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Jul 23, 2001 07:48 PM

First visit to Chicago...ideas of where to eat

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My wife and I will be in Chicago during the first week in August for the first time, Staying at the Drake Hotel. Where's the best chili in town? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. How about authentic Chicago specialties? Any good Greek food in the area?

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  1. Welcome Ed. Any good Greek? You bet your ***. Please take a look down this board and you'll find a variety of choices and Chicago favorites. If you have more questions, please call on us but I think most of your questions will be answered herein.
    Regarding chili - whatcha lookin' for? The red stuff, the green stuff - mexican, american? There are so many types it's difficult to answer your query. And I'm curious as to where you got the idea that Chicago is a chili town.

    1. The chili scene in Chicago isn’t all that great but there are a few places that might be worth a visit. Just don’t have unrealistic expectations. I posted a long report on Chicago chili in chi.eats earlier this year if you want details on other places.

      A relatively new place, Chili Mac's on Broadway is probably the best of the bunch. Their Texas style is a very respectable version with a fair amount of chopped beef and evidence of real chili pods but no tomatoes or beans. It's reasonably spicy but not particularly hot. I have yet to try the other 3 versions.

      Bishop’s, at 18th and Damen, was probably the best known of the old-time Chicago parlors but it has closed (there may still be some in the suburbs). I never thought too highly of their chili but it was a neat old place.

      Since Bishop's closed their doors in Chicago, Lindy's is often cited as the representative Chicago chili parlor. I don't know about any of the new locations but the original (1924) on Archer may still be worth a visit. Unfortunately the chili is not all that great. Points for the nice red color and tomatoless formula but demerits for blandness. The bar room picture of the Chicago skyline with Daley's disembodied head floating above is classic. Filbert's root beer on tap.

      Ramova is a real old-time chili parlor and grill. I love this place but not exclusively for the food; there are so few like it remaining. The chili is more interesting than great but I appreciate it more each time I go. No tomatoes, no beans (except on request; they're cooked separately), and no ground beef, just lots of shreds and shards of meat. It's a very thick base and a complex but not hot spice mix with hints of cinnamon and clove. Like the rest of the place, I doubt the recipe has changed since the 1920s. This is a great old Chicago place which won't be to everyone's liking.

      Chili Mac's
      3152 N Broadway
      Chicago IL

      Lindy's Chili
      3685 S Archer Av
      Chicago, IL

      Ramova Grill
      3507 S Halsted
      Chicago IL