When it comes to Chicago’s food, we are blessed with innumerable great chefs throughout the city; but there are a handful of staples that MUST be tried on your visit to Chicago. These include the Chicago Style Deep Dish, Chicago Style Hot Dog, and Chicago Style Popcorn. When the name of a menu item has “Chicago Style” in it, you know it’s a must try! Navy Pier is Chicago’s most iconic landmark, you bet there’s some good eats to be had there (especially now that it’s been renovated). Be sure you know which restaurants to go to at Navy Pier.
Check out these Navy Pier Restaurants and iconic Chicago foods when you visit:
America’s Dog & Burger – Chicago Style Hot Dog
We like to grab hot dogs from America’s Dog and Burger, which is a Chicago area hot dog spot that now has four locations around the city. The story behind America’s Dog and Burger is very cool, and really is a dream come true. In 1993, a pair of brothers, Manolis and George Alpogianis, did what everybody longs to do (but few actually get around to doing), right after college and culinary school, they took a cross-country road trip. They packed their Jeep and hit the road.
On this road trip the brothers discovered, at their many stops to grab a bite, that everywhere in America had a slightly different way of making their hot dogs. This is where an idea started to form. They wanted to showcase the great american road trip, by featuring these unique hot dog recipes in one location. Their dream of bringing the unique city styles to the finger tips of Chicagoans came to fruition here at this Restaurant at Navy Pier.
While you might be tempted to try one of the other city dogs, like the one from New York or Cincinnati, if you’re visiting Chicago you have to try our hot dog. We are local food experts after all, so let’s give you a quick lesson on the Chicago dog.
A Chicago-style hot dog’s toppings consist of:
- *Yellow Mustard
- *Green Relish
- *Chopped Onions
- *Tomato Wedges
- *Kosher-Style Pickle Spear
- *Sport Peppers
- *Celery Salt
So how did the Chicago-style hot dog come to be? We have to go all the way back to the 19th century, and the story starts with the Vienna Beef hot dog itself. Take a Navy Pier Food Tour
to learn the full history of the Chicago style hot dog! We can’t give away all the Chicago secrets 😉
Giordano’s – Chicago Style Deep Dish
Giordano’s is the only famous Chicago Pizza place you can go to eat at Navy Pier. The Deep Dish Pizza is one of Chicago’s most famous dishes and if you’re a cheese love, you will be in good company in the Midwest and once you taste it, you will immediately understand why it’s popular. With Deep Dish pizza they’re stretching the dough into a pan that has a vertical height of about 1 1/2 to 2 inches and creating a “shelf” for all our our toppings (specifically cheese) to sit in. And at Giordano’s, they’re famous for cheese pulls – where the server pulls the first slice as far as it can stretch without breaking off – they’ve gotten pulls up to 4 feet long. Insert the oo’s and ah’s here. If that’s not enough to convince you of their expertise, Giordano’s is also the official pizza of the World Series winning Chicago Cubs. Yes, we’ve finally won the big title, so we must boast it wherever possible. Sorry, not sorry.
Garrett Popcorn Shops
The Garrett Mix aka Chicago Style Popcorn (Caramel + Cheddar)
Alright, kids, circle ’round for story time. The Garrett family was a competitive bunch, and they used to have family contests to see who could make the best batch of caramel corn. Through the experimentation of a family rivalry they figured out how to make darn good popcorn. Family members took turns stirring the kettle, mixing the ingredients, and of course taste-testing the results. They opened their first location at 10 West Madison Street, near the bustling State Street corridor, back in 1949.
Why do Chicago visitors love Garrett’s? Well, they use high quality ingredients from local sources. They hot air pop their kernels, instead of using oil, and then they mix them into their secret family recipe of flavors. Every batch of Garrett popcorn is handmade throughout the day. They use over 1 million pounds of cheese per year, and over 20,000 bags of brown sugar. Also, at Garrett their very secretive about their recipes, but we can say that there are a total of seven ingredients in their caramel crisp popcorn, and one of those is water. Unfortunately, we have to leave you detectives to figure out the rest. (Unlike, the Chicago style hot dog, we don’t know the answer to this one!)
