Not that life is a popularity contest (follow us on Twitter btw), but when you hit up a sandwich shop like Jerry's with 100+ options, or food emporiums like Eataly with a dozen food counters, sometimes it's nice to just know what to order. We've found the most popular item at 20 great, local restaurants, to save you the trouble of asking your waitress, "So, what's good here?".
Jerry's Sandwiches (click here for address and info) Wicker Park, Andersonville Most-Ordered Item: Fried Chicken Sandwich Of the 100+ sandwiches gracing Jerry's menu, the fried buttermilk-chicken is the top seller. It's served with pickles, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and hot sauce on challah bread.
Little Goat (click here for address and info) West Loop Most-Ordered Item: Machos Nachos Obviously, the most popular thing on superstar Chef Stephanie Izard's dinner menu is... nachos. But not just any nachos; these guys are covered in tangy BBQ pork, beans, pickled peppers, cheddar, sour cream, and avocado.
Big Star (click here for address and info) Wicker Park Most-Ordered Item: Taco De Pescado Surpassing the pastor and pollo, Big Star's fish taco has battered tilapia fillet, cabbage, red onion, lime, and what Milwaukee Bucks forward Zaza Pachulia says whenever OJ is all, "Where should we get burritos, dude?" (chipotle mayo).
Fat Rice (click here for address and info) Logan Square Most-Ordered Item: Portuguese Chicken Fat Rice moves more Portuguese chicken (AKA po kok gai: mussels, chorizo, olives, cabbage, mild coconut curry) than potstickers OR arroz gordo, which we mention because it was legitimately close. Like, within-a-few-orders-a-night close.
XOCO (click here for address and info) River North Most-Ordered Item: Torta Ahogada While Rick Bayless' Mexican sandwich shop has enough rotating specials to make this maybe not a fair fight, they sell enough golden pork carnitas with black beans, pickled onions, tomato broth, and a spicy árbol chile sauce to make us pretty confident that this would be the ordering standard either way.
Hopleaf (click here for address and info) Andersonville Most-Ordered Item: Mussels & Frites Also the most-ordered menu item at Jean-Claude Van Damme's fry shop, this Andersonville favorite is cooked in Wittekerke white ale (yes, the beer) and served alongside frites and aioli.
Sunda (click here for address and info) River North Most-Ordered Item: Crispy Brussels Sprout Salad Maybe it's the chilis, maybe it's the fried shallots, maybe it's nuoc Cham. Either way, there's something about this salad that makes it a Chicago favorite. Oh, right, it's the minced shrimp.
Coalfire Pizza (click here for address and info) West Town Most-Ordered Item: 'Nduja Pizza Nightly neck-and-neck with the margherita pizza, the 'Nduja nets you Calabrian pork sausage from Publican Quality Meats on top of the usual spread of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil.
Big & Little’s (click here for address and info) River North, Lakeview Most-Ordered Item: Raw Ahi Tuna Taco/ Samurai Whitefish Taco There's a never-ending arms race between poke tacos with ahi tuna (ginger, chili paste), and whitefish tacos (beer-battered with jalapeños, lime, and two Asian sauces). Our suggestion? Get both.
Smoque BBQ (click here for address and info) Irving Park Most-Ordered Item: Smoked Brisket After 14hrs in the smoker, the moist and tender brisket with a two-layer spice rub and house BBQ sauce finds its way into... more customer's stomachs than any other Smoque offering.
Davanti Enoteca (click here for address and info) River North Most-Ordered Item: Focaccia di Recco Focaccia di Recco translates to baked focaccia with fresh cow cheese and local honeycomb... which apparently a lot of people already know, because this guy won by a LANDSLIDE.
Eataly (click here for address and info) River North Most-Ordered Item: Grande Salumi & Formaggi Platter On a given day, Eataly will sell more than 200 of these platters, which feature an assortment of their best cheese and cured meats. Two. Hundred.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (click here for address and info) Lincoln Park Most-Ordered Item: Patatas Bravas Sitting atop an endless tapas menu are these spicy potatoes, of which they sell 750 orders A WEEK. The house-fried potato wedges are tossed in a marinade of cayenne, paprika, pimenton, salt, pepper, and garlic, then served with sun-dried tomato aioli.
Lillie’s Q (click here for address and info) Wicker Park Most-Ordered Item: Pulled Pork Sandwich The pulled pork is touted (it's the first thing listed under "Q") for a reason. It's packed onto a brioche bun with your choice of six sauces, including Carolina, Hot Smoky, and Ivory -- an Alabama-style white sauce with mayo, vinegar, and pepper.
The Berghoff (click here for address and info) The Loop Most-Ordered Item: Wiener Schnitzel I mean, obviously, right? Their wiener schnitzel is a classic, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet with an asparagus and pepper salad and German fried potatoes.
Dusek’s (click here for address and info) Pilsen Most-Ordered Item: Choucroute Duck confit + House garlic sausage + Fresh bacon confit + Red potatoes + Sauerkraut + Caraway pickled apple = Hugely ordered item. All that + Having it available in latke-form for brunch? = Most-ordered item.
Purple Pig (click here for address and info) River North Most-Ordered Item: Roasted Bone Marrow If Purple Pig were a high school, the bone marrow would be the football player, the fried pig ears would be the tennis captain, and the pickled cherry peppers would be the dude who smokes under the bleachers and wears a leather jacket.
West Town Bakery & Diner (click here for address and info) West Town Most-Ordered Item: West Coast Burger AGAIN with the burger thing. Geez. Diners flock to this guy, which's got two beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and special sauce on a Hawaiian bun with crispy Parmesan potatoes.