For those of you who have gotten the chance to experience a Chicago summer, you know that it is one of the best times to enjoy and explore the city. As always with Chicago, this means delicious food! As a registered dietitian and self-proclaimed burger enthusiast, I am always excited to try new restaurants, especially when there is an outdoor patio space involved. It’s also a great opportunity to explore different neighborhoods and their cultures. Without further ado, here are a few shoutouts:
This is one of my favorite burgers in the city, and I’m not alone: it has made top lists of the “Best Burgers in Chicago,” including on the “critically acclaimed” (in my opinion!) Instagram @windycityburgerreview. What makes it special? The pretzel bun and caramelized onions, and a flavor you just must experience yourself. The restaurant itself is enough of a hidden gem in that you won’t have to wait for hours like at the popular Au Cheval. It’s located in the quirky Logan Square neighborhood. The back patio is reminiscent of your friend’s cozy backyard, with string lights included.
A perfect spot for thin crust pizza straight out of the coal oven– unique in a city full of deep dish. It recently made the top 10 in Yelp’s review of the “Top 100 Places for Pizza” in Chicago. It’s located in both West Lakeview and West Town neighborhoods– sit on the sidewalk patio overlooking Southport in Lakeview and enjoy the local shopping or enjoy the cozy indoor atmosphere in West Town. They feature another Chicago favorite for dessert – seasonal pie slices from Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits—if you have room (but there is always room for dessert because there’s a second stomach for it—this is science).
Make a pit stop in Chicago’s upbeat and eclectic Wicker Park neighborhood, even if you can’t find a spot to sit! This cute, homey taco restaurant is nestled among shops on Milwaukee Ave. It is small and tends to be bustling, but you are just a short walk from the park in Wicker itself for a picnic. There is also a location in Bridgeport if you find yourself southbound–a neighborhood known for its diverse food and culture. My favorite taco is the Garlic Shrimp with Elote cauliflower, basil, avocado, and fried kale.
One of my personal summer favorites is the spacious patio at Fiya. Located in Chicago’s north Andersonville, Fiya is known for its Mediterranean cuisine from various Levantine and related regions. They described their menu as “fruit and veggie forward” so if you’re looking for something fresh, healthy, and delicious, this is your spot. It’s also a great place for a group with shareable dishes.
What would a Chicago summer food list be without ice cream? This is a stable in the Roscoe Village neighborhood. They are known for their delectable and creamy custard, as well as their fun mix-ins and “flavors of the month.” The line can be long, but don’t worry – it goes fast, and you can observe cute dogs eating their pup cones while you wait. You can also enjoy a classic Chicago dog – you knew this had to make it on the list at some point!