>> Want to try all these Navy Pier Restaurants, but don’t want to have to buy more than you need and pay full price? Get FULL SERVINGS of Giordano’s Deep Dish, America’s Dog Chicago Style Hot Dog, and Garrett’s Popcorn plus two other tastings for just $45 a person on our Signature Food Tour of Navy Pier
Other Restaurants to Visit at Navy Pier:
Brown Sugar Bakery
Opened by Stephanie Hart in 2004 and from then on she has developed a strong fan base for her delicious sweets and in 2013 she was awarded America’s Best Bakery on Steve Harvey. Great stop if you have a sweet tooth! (Also featured on the Signature Food Tour at Navy Pier
For more than sixteen years, their flagship location, Tiny Lounge has functioned as both a destination location and a neighborhood fixture. After many years of local love, Tiny Lounge took their specialties to Navy Pier. Enjoy great craft cocktails and Chicago based beers as you enjoy some midwestern foods that will make you feel at home in the city. Their menu features their more famous house-made cocktails (the Subourbon and the Tito’s Hammock) and we highly recommend getting their Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds to really get the feel of the place before you dive into an entree. P.S. We feature the Cheese Curds on our Navy Pier Food Tour.
Billy Goat Tavern
The original Billy Goat Tavern location was founded in 1934 when Greek immigrant, William “Billy Goat” Sianis, purchased the Lincoln Tavern. You won’t believe this, but Sianis purchased the tavern for $205. Could you imagine what it would cost to buy a tavern today? Funny enough, his check for $205 actually bounced but he was able to repay the recipient with with sales from the first weekend. The tavern was located across from the United Center and hosted many sports fans due to is location.
Sianis became known as “Billy Goat,” when a goat fell off a passing truck and wandered inside. Sianis adopted the goat, grew a goatee, acquired the nickname “Billy Goat,” and changed the name of the bar to the Billy Goat Tavern. The rest is history, well unless you’re a Chicago Cubs fan. There’s a legend about their long term losing streak that traces back to Billy Goat. Read more about the Billy Goat Curse here.
There are several locations throughout the city, the most famous being the subterranean location (430 N Michigan Ave) but another is located at the pier.
DMK Burger Bar
Much like the road trip that the family behind America’s Dog embarked on, the founders of DMK Burger bar did the same. David Morton and Michael Koranic took a year-long trek across the USA to find its best burgers. Once their research was done, they opened DMK Burger Bar in November, 2009. With a focus on freshness, DMK proudly serves 100% grass-fed beef patties and artisan buns. They have been featured on the Food Network’s Diners Drive-Ins and Dives and named Best Veggie Burger In Chicago by the Chicago Tribune. While they focus on great burgers and creating variety, they also have a huge selection of American craft beers and cocktails for perfect pairing.
Oysters, po’ boys and lobster rolls are not in the top 1000 things that Chicago is known for, I think we can all agree. However, Fish Bar works to give Chicago a great place to eat seafood done right. This casual seafood joint is the perfect place to eat at the pier on a hot summer day. Grab a beer and a po’ boy and enjoy the lakefront and skyline views.
Riva Crab House at Navy Pier
The pride and joy of the Phil Stefani Signature Restaurant Group is the beautiful Riva Crab House on Navy Pier. The large open space, broad windows of the two story space are designed to create a beautiful open setting for your dining experience.
The menu has an emphasis on fresh seafood but also incorporates steaks, chops, and pasta dishes. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy great views of the city and have an elevated dining experience on the waterfront before or after seeing a show at the pier. Plus, Riva Crab House has an extensive wine list as well as specialty drinks that can help add to the food and views.
Are you visiting Navy Pier
for the first time? Don’t know want to have to choose between restaurants? Get FULL SERVINGS of Giordano’s Deep Dish, America’s Dog Chicago Style Hot Dog, Brown Sugar Bakery , Tiny Tavern and Garrett’s Popcorn for just $45 a person on our Signature Food Tour of Navy Pier
If we missed your favorite Navy Pier Restaurant, let us know in the comments!