Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Lula Cafe
Old Town Social
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
Amber Davis and Elaine Lopez
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1. Big Jones 5347 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

If you’re looking for real Southern comfort in Chicago, then Big Jones in Andersonville is for you. The menu is filled with authentic Lowcountry dishes adapted from antique cookbooks, like cornbread muffins taken from an 18th-century plantation recipe and traditional Cajun gumbo. The sustainable menu changes seasonally, but no matter what, expect the signature fried chicken every night. Big Jones’ weekend brunch is also a stunner, especially if you nab a table on the back patio.

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2. Chief O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant 3471 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 (Avondale)

Named after a Chicago policeman who supposedly saved Irish music (he reportedly collected and published the largest collection of Irish music ever), Chief O’Neill’s in Avondale is the place to go for an authentic pub experience. Its huge drink menu covers everything from Irish, North American, and Scotch whiskey to local craft beers, and is matched in size only by the food menu, on which you’ll find traditional dishes like corned beef and cabbage alongside vegetarian plates. Add a backyard patio, and you’ve got a great spot to take in some Irish jigs.

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3. Mindy's Hot Chocolate 1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Wicker Park)

Pastry chef Mindy Segal's Bucktown restaurant is synonymous with comfort food from both the sweet and savory sides of the spectrum. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, Mindy's Hot Chocolate serves soul-warming dishes, like the Slagel Farm beef burger topped with a fried egg, creamy mac & cheese, and daily soups with crusty sourdough bread. Of course, a meal here isn't complete without dessert, which should include an order of the amazingly rich hot chocolate and a slice of the daily cake (or anything off the dessert menu -- it's all addictive).

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4. Broadway Cellars 5900 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660 (Edgewater)

On top of awesome breakfast and brunch options, Broadway Cellars in Edgewater offers great drinks, including bottomless Bloody Marys!

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5. Ditka's Restaurant 100 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611 (Near North Side)

Come to Ditka's Restaurant, and you might just see Da Coach himself. Walk right in, savor the legendary surroundings, and get down to business: it's time for Ditka's signature -- a jumbo Spicy Chili Cheese Polish.

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6. Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar 954 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 773.292.1616 (Humboldt Park)

Opening today from a group of Webster's Wine Bar vets aiming to achieve simultaneous vino and brew notoriety, RS's a cozy 50-seat nook decked out with locally painted artwork and mismatched, second-hand furniture.

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7. Headquarters Beercade 213 W Institute Pl, Chicago, IL 60610 (Lakeview)

Cheers to never growing up. Headquarters Beercade lets you relive your childhood with all of the video games you loved and the added bonus of being able to consume alcohol while you play. There’s an extensive list of American craft drafts and games galore: whether you’re a pinball wizard looking for your next conquest, or brushing up your skills at arcade classics like NBA Jam and Mortal Combat, this bar is a gamer’s paradise. The space itself is sprawling and the vibe is convivial, making it a popular weekend destination for groups.

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8. Summer House Santa Monica 1954 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

From Lettuce Entertain You, Summer House Santa Monica brings Chicago a much-needed dose of SoCal flavor. The restaurant goes full force with its Angeleno theme, from the beach house-meets-garden party decor to the expansive list of California wines. Seafood and vegetable plates shine on the menu -- which also includes tacos, sushi, and burgers -- but the most notable dishes, like wild mushroom enchiladas and king crab orecchiette, are found under the speciality "Things We Love" section. Pro tip: top off your meal with a bacon chocolate chip cookie from the bakery counter at Summer House's sister restaurant, Stella Barra Pizzeria, which is right next door.

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9. Three Aces 1321 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607

A rock-inspired gastropub filled with secluded black leather "gangster booths" and black glass chandeliers, TA's bringing the flavor with bar snacks from pork-fried nuts to farm-raised jerky, and Italian-influenced eats like wild boar sausage.

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10. Lula Café 2537 N Kedzie Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

This Logan Square restaurant has been embracing the farm-to-table philosophy long before the term was so ubiquitous. Open since 1999, Lula Café is a weekend brunch destination with lines running out the door for unreal breakfast sandwiches and veggie-centric mains. The menu is always changing given ingredients' availability, but you'll find it hard to be disappointed by whatever's in store. The garden patio area is the perfect spot for sipping morning cocktails and people watching on Sundays.

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11. Emerald Loop Bar and Grill 216 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60601 (Loop)

The Loop is where you power lunch. It's a great place to grab a pint too. And don't forget about brunch either, they've got one of the best Bloody Marys in town.

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12. Flo 1434 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

This Latin American brunch spot is the perfect place to treat yourself to great comfort food in Noble Square. Aside from free coffee, their French toast is super tasty and their Bloodys are strong and delicious.

