Iconic Foods of Chicago Food Tour
Devour all five of the iconic “Chicago-style” dishes from the eateries that perfected them on our most popular downtown tour.Get Tickets
Navy Pier is home to the top restaurants in Chicago. With food choices ranging from Chicago-style hotdogs, popcorn and pizza to sweet treats and fine dining, enjoy this ultimate guide for food lovers to enjoy the best of the best whether with you’re visiting with family or flying solo.
When you think of Navy Pier, images of the Ferris Wheel, the amazing skyline views , and Bubba Gump Shrimp may come to mind. But there is more to Chicago’s Navy Pier than the first few places you see, especially when it comes to food options.
Navy Pier is home to many cuisines that is sure to satisfy any food, snack or dessert craving you may be having. Plus! There are some new spots that add even more adventure to your dining experiences.
For more than sixteen years, Tiny Lounge (their flagship location), had functioned as both a destination location and a former North Center neighborhood fixture. After many years of local love, Tiny Lounge took their specialties to Navy Pier as Tiny Tavern. Enjoy great craft cocktails and Chicago-based beers as you enjoy some hearty midwestern foods that will make you feel right at home in the city. Their menu features their more famous house-made cocktails (the Subourbon and the Tito’s Hammock) and we highly recommend getting their Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds to really get the feel of the place before you dive into an entree. (Mmmmm cheese curds!)
Insider Tip: What’s all the fuss about cheese curds in the Midwest? There’s a great story and delicious flavor to match and you can find out both on the Signature Food Tour @ Navy Pier as you eat your way through the entire 50-acre space!
Enjoy lakeside views and Chicago’s gorgeous skyline while dining on lobster and crab cakes at this upscale seafood restaurant. The large open space, broad windows of the two-story space are designed to create a beautiful open setting for your dining experience.
The menu includes mouth-watering steak, succulent pork chops, and silky smooth pasta dishes. If you are seeing a show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, plan to stop by Riva for dinner and show your ticket to receive a special 3-course menu or 20% off the prices of the regular menu.
Plus, Riva Crab House has an extensive wine list as well as specialty drinks that will only add to the great food and incredible views.
If you are in the mood for a hot dog (and let’s be honest… a hot dog is fit for nearly any mood) or even a good turkey burger, check out America’s Dog & Burger. Not only can you get a Chicago Dog (which means no ketchup!), but you can take yourself on a tour of America — through your mouth — by trying different cities unique hot dog specialties, all without leaving the Pier!
The story behind America’s Dog and Burger is an American Dream come true. In 1993, a pair of brothers, Manolis and George Alpogianis took a cross-country road trip. They packed their Jeep and hit the road. It was on this road trip, through their frequent stops to grab a bite, the brothers discovered that every place in America had a slightly different way of making their hot dogs.
This is where an idea started to form. They wanted to showcase the great American road trip, by featuring these unique hot dog recipes in one location.
Insider Tip: Want to find out what the 7 ingredients to a Chicago style hot dog are and how they all originated? You can learn that and much more about Chicago’s food scene on the Signature Food Tour at Navy Pier.
Sometimes you just want a solid burger and you can’t beat Billy Goat’s Cheezborger and it’s quite fun to say it three times in a row. Go ahead and try it — we’ll wait!
Grab this simple classic which includes cheese, pickle and onions and on a warmer day, grab a seat outside to enjoy the lakefront breeze. Also, you can wow your friends with a little Chicago trivia by telling them about the tavern’s history…
The original Billy Goat Tavern location was founded in 1934 when Greek immigrant, William “Billy Goat” Sianis, purchased the Lincoln Tavern for $205. Funny enough, his check bounced but he was able to repay the recipient with sales from the first weekend.
A truck was passing by the tavern and a goat fell off and went inside the tavern. The owner, William Sianis, adopted the goat and grew a goatee gaining him the “Billy Goat” nickname. He then changed the name of the bar to Billy Goat Tavern. And the rest is, shall we say, history.
The tavern was located across from, what’s now the current location of the United Center and naturally hosted many sports fans to and from Bulls and Blackhawk games.
