Best Eats on Chicago's South Side

Homemade Chicago Style Hot Dog with Mustard Relish Tomato and Onion
Homemade Chicago Style Hot Dog with Mustard Relish Tomato and Onion

Chicago is a city known for its food, but most visitors venture no farther south than the Loop, missing some of the city’s best. To right this wrong, here are some tasty reasons to brave the Dan Ryan and visit the South side.

1. Ricobene’s, 252 W. 26th Street: Breaded Steak Sandwich

This sandwich recently made headlines as “the best sandwich in America,” but some locals don’t even consider it the best steak sandwich in the city! Stop by this Bridgeport landmark and try one for yourself: it’s deep-fried with melted mozzarella cheese and red sauce, so what’s not to like?

Famous breaded steak sandwich.

Insider Tip: Don’t wear white, you’ve been warned.

2. Vito and Nick’s, 8433 S Pulaski Road: Thin Crust Pizza

As a Chicagoan, I am often asked whether I like deep-dish pizza better than thin crust, and I always answer the same, “I hope I never have to choose.” We’re no New York, but this pizza is without a doubt the best thin crust in the city, state entire world.

A slice of heaven: thin crust pizza.

Insider Tip: Enjoy with a cold refreshing Old Style to channel your inner Chicagoan.

3. The Original Rainbow Cone, 9233 S Western Avenue: Rainbow Cone

Chocolate on top of strawberry on top of Palmer House on top of pistachio on top of orange sherbet – these are the five flavours of ice cream that comprise a rainbow cone, and there are only two places on EARTH where you can find it: Here at the Beverly store, which has been open since 1927, and once a year in Grant Park at the Taste of Chicago. Plan accordingly.

The original rainbow cone.

Insider Tip: Summer in Chicago is hot, so eat through the brain freeze.

4. Top Notch Beefburgers, 2116 W 95th Street: Beefburger and Hand Cut Fries

This Beverly joint is a local landmark for its delicious beefy burgers, hand cut fries, and creamy milkshakes. I could rattle off a ton of places that make some top-notch burgers anywhere in the world, but how many of them still refer to their food as “top-notch?” Exactly.

A Top Notch beefburger.

Insider Tip: Order a chocolate malt or shake, preferably the malt.

5. Louisa’s Deep Dish Pizza, 14025 South Cicero Avenue

In a city known for the deep-dish pizza, how can one really know who does it best? This is Chicago, not Portland, and in the Windy City we don’t care if everyone gets a turn with the talking stick. Louisa’s is the best deep-dish in the Chicagoland area, and the drool pooling in my mouth as I write only confirms this. Chill out, Lou Malnati’s; you’re still the popular one.

Classic Chicago deep dish pizza.

Insider Tip: Sorry to be a buzz kill, but expect to use silverware.

Chicago-style hot dog.

Side note: Unfortunately, all the best hot dog places are up north, and I have a personal vendetta against Portillo’s so there is no hot dog category. But a Chicago-style hot dog shouldn't be too hard to find in the city after which they are named. As always, no ketchup allowed.

Insider tip: Sports peppers are optional, so don’t be a hero.

Image notes:

Louisa’s, Vito and Nick's, and Top Notch, courtesy of

Rainbow cone, courtesy of Julie Corsi

Ricobenes, courtesy of

Hot dog photo, courtesy of Jeremy Keith

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