Old-School Restaurants in Chicago: Classic Dining Spots


Once upon a time, in medieval times before the Michelin Star and James Beard galas, Chicago was stereotypically a city of meat and potatoes, infamous for its stockyards (thanks, Upton Sinclair) and sufficiently meat processing plants to earn him the strange nickname of “the world’s pork butcher”. However, things have changed considerably over the past hundred years. Sure, the Midwestern metropolis still loves its meat and potatoes, but sometimes they come in the form of hot dogs with crinkle fries, or Reuben sandwiches with latkes, or a rib eye of 38 oz dry aged tomahawk with rosemary roasted potatoes.

Meaty or not, many enduring restaurants have evolved with Chicago as it grew into the epicurean epicenter it is today. The city now boasts jaw-dropping tasting menus and celebrity chefs, but it’s those well-worn classics that help keep the city rooted, and Chicagoans have plenty of room in their hearts for a steakhouse or an old-fashioned diner. just as much as for the hot new thing.

Thanks to the pandemic, which has seen the closure of beloved institutions like Dinkel’s Bakery, Yoshi’s and Everest, it has heightened appreciation for these venerable eves and what they mean for the city’s food scene. From fine dining to casual neighborhood sous-shops, from cinnamon rolls to salad bars, the Old Guard is rich with as much perseverance as it does nostalgia, and they’re as crucial to the city’s foodie DNA as the city. gastronomy icon serving translucent pumpkin pie. Let’s elevate an Old Fashioned to these old-school flagship restaurants in Chicago.


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