Baconfest is this Friday and Saturday, and you know what that means: Sunday is gonna suuuuuuuuuuuck, because instead of eating approximately four TONS' worth of bacon dishes made by local chefs from a record 171 restaurants, you'll be eating... not those things. Luckily, though, you can be eating THESE things: the 14 best bacon dishes in Chicago.
Paddy Long's (address and info)
Paddy Long’s answer to the common cheese/charcuterie board comes in the form of a wooden board laden with Irish bacon, hickory smoked bacon, cracked pepper bacon, and Danish bacon -- along with all the necessary accoutrements. And by “accoutrements,” we mean gherkins, grainy Dusseldorf mustard, and toasted Irish soda bread.
Kaiser Tiger (address and info)
This meaty monstrosity packs 2lbs of ground beef with 2lbs of ground pork, all encapsulated within a 16-slice bacon weave. Toss in some top-secret bomb sauce, a swath of spices and herbs, a brown sugar massage, and 3hrs spent in a hickory wood smoker and you have Chicago’s first and only WMAD (Weapon of Mass Appetite Destruction).
Country fried bacon
Weiner & Still Champion (address and info)
It’s bacon breaded, fried, and served with hot sauce and Argentine garlic and herb sauce. What more do you need to know? (Besides the number of a good cardiologist?)
Bottlefork (address and info)
There are burgers topped with bacon, and then there are burgers made with bacon -- with juicy, smoky bacon literally ground into the patty. At Bottlefork, you can score the latter. The ultra thick, wood-grilled patty pushes a serious bacon flavor profile while Vermillion blue cheese, shoestring potatoes, special sauce, and a house pickle balance things out.
Bacon mac & cheese dog
Franks 'N Dawgs (address and info)
Oh you want hot dogs made with bacon, too? Cool. Instead of a boring bacon-wrapped dog, though, go for the bacon mac & cheese dog at Franks 'N Dawgs -- which tops a SAUSAGE MADE OF GROUND BACON with a heaping pile of TRUFFLE MAC AND CHEESE. They also have a brunch dog, a pork loin breakfast sausage topped with cob smoked bacon and a fried egg, in case you're feeling like seconds.
Cup o' Bacon
Wollensky's Grill (address and info)
Sometimes you just need to keep it simple: as simple as a cup of crispy, house-smoked beef bacon, served in a mason jar with a side of blue cheese dip.
U.S. Cellular Field (address and info)
New this year in the premium seating section, Sox fans can now enjoy bacon flights, featuring an assortment of flavors from BBQ spice, to jalapeño, to black pepper, to brown sugar glazed. This is in addition to the ever-popular bacon on a stick, which now comes with a maple glaze. Like all bacons should.
Maple Bacon Long John
Glazed & Infused (address and info)
What happens when two of breakfast’s best hand-held indulgences collide? Pure and unadulterated gastronomic magic, that’s what. Glazed & Infused’s highly coveted Maple Bacon Long John is coated in a maple glaze made with real maple syrup and topped with a massive slice of candied bacon.
Bacon & sweet corn waffle
Bub City (address and info)
When a basic side of bacon at brunch just won’t cut it, opt for a perfectly balanced sweet corn waffle with bacon BAKED INTO THE THING at this Downtown country resto. Crafted by Chef Doug Psaltis, this sweet-and-savory brunch marvel comes blanketed with an extra helping of smoky black pepper bacon, maple syrup, and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
Bacon fat popcorn
Revolution Brewpub (address and info)
Tired of dousing your popcorn with a few pumps of fake butter and sprinkling it with not-found-in-nature cheese powder? Fortunately, Revolution Brewpub has a no-fail upgrade: highly addictive popcorn tossed in bacon fat and mixed with bacon pieces, shaved Parmesan, and crispy sage.
Bacon & barbecue parfait
County BBQ (address and info)
Healthy breakfast parfaits, eat your heart out. This multi-layer creation is stacked with succulent smoked pork, caramelized onions, cheddar grits, and, of course, bacon, courtesy of the on-site bacon bar. Pair yours with bourbon and the restaurant’s fall-off-the-bone, dry-rubbed, St. Louis-style spare ribs.
Bohemian House (address and info)
Lacquered in bacon fat, sprinkled with sea salt, and FILLED WITH CHUNKS OF BACON, Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos’ ingenious bacon buns are the stuff that smoky, bacon-y dreams are made of. House-brined pickles and plum marmalade on the side offer contrasting flavors that brighten and lighten up the rich, bacon-forward dish.
Avec (address and info)
Medjool dates and bacon are a tried and true combo, but Chef Perry Hendrix’s take on the classic bar snack ups the ante and packs a serious bacon flavor punch with a glorious chorizo center and sweet/hot piquillo pepper-tomato sauce. Pro tip: sop up every last drop of the sauce with a side of sumac-glazed pork belly. Or, oh yeah, some bread. We guess.
