is a 15,000 square-foot, multi-level, open-air concept, welcoming up to 900 guests.

Read more about Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern →




Making a splashy debut on Cubs' opening day, 2018 within 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, fish, potato and Panza tacos constructed with tortillas made in house daily. There are riffs on ballpark favorites, like Big Star Hot Chips, a mash-up of baseball nachos and chilaquiles, and a bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dog. The extensive bourbon program includes exclusive House Barrel selections from Kentucky and a mess of tequilas and mezcal. Count on prime-time game watching on eight retractable TV screens that will be tucked away on non-game days.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: It's two stories plus an alfresco fantasia of tacos and drinks steps from the ballpark.

Jacky's expert tip: Game days are always slammed and weekends are typically busy but otherwise it's first come first serve for a seat on the patio that overlooks Wrigley Field.

Read more about Big Star Wrigleyville →




Duplicating the urban vibe of West Town Bakery's original location (hence its name), the cheery spot adjacent to Hotel Zachary's lobby lists new sips and bites for its Wrigleyville outpost. One would think that adult bevvies and sweets are the antidotes 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. Enjoy Dark Matter coffee drinks, cake balls, pastries and a bar fully stocked with beer 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 freshly baked, warm, stuffed buns like a veggie, egg and cheese. Notice interiors featuring art, cartoons and graffiti from local street artists.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: It's a cocktail and dessert in one plus there are easy to eat on-the-go sandwiches, cupcakes and pastries.

Jacky's expert tip: Monday through Friday, enjoy $5 large coffee or iced or hot tea and breakfast pastry from 7 to 9 a.m.

Read more about West Town Bakery and Tap →


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Just a couple blocks from Wrigley Field, Aurelio's is a comfy place to watch the game with 25 60-inch HDTV flat-screen televisions broadcasting every Cubs game. There are open-air patio doors for freshness and the bar is a great place to hang out before, during, and after the game. Pregame specials include beer buckets, specialty drinks, and pizza by the slice. Families will be comfortable in the dining room and during summer, additional seats open in the outdoor cafe. Aurelio's proprietary pizza sauce gives the pie a unique "zing" and pizza fans are thrilled with the boulders of sausage. This outpost offers 20 different draft beers on tap in addition to a variety of craft beer and wine.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: Aurelio's in Wrigleyville has 25 60-inch HDTV's playing every Cubs game, an open-air patio and pregame food and drink specials.

Jacky's expert tip: Aurelio's in Wrigleyville can accommodate groups with space, great local pizza, and efficient service before and after games.

Read more about Aurelio's Pizza →




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. Have a coffee flavored with your choice of melted gelato (instead of artificial syrups), too.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: FRÍO Gelato® pasteurizes and produces a homemade recipe made with hormone-free milk for sumptuous, clean desserts.

Jacky's expert tip: Can't decide? Try a sampler of the most typical Argentine gelato flavors: dulce de leche, sambayón, malbec with berries and yerba mate.

Read more about FRÍO Gelato →




Detroit pizza, an "Austin" vibe and the Chicago Cubs just one block south make the successful combo that is Union Full Board. Chef/Partner Vince DiBattista offers a tempting roster small plates that focus on local and organic producers, ranging from tender meatballs and broccoli with whipped feta to a fried baloney sandwich and organic salmon. Many come for the renowned individual-sized, Detroit-style square-cut pies with their caramelized crisp crusts. There are nearly a dozen from which to choose and it's advised to add Mike's Hot Honey & pickled jalepeño to the superb pepperoni pizza. Moisten the pipes with signature cocktails, a nice roster of local craft brews on tap as well as a global list and plenty of wine selections. Weekend brunch adds more delights like vanilla bean scones with jam; lemon ricotta French toast; shrimp and grits; and short rib hash.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: Even native Detroiter's rave about Union Full Board's excellent pies and locals love the cool lounge one floor below.

Jacky's expert tip: Ask for a seat on Union Full Board's 100-seat street-level patio that includes its own bar and games.

