Food & Drink

The 9 Best Deep-Fried Foods in Chicago

Published On 01/23/2015 Published On 01/23/2015
deep fried
kailley lindman/thrillist

Do you know the one thing (really the only thing) that could possibly make this already incredible sentence Frying it. While we try to figure out how exactly to do that, check out this list of the awesomest deep-fried foods in Chicago.

Kailley Lindman/Thrillist

Fried pickles

Burger Bar Chicago (address and info)
Lincoln Park
Forget the awesome craft beer list, colossal gourmet burgers, and killer milkshakes (for now, just for now), and instead go straight for the glorious deep-fried pickles at this burger stop on Clybourn. These gems are sliced lengthwise, dredged through a panko coating, fried, and served with a zippy aioli dubbed "urban sauce."

rockit ranch productions/courtesy

Fried sweetbreads

Bottlefork (address and info)
River North
Consider Bottlefork’s bite-sized wonders the gateway drug of organ meats. The popcorn sweetbreads are small, breaded, and fried, drizzled in Calabrian chili aioli, and -- in the end -- far more innocuous-looking than most organ-based delicacies. Wash 'em all down (and when we say "all," we mean "all" -- these things are crazy addictive) with one of head barkeep Brandon Phillips’ knockout cocktails, like the all-new Beet Fizz with apple brandy, beet, lemon, cream, thyme, allspice dram, and egg white.

sean cooley/thrillist

Fried ramen burger

Buzz Bar (address and info)
North Center
Inspired by the OG Ramen Burger in NYC, this Buzz Bar creation features a flavorful Kobe beef patty, a fried egg, sun-dried tomatoes, peppery arugula, and Sriracha sauce stacked between two buttered-and-fried, house-made ramen patties. Pro tip: it’s about as messy as it is delicious -- make sure to equip yourself with an arsenal of napkins.

twisted spoke/courtesy

Fried jalapeño poppers

Twisted Spoke (address and info)
West Town
Panko-fried, spicy, and bursting with a creamy, cheesy center, the two-bite poppers at Chicago’s favorite biker bar embody everything we’re looking for in a great bar snack. And, unlike at a lot of places, you get about a dozen to an order instead of the usual five or six. For maximum effect, dunk them in the avocado, cilantro, and lime sour cream. For EXTRA maximum effect, do it again. The acidity cuts through the spice and the heaviness of the poppers, allowing you to plow through the whole plate with ease.

wiener and still champion

Country-fried bacon

Wiener & Still Champion (address and info)
This Evanston mainstay sees your basic pan-fried breakfast strips and raises you a country-fried iteration with at least 10 times the whiskey-headache-fighting power. Each piece of bacon is breaded and deep fried to perfection, served with hot sauce and a special Argentine garlic and herb dip. Team your order with a jumbo fountain drink and a 1/3-pound char-grilled burger for full effect.

kailley lindman/thrillist

Deep-fried twinkie

Parts and Labor (address and info)
Logan Square
Thank you, Parts and Labor, for offering a deep-fried Hostess product so on-point, we no longer feel the need to go to county fairs.

Chicagoans everywhere

P.S. Bonus points for that delightfully refined drizzle of raspberry coulis.

rockit ranch productions/courtesy

Fried mac & cheese bites

Rockit Burger Bar (address and info)
Remember when we covered Rockit’s Mac & Cheese Attack burger? Well, that burger was (and still is!) such a hit that the Rockit folks made fried mac & cheese bites (aka bite-size versions of the burger’s "bun") with Sriracha ketchup a permanent menu addition. Finally, a socially acceptable way to eat mac & cheese with our hands.

roots pizza

Fried mozzarella sticks

Roots Handmade Pizza (address and info)
West Town
The sticks at this local pizza joint are made entirely from scratch and coated in a seriously flavorful garlic-herbed breadcrumb mix. And with five to an order, they’re great to split with friends/definitely not split with friends as an appetizer before devouring one of Roots’ hand-tossed pies.

kailley lindman/thrillist

Double-fried Seoul Sassy chicken wings

Crisp (address and info)
There’s no shortage of great fried chicken in this city, but Crisp’s tangy, Korean-style wings win by a landslide thanks to a double-dip in the fryer. The first dip seals in all the juiciness and the second crisps up the wings to order. Add a generous coating of sesame, garlic, and soy, plus a sprinkling of fresh green onions, and you’re on a rocket ride to chicken-fried Nirvana.

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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.

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1. Burger Bar Chicago 1578 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (Near North Side)

Burger Bar is doling out delicious patties, brew, and always have a burger of the month that's exceptionally delicious.

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2. Bottlefork 441 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Near North Side)

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."

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3. Buzz Bar 1935 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613 (North Center)

Buzz Bar's a Chicago burger temple with patties sandwiched between traditional buns, ramen buns, donut buns... you name it, they've got it! They're also slinging a bunch of unique burger toppings, like beef stroganoff with actual egg noodles.

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4. 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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5. Wiener & Still Champion 802 Dempster St, Evanston, IL 60202 (Evanston)

More than just a hilarious name, W&SC serves award-winning hot dogs, as well as other sandwiches, burgers, and American grub.

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6. Parts and Labor 2700 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Parts and Labor is a hamburger-centric barestaurant in Logan Square known for its griddle burgers, sodas, and beer. The classic double burger, topped with two slices of American cheese, packs so many sandwich pickles between buns that you'll get a taste of the crisp texture in every bite. Vegetarians, don't be turned away by the beefy signature -- black bean and vegan patties are available, and the grilled cheese sandwich is a beautiful blend of three cheeses.

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7. Rockit Burger Bar 3700 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613 (Wrigleyville)

This is the only time you'll hear "Come see what's between our buns," and not be freaked out. Rockit Burger Bar offers some badass burgers, including gems like the huevos rancheros burger and a chicken breast patty aptly named "The Motherclucker." If you're craycray and burgers aren't your thing, flatbreads and small bites are also served.

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8. Roots Handmade Pizza 1924 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Ukrainian Village)

Helmed by the people behind The Fifty/50, this deluxe corner spot in West Town is slinging "Quad Cities-style" pizza. The hand-tossed crusts are infused with the same malt you taste in your beer before they're lathered with homemade sauce, doused in mozzarella, topped with your choice of fresh ingredients and cured meats, fired, and sliced into thin, easy-to-eat strips. Perfect for big family outings and group nights, the bar and patio seat more than 300.

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9. Crisp 2940 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657 (Lakeview)

Objectively speaking, the only thing better than a fried chicken wing is a jumbo fried chicken wing, which explains why the not-so-jumbo Crisp -- a Korean counter-serve in Lakeview -- is always packed. Everyone wants a taste of those juicy, jumbo Sassy Seoul wings (the sauce is just a garlic-sesame-soy glaze, but Sassy Seoul is more fun to say). There are other sauces, and also other Korean comfort dishes like kimchee and bibimbap-like Buddha Bowls, but those jumbo wings are unequivocally the main event (it’s called Crisp for a reason). It’s BYOB, so be sure to bring something that pairs well with sass.



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