Food & Drink

Chicago's 11 best grown-up versions of junk food you ate as a kid

Published On 03/26/2014 Published On 03/26/2014

Back when you were a kid, your diet used to awesomely be made up of Pop-Tarts, s'mores, and dirt cups. But you're an adult now, which means you have to start eating adult things, like... adult Pop-Tarts and... adult s'mores and... adult dirt cups. Here to help, this list of 11 grown-up versions of the best stuff you housed as a kid.

Trenchermen (click here for address and info)
Your Cub Scout campfire days may be long gone, but you can still revel in the ooey-gooey, smoky sweetness of s’mores with Trenchermen’s interpretation. The deconstructed 'mallow bomb comes with dark chocolate, popcorn ice cream, a house-made graham cracker & crumbles, and a torched marshmallow that smells and tastes just like the real deal.

Kailley Lindman

Parts and Labor (click here for address and info)
At Parts and Labor, you can get a Twinkie just like your Grandma used to make it. And by "just like your Grandma used to make it", we mean totally not at all like she did: these guys're deep-fried, on a stick, and come with a drizzle of raspberry sauce.

The Monarch

The Monarch (click here for address and info)
Remember how your Mom used to put your cup of dirt and worms into the oven, and out would come a cup of chocolate and gummy worms? And remember how, until you were 12, you legitimately thought that's how ovens worked? Well this'll remind you of all that: The Monarch’s doing smooth and creamy bittersweet chocolate pudding crowned with espresso crumbles and chewy gummy worms.

Kailley Lindman

Smoke Daddy (click here for address and info)
How could the adult version of M 'n C ever top the strange, powdery wonder that is Easy Mac? Oven-bake it, breadcrumb-coat it, and serve it with a Smokin’ Bloody Mary. Boom, better.

Amy’s Candy Bar

Amy’s Candy Bar (click here for address and info)
Why wait? Grab a Snickers...-inspired artisan candy bar that's stacked with layer-after-rich-layer of sea salt caramel, hazelnut praline, and smooth milk chocolate ganache, and is hand-dipped in premium Belgian dark chocolate.

Sean Cooley

Parson’s Chicken and Fish (click here for address and info)
These're just like the Slurpees you used to get at 7-Eleven, with one minor difference: booooooooze!!! Don't even think about it, just ask for the Negroni slushie with Letherbee gin, Luxardo Bitter, sweet vermouth, and a dash of fresh lemon juice.

2 Sparrows

2 Sparrows (click here for address and info)
The ubiquitous toaster pastry gets way less ubiquitous with flavors like foie gras & cherry and blackberry & orange. Mmm... foie gras Pop-Tarts...

Sean Cooley

Insomnia Cookies (click here for address and info)
These are just like the ones Mom used to make... late-night after you came back from the bars and wanted them sandwiching Prairie Farms ice cream.

Roots Pizza

Roots Pizza (click here for address and info)
Unlike the boxed, frozen mozz sticks of your youth, this pizza joint’s mozzarella sticks are made from scratch (yes, even the cheese is house-made), coated in crispy garlic-herbed breadcrumbs, and served with marinara so you can get your dipping game on.

Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront

Hoyt’s (click here for address and info)
Chill out with Blood Orange or Piña Colada liquor-infused ice pops served in a glass of your choice of chilled Prosecco, Riesling, or sparkling wine at this riverfront restaurant. The pops probably won’t dye your tongue a scary color, but who cares! They have alcohol in them!


Hot Doug’s (click here for address and info)
'Member when fries were the ONLY side option in a Happy Meal (what’s with these skinless apple slices?!)? Those were the days. These are the better days, though, cause now you can get your spuds fried in duck fat.

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. 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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2. The Monarch 1745 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

The Monarch is candelabra-lit bar providing the ambiance for elevated pub fare and royalty-inspired cocktails, such as George Remus, Steve McQueen, and Johnny Cash. The food varies from Parm-topped pretzel with beer cheese sauce, potted pork w/ cornichons, and crispy chicken wings.

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3. The Smoke Daddy 1804 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Smoke Daddy is a BBQ emporium in Wicker Park serving up sauce-slathered eats like ribs and brisket, while also showing its more delicate side with brunch that includes something called a "Big Daddy Breakfast."

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4. Parson's Chicken & Fish 2952 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Parson's Chicken & Fish in Logan Square knows a thing or two about deep-frying -- the menu features chicken, fish, hush puppies, and cheese curds in all their breaded and battered goodness. Not everything is deep-fried though; there's a small raw bar selection and small plates to share. The spot is upscale for a quick-serve spot, and its large outdoor patio is one of the top summer hang spots in Chicago.

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5. 2 Sparrows 553 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

Famous for its breakfast, 2 Sparrow serves comfort foods perfect to cure your hangover (we're onto you). Allow the biscuits & gravy, eggs in purgatory, and housemade doughnuts soak up last night's bad decisions.

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6. Insomnia Cookies 2260 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (Lincoln Park)

Insomnia Cookies has your late night munchies covered. This Lincoln Park cookie shop is open 'til 3am and offers 20+ desserts either frozen or baked (some frozen AND baked). Cookie flavors include triple chocolate chunk, s'mores, peanut butter, and more!

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7. 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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8. Hoyt's Chicago 71 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601 (Loop)

Named in honor of a Chi grocery operator/hotelier who owned warehouses (which he rebuilt after the Fire) along the same stretch of river, Hoyt's Chicago is a modern 80-seat tavern on the ground floor of Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront, with a central 360-degree bar and stellar grub.

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9. Hot Doug's 3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Billing itself as an "encased meat emporium", Hot Doug's is a temple of Chicago-style char-dogs.

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10. Amy's Candy Bar 4704 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

Amy's combines your childhood's love of candy with your adulthood's love of bars by doling out wide variety of candies and confections in Lincoln Square.



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