Sean Cooley
Mindy's Hot Chocolate
Dryhop
Sean Cooley
Sean Cooley
BopNGrill
Sean Cooley
Kari Skaflen/Hogsalt
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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. Pleasant House Pub 2119 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608 (Pilsen)

Pilsen’s Pleasant House Pub serves up pints and pies in an English pub setting. The menu is divided into pub snacks, pub plates, sides, salads, and flaky, savory “Royal” pies, which you can “crown” with mashed potatoes and gravy. Choose to eat this decidedly British fare in either the indoor or outdoor area, and if you have any room left, jump on the sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Stocked with a full bar of cocktails and craft beers, Pleasant House Pub will have you gabbing in your foolish English accent after one too many.

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3. A10 1462 East 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615 (Hyde Park)

A10 is one of the best places to indulge in creme brulee, on-tap cocktails, and awesome brews. Not particularly in that order.

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4. Dryhop Brewers 3155 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657 (Lakeview)

Dryhop Brewers is more than just a brewery; it's complete pub with great food like bacon-wrapped scallops, skillet mac & cheese, and buttermilk fried chicken. Brewmaster Brant Dubovick has brewed more than 150 in-house beers since the Lakeview spot opened in 2013, and the styles range from seasonal IPAs to traditional Belgian farmhouse ales.

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5. Edzo's Burger Shop 1571 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201 (Lincoln Park)

Edzo isn't the name of a creepy clown but of an awesome burger joint with a serious '70s vibe. The patties are made from house-ground chuck that's pressed, griddled, then topped with extras like fried egg or giardiniera relish. The menu includes elevated French fry options -- order them "Crazy" to get a topping of chili, cheese, and chopped onion or "Angry" with four kinds of spices. Edzo's is also known for its milkshakes, which are made the old-fashioned way -- on a slow-mixing spindle machine -- to yield an extra-smooth and creamy texture.

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6. Gather Chicago 4539 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

A seamless infusion of European cuisine with American touches, Gather boasts a strong wine list and cultivates a warm, open vibe with their Sunday Dinner events. They've got a can't-miss brunch, serving up some of Chi's best Bloody Marys.

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7. 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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8. Owen & Engine 2700 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

The term "gastropub" is thrown around loosely in the business of restaurant writing, but Owen & Engine truly fits the bill. The upscale British pub in Logan Square has a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin guide, so it might be better than many that are actually in England. The menu includes snacks and small plates like Scotch eggs and beef carpaccio, plus a selection of entrées that includes one of the best burgers in town. The extensive draft list is constantly changing but features IPAs, Belgian ale, stout, and more.

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9. The Bad Apple 4300 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 (Lincoln Square)

The Bad Apple is a comfortable neighborhood tavern with a full menu of stacked burgers, sandwiches, and bar-appropriate snacks like fried cheese curds and poutine. The beer menu features a helluva -- almost 200 -- options of domestic and international craft beers.

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10. 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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11. 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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12. BRGRBelly 5739 W Irving Pk Rd, Chicago, IL 60634 (Portage Park)

Formerly known as Leadbelly, BRGRBelly serves up comfort food options with gourmet flair. The burgers, all of which are meant to give you your own lead belly, include patties topped with crab cakes and slathered in béarnaise sauce, and the menu is rounded out with fries topped with pork belly and 40+ craft beers.

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13. bopNgrill 6604 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60626 (Rogers Park)

BopNgrill is, in short, a Korean-American fast-food joint. The menu is split between plates (chicken katsu and marinated beef bulkogi) and burgers, like the umami-loaded Duxelle burger with sundried tomato confit, mayo, bacon, and smoked gouda. Trust us: BopNgrill's fusion creations will convert you to the kimchi-and-barbecue-based ways of Korean cuisine.

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14. Acadia 1639 S Wabash, Chicago, IL 60616 (South Loop)

Tucked away in a nondescript South Loop building, this Michelin-starred restaurant showcases chef Ryan McCaskey's contemporary take on classic American fare. Inspired by Maine, Acadia is unique for pulling off a sophisticated multi-course tasting menu (available in five or ten courses) and an Ă  la carte bar menu that sports an aggressively indulgent burger. Whether you're there for the complete prix-fixe experience or for a cocktail and oysters at the bar, Acadia is definitely a special occasion spot.

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15. That's A Burger 2134 E 71st St, Chicago, IL 60649-2116 (South Shore)

It shouldn't come as a surprise that TAB has a menu loaded with quality meat discs (the turkey burger gets rave reviews). But they also offer up tasty chicken, hot dogs, wings, fries, and more.

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16. M Burger Water Tower 835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Magnificent Mile)

M Burger is a fast-casual burger mainstay from restaurant group behemoth Lettuce Entertain You. In any of its numerous locations across the state of Illinois, you can (and should) indulge in the Old Fashioned Cheeseburger -- lettuce, pickle, onion, tomato, secret sauce -- or the M Burger -- same, but plus bacon, minus tomato. Make it a double, you’re in the Midwest, after all. Get the crispy chicken sandwich or turkey burger if red meat isn’t your thing, but no matter what you order, get a side of fries and a signature shake (for sipping and for dipping your fries). Thank us later.

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17. Lockdown Bar & Grill 1024 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (Ukrainian Village)

Lockdown's a compact, steel caged, prison-themed temple to hard rock, outfitted with metal bars, smoke machines, skulls, and wall-to-wall flat-screens billing itself as a "virtual venue".

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18. Au Cheval 800 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

This upscale West Loop restaurant is known for its European flair and sophisticated American diner-style eats. Au Cheval usually has a wait out the door at peak dinner hours because it's home to iconic signature items like the fried house-made bologna sandwich and the so-called single burger, which actually comes with two thin patties and is topped with American cheese, house Dijonnaise, pickles, and if you know what's good for you, the optional bacon and fried egg add-ons. The brasserie-like space includes an open kitchen and a bar where local, domestic, and international beers are all on tap.

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19. 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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20. 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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