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13. Glenn's Diner & Seafood House 1820 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613 (North Center)

Don’t let the cereal boxes on the wall throw you off, this place serves some of North Center's best seafood dishes. Plus, My Big Fat Bloody Mar, made with milk stout, is the perfect way to cure any hangover.

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14. Old Town Social 455 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60610 (Old Town)

Old Town Social is setting out to seamlessly infuse turn-of-the-century elegance into its classic neighborhood bar confines. The upscale, spacious, high-ceiling'ed gastropub is as good a place to watch the game as it is to enjoy a nice dinner out on the town. Nestle up to the marble bar top for front row seats to the flat screens, cozy into the front room's fireplace and sip on signature cocktails, gather a group and dine on a slew of contemporary American share plates (don't skip the mac 'n cheese), and stop by the vintage shoe shine station on your way out, of course.

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15. Dusek's 1227 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (Pilsen)

Helmed by Longman & Eagle's Jared Wentworth, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Pilsen serves upscale American pub food. Dusek's takes everything you love and makes it better, whether that's cooking French fries in beef fat or topping a juicy hamburger with bacon marmalade and serving it on a house-baked pretzel bun. There are more than two dozen beers on tap -- some are from Chicago, others are from abroad -- and daily beer specials. The late-night menu serves the aforementioned burger and fries until 1am every night.

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16. Fountainhead 1970 W Montrose, Chicago, IL 60613 (Ravenswood)

This Ravenswood tavern is a mahogany-ensconced destination for craft beer and beer-focused comfort cuisine (burgers, fried chicken, steak frites). The beer list, which features a mix of local gems and international brews, is always fantastic, and there's an equally robust selection of whiskey if you're looking for something a little stronger. During the warmer months, the rooftop garden is always happening.

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17. Sunda 110 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Toeing the line between swanky hotspot and sophisticated dining destination, this Asian fusion concept from Rockit Ranch Productions is a worthy choice for an undeniably hip meal out in River North. The menu offers some seriously interesting eats (duck breast kimchi, oxtail pot stickers) and includes sushi, sashimi, and plenty of wok dishes. The beer list is heavy on the Asian pours, and there are sake and speciality cocktails as well. Sunda's decor feels just as sleek as the menu with polished black bamboo and high wooden tables.

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18. Endgrain 1851 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613 (Roscoe Village)

Endgrain is a Roscoe Village, farm-fresh restaurant that's turning out innovative cuisine (think fried chicken with PORK GRAVY and bacon/butterscotch donuts).

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19. Eleven City Diner 1112 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 (South Loop)

A matrimony of the Jewish delicatessen and the old-school diner, Eleven City Diner's a greasy spoon sans the grease, with awesome double-decker sandwiches and generally huge portions of pretty much everything.

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20. Fat Cat 4840 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Uptown)

This casual and spacious Uptown spot is serving everything from flatbreads and burgers to salads and wings, plus some of the best Bloody Marys in town during its weekend brunch. You'll also find a rotating craft brew selection featuring more than 80 beer options, most of them American, which you should tap into before heading out to one of the two outdoor patios. Better yet, sidle up to the pool table, shuffle board, or giant Jenga.

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21. Little Goat 820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Right across the street from its upscale sister Girl & The Goat, Stephanie Izard's Little Goat is an all-day upscale diner that serves insanely creative takes on classic American comfort food. Split between a sit-down restaurant and a bakery, Little Goat is the place to go for over-the-top breakfast (breakfast spaghetti, banana peanut butter waffles), exceptional burgers (you can choose between a beef, goat, and veggie patty), and crazy desserts (smoked pork & toffee crunch milkshakes, Cheez-It sundaes). If you can't sit and stay -- or handle the long weekend waits -- then hit the "Grab and Goat" take-away area.

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22. Twisted Spoke 501 N Ogden Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (West Town)

In case the exterior motorcycle art and bike handlebars on the front door didn't tip you off, Twisted Spoke is a biker bar. The West Town hangout is beloved by Chicagoans of all stripes thanks to a massive selection of whiskey and beer, legendary Bloody Mary menu, rooftop garden, and sinister bites like barbecue nachos and fried jalapeño poppers. Of all the things that make Twisted Spoke stand out though, it's the weekly Saturday night "Smut and Eggs," when you can order breakfast food and watch porn. Um.

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23. Bangers & Lace 1670 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Bangers & Lace is Wicker Park's craft beer and sausage haven. You've come to the Wisconsin tavern-like establishment for bangers and lace... and whiskey, and also probably a burger. But it's known for its house-made sausages, which run the gamut from classic (Chicago-style hot dogs and corn-battered and fried dogs) to experimental (lamb Kofta, Cheddarwursts, and duck sausage BLT). The craft beer selection -- on draft, in bottles, and in six-packs -- is global, from the regional Great Divide's Barrel-Aged Old Ruffian to St. Feuillen's Grand Cru, as is the whiskey list, which its nearly as extensive.