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Super successful Boka Restaurant Group brought Dutch and Doc's to Wrigleyville serving upscale American fare for the whole family. Sis can order an avocado and goat cheese grain bowl while Mom goes for the Wrigley Brick Chicken served with crispy potatoes, salsa verde and roasted lemon. Larger appetites won't be disappointed with the Hanger steak and fries or spiced pork ribs. Good hand-helds include braised brisket sandwich; tavern burger; grilled veg panini; and an Indiana style pork loin sandwich. Perfect nostalgic endings include yummy vanilla ice cream nestled between chocolate shortbread and a Cubby Bear sundae topped with a teeny Cubs cap. Weekend brunch has biscuits & gravy; salads; pastries; and quiche in the line-up along with Mimosas and Marys. Check the web site for game day and Happy Hour specials.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: Dutch and Doc's stocks reliable comfort classics for all ages steps away from Wrigley Field.

Jacky's expert tip: Have Junior join Dutch & Doc's Clean Plate Club, where kids under 12 get special treats on birthdays and invitations to kid-friendly events.

Read more about Dutch & Doc's →




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 fruitwoods and finished with house-made sauces. Opt for Chicago 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 a selection of drafts, 15 beers by the bottle, a Boilermaker or an adult cherry cola cocktail.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: Location, location, location - and it's a known quantity serving great "Q" in Chicago since 1994.

Jacky's expert tip: On Saturday and Sunday, Smoke Daddy Wrigleyville presents family-style brunch and bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys (for an extra charge).

Read more about The Smoke Daddy →




Perhaps you're not up for just a slice and a brewski or the snooty in-laws are in town who prefer artisan fresh oysters, Prime beef tartare and a grilled whole Branzino. Take 'em to Mordecai, a bi-level cocktail bar and restaurant attached to the Hotel Zachary. Those who appreciate fine sips will go for something from the collection of rare spirits that focuses on rare bourbon. Chef Matthias Merges aims for refined, American-inspired bar fare (beer-battered cheese curds and pickles with Calabrian chili aioli for example); and a diverse list list that includes classic steak frites; fish 'n' chips; fine salads and sandwiches and a Mordecai Burger (for the restaurant's namesake - Cubs pitcher and World Series champion, Mordecai Brown) that's constructed from Slagel Farms beef, Cooper cheese, pickles, aioli and fries.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: When peanuts and Crackerjack sound woeful, Mordecai Whiskey & Grill offers a refined dining and drinking experience steps from the ballpark.

Jacky's expert tip: The top floor opens onto a spacious patio, great on game days and also for a cocktail and a bite in the neighborhood year-round.

Read more about Mordecai →




Maddon's Post couldn't be anywhere BUT Wrigleyville. The brainchild of chef, Tony Mantuano of Michelin-starred Spiaggia; Cubs' Manager Joe Maddon; and Executive Chef Aaron Thebault (formerly of Girl & the Goat), the new place reimagines the Italian and Polish dishes of Maddon's childhood with a modern touch. Excellent hand-folded pierogi, satisfying wood-fired pizzas (trust us - try the mortadella cups version) and hand-made pasta elevate the neighborhood's bar grub without any fussiness. Share crispy squares of pork dunked into bay leaf aioli or Dorothy's potato pancake - the kind of vittles Polish grandmas served atop Formica kitchen tables. Among the pasta, Mama K'S pappardelle with pancetta, onions, cabbage and Fontina hits it out of the ballpark. Although beer on draft is limited, there are cans and bottles; innovative cocktails, thoughtful wine selections, grogs and local coffee. Little leaguers get their own menu and rooftop views pair well with large format craft punches.

Recommended for Restaurants near Wrigley Field because: While raucous bros spill onto the streets, Maddon's Post offers a centered, cheerful respite no matter what the scoreboard says.

Jacky's expert tip: Box up some of your entrees so you have room for chocolate paczki - the pre-Lenten pastry offered here year-round.

Read more about Maddon's Post →


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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

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