The owners of Chicago's first post-Prohibition liquor license in 1933, The Berghoff has been bringing German food and drink to the Windy City for more than a century. The Loop institution opened before the Prohibition -- in 1898 -- but it really began as a brewery a couple of years before that. Now, it's known for its house brews (best when sampled in a flight of five), reubens, and old-world schnitzel entrees. Not surprising given its German roots, The Berghoff is a major player in Chicago's annual Oktoberfest celebrations.
Nowadays, it’s rare for a restaurant to last more than a decade. But a century? That’s unheard of. Open since 1898, The Berghoff is a restaurant so old that passengers from the Titanic could have eaten here. The downtown icon is a colossal German restaurant from German immigrant Herman Berghoff, who first came to Chicago to sell beer at the World’s Fair. Initially in the brewing business, he opened The Berghoff merely as a permanent place to sell beer, but a Prohibition pivot led to making food and earning a reputation for schnitzel, potato pancakes, knockwurst, and Bavarian pretzels. Prohibition has long since ended, but the love for The Berghoff has proven immemorial. It’s since expanded to O’Hare International Airport, so you can snag some schnitzel on your layover, but otherwise this preserved-in-time gem feels just as charming as it did in the 19th century.
How to book: Reserve directly through the restaurant’s website. Walk-ins are always welcome, and carryout is available via Toast.