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Kailley Lindman is a contributing writer for Thrillist Chicago, as well as a food blogger, bacon enthusiast, and devout user of the Oxford comma. Follow her at @KailleysKitchen.
Jay Gentile is Thrillist's Chicago Editor and thinks bacon deserves way more real estate on the food pyramid. Agree with him on Twitter @ThrillistChi.
1. Paddy Long's1028 W Diversey, Chicago
2. Kaiser Tiger1415 W Randolph St, Chicago
3. Wiener & Still Champion802 Dempster St, Evanston
4. Bottlefork441 N Clark St, Chicago
5. Franks 'N Dawgs1863 N Clybourn, Chicago
6. Kuma's Too666 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago
7. Smith & Wollensky318 N State St, Chicago
8. Bub City435 N Clark St, Chicago
9. Revolution Brewpub2323 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
10. County BBQ1352 W Taylor St, Chicago
11. Bohemian House11 W Illinois St, Chicago
12. Avec615 W Randolph St, Chicago
Paddy Long's has acquired numerous varieties of Bourbon County Stout for your barrel-aged beer drinking pleasure (which has led to your pleasing barrel shape), tapping this year and last year's original vintages along with variants like vanilla, coffee, and the recently released cherry rye.
This absolutely insane temple of beer is adorned with a 200-seat beer garden, killer skyline views, 24 primo drafts, flights of sausage, and the heart-stopping brown sugar-rubbed bacon bomb.
More than just a hilarious name, W&SC serves award-winning hot dogs, as well as other sandwiches, burgers, and American grub.
It's hard out there for a small plates restaurant that straddles the line between bar and full-service dinner restaurant, yet Bottlefork in River North manages to stand above the pack. The food menu spans a variety of cuisines and dietary restrictions, featuring dishes like tuna crudo, crispy Brussels sprouts with chorizo, buttermilk fried chicken, and a critically-acclaimed ground bacon burger. The cocktail menu, complete with illustrations, is divided into categories based on flavor and style: fruity, smoky, dark, and "Gentlemen's Cut."
Chef'd by a Blackbird/Sixteen alum, FND looks like an unassuming hot dog stand decked out in red, black, and steel and ornamented with photos of local graffiti (would also be American Graffiti, but shockingly Opie isn't anywhere).
From the flames of hell that spawned Kuma’s Corner, Kuma’s Too has arisen at (of course) 666 W Diversey, nearly doubling the original's size while duplicating its metal-inspired, pretzel-bunned burger options like the Metallica (Buffalo sauce, bacon, bleu cheese dressing) and the Black Sabbath, made with blackening spice, chili, pepper jack.
If you prefer your steaks dry-aged and butchered on site and a your wine lists lengthy, and if you prefer enjoying those steaks and wines with a scenic view of Chicago while you sit along the water in Marina City, you might want to hit up this classic.
Nashville comes to River North through the doors at Lettuce Entertain You’s Bub City, whose award-winning barbecue, 100-plus whiskey labels, and live music can make you forget about that deep Chicago chill. The all-American bar brings the heat from down South with dishes like barbecued brisket (get the burnt ends), fried chicken sandwiches (the Original 8 Buck Cluck is best served with a side of those aforementioned burnt ends), spoonbread, and baby back mac & cheese. To drink, you can sip on anything from a can of Bud to a pour of Pappy Van Winkle himself. Enjoy live country music multiple nights a week, and be prepared for a rowdy dance party.
Salvaged wood and classic styling make for a handsome space wherein you can down your favorite Revolution brew and pair it with a tasty sandwich, burger, or even a pork chop.
If you want to explore the wide world of bacon and BBQ, look no further than County BBQ, which has got burnt ends, brisket, and a bacon parfait (!!!).
This River North spot is an ode to Bohemian culture in all its manifestations, with rustic-meets-glam décor and eclectic fare that’s rooted in Central Europe. The menu, created and executed by Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos, features small plates like salt and vinegar chips and knackwurst in a blanket, large plates like spatzel and skirt steak, and unforgettable sweets like caramelized plum kolacky and an inventive take on coffee and donuts with hazelnut brittle.
With celebrity chef Paul Kahan at the helm of this tiny West Loop restaurant, it's not a surprise that Avec continues to draw crowds of devoted regulars, first-time tourists, and everyone in between. The Mediterranean menu is all about small plates, and the chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates are a perennial crowd favorite that hopefully will never come off the menu. Everything works and tastes beautifully with the comprehensive wine list featuring selections from Southern France to Portugal.