Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Apr 3, 2007 08:23 AM

Chicago classic restaurants?

Visiting Chicago and want to know the classic restaurants to hit. I heard Berghoff's closed, right? Which other ones should I not miss? And what should I order?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What do you mean by "classic"? Places that have been around for a long time (e.g. Lou Mitchell's)? Places that are among the very best restaurants in the country (e.g. Alinea, Avenues, Everest)? Places that are unique to Chicago (deep-dish pizza)?

    If there is a particular kind of food or kind of restaurant, or a particular neighborhood you will be visiting, it will help narrow down recommendations among the thousands of restaurants here.

    Berghoff's re-opened but I'm not sure of the exact status, and I've heard that it's only part of the original restaurant; I'm sure others here can elaborate.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      By "classic" I mean been around for a bit and are uniquely Chicago. Not the trendy new place. The classic older place.

    2. Berghoff has reopened as 17 West at the Berghoff. It occupies about 1/3 the space of the original restaurant and the menu is not as extensive. But many of the favorites remain available.

      1. Well, there's "been around for a bit" and "been around for even longer". ;)

        For example, the deep-dish pizza places like Giordano's, Gino's East, and Uno's all started in the 1970s.

        Lou Mitchell's, known for their breakfasts, started in 1923. If any place in Chicago is a classic, that's it.

        The Billy Goat Tavern opened in 1934 and moved to its present location in 1964. It's another local institution, all the more so thanks to Saturday Night Live. "Cheezborger! Cheezborger!
        No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!"?

        Gene and Georgetti, the steakhouse, was founded in 1941.

        The Lettuce Entertain You empire was founded with the opening of R.J. Grunt's in 1971.

        Frontera Grill, the Mexican restaurant, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.

        Walker Brothers Original Pancake Houses in the suburbs were founded in 1960 as a franchise of the Original Pancake House chain which opened in 1953. Their famous giant apple pancake has a much longer history in Chicago, as its popularity was mentioned in a Chicago newspaper article in 1905. (There was an article about apple pancakes in the Chicago Tribune in January.)

        Don Roth's Blackhawk was around in the 1920s. The restaurant on Wabash closed in 1984 but the Wheeling location, opened in 1969, remains.

        Hackney's, the chain of restaurants serving burgers and onion loafs, started in 1939, but traces its history to the 1920s.

        The Parthenon, founded in 1968, claims to be the oldest Greek restaurant in Greek Town.

        1. Manny's and the Whitestar have been around and are classics for Chicago. Also, not a restaurant but definitely a Chicago thing to do is hit the Maxwell Street Market on Sunday mornings.

          The Pump Room is espeically famous and definitely a Chicago classic. I heard that they have a new chef and that the food is top notch

          1 Reply
          1. re: lbs

            The Pump Room is a Chicago classic, however I read on their website that they will be doing a remodel starting in March of 2007, and lasting 4 months. It also mentioned that service will continue @ Byfields across the lobby.

            I am looking forward to returning to The Pump Room as soon as the renovations are complete.

          2. The original comment has been removed