Sometimes you just need a little fried goodness and if chicken is calling your name, Big City Chicken is worth a visit. Voted the #1 Fried Chicken in Chicago in 2017, you can satisfy your craving with chicken wings, strips or cheese fries! You can even turn up the heat with the Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
You will see Harry Caray’s Tavern on the waterfront on the way into Navy Pier. It’s known for its outstanding barbecue, craft beers and sports memorabilia. In addition to hickory goodness, you can also grab salads, burgers and if you like burgers but not meat, give the plant-based Beyond Burger a try. Bring your furry one and grab a seat on the dog-friendly patio and enjoy the Lake Michigan views or a sporting event on the HDTVs.
No Chicago restaurant list is complete without a pizza option. Am I right? Come hungry, especially if you are ordering Giordano’s famous deep-dish pizza. It’s hella hearty, filling and well worth the wait.
This pizza’s origins began in a small northern Italian town with Mama Giordano. She was famous for her cooking and well-known for her double-crusted, cheese-stuffed “Italian Easter Pie”. When her sons moved to Chicago years later, they opened their own business and introduced their mom’s recipe.
The stuffed pizza became part of the first Giordano’s in the world in 1974. If you are looking for a lighter meal, you can also try the thin crust pizza and pasta options.
Insider Tip: Chicago’s most iconic dish and all its glory is served as part of our Signature Food Tour @ Navy Pier.
The Garrett family was a competitive bunch, and they used to have family contests to see who could make the best batch of caramel corn. Through the experimentation of these family rivalries, they figured out how to make some pretty darn good popcorn!
Family members took turns stirring the kettle, mixing the ingredients, and of course, taste-testing the results all along the way. They opened their first location at 10 West Madison Street, near the bustling State Street corridor, way back in 1949.
Why do Chicago visitors and Chicagoans alike love Garrett’s? They use high-quality ingredients from local sources. They hot air pop their kernels, instead of using oil, and then they mix them into their secret family recipe of flavors. Every batch of Garrett popcorn is handmade throughout the day. They use over 1 million pounds of cheese per year and over 20,000 bags of brown sugar.
Also, at Garrett, they’re super secretive about their recipes, BUT! we can say that there are a total of seven ingredients in their caramel crisp popcorn and one of those is water.
Pro Tip: Looking for the perfect sweet and salty snack combo? You will love the Garrett’s Mix (Caramel & Cheddar) featured on our Signature Food Tour at Navy Pier.
Two words: caramel. cake.
It’s a signature staple and favorite at Stephanie Hart’s bakery along with cobblers, cookies, pudding, brownies and pies. It’s like stepping into a baked goods factory. In fact, you may be so overwhelmed with all of the options that you may need to take something to go.
Insider Tip: Try Brown Sugar’s Bakery’s signature caramel staple in cupcake size on the Signature Food Tour @ Navy Pier.
Haven’t ventured to the South Side to try the Original Rainbow Cone? Not to worry! Take advantage of the summer and stop by the Navy Pier kiosk.
Rainbow Cone’s signature five flavors include scoops of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with cherries and walnuts), pistachio and orange sherbet. Grandpa Joe has created a unique ice cream that has been a Chicago favorite since 1926.
Offshore, Navy Pier’s latest opening is called a “grownup cocktail lounge with a massive rooftop space.” It’s definitely a place to go if you need to meet for a work meeting. And you get the bragging rights of going to the largest rooftop deck in the world. With seating for 1,000 people, you can enjoy an outside space nibbling on American cuisine and trying one of their seasonal cocktails.
If you’d rather not eat on land, eat on the water with one of Navy Pier’s Dining Cruises. You can have brunch, lunch or dinner aboard one of Navy Pier’s cruise boats: Odyssey, Spirit of Chicago and Mystic Blue. You get the best of both worlds, pairing a sightseeing adventure of Chicago’s famous landmarks with a wonderful meal. If you’ve already eaten, try one of our favorite boat tours.
Interested in learning more about all of Chicago’s iconic foods and where to find them? Eat your way through the city with our handy guide of the Best Chicago Food.
Devour all five of the iconic “Chicago-style” dishes from the eateries that perfected them on our most popular downtown tour.
Sunday Funday never tasted so good! Hop on this fast-paced tour as we brunch our way around Wrigleyville!
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