From barbecue to beachfront dining, here’s where to go for quintessential Chicago summer eats.
Nothing says summer quite like great barbecue. For Hyatt Center concierge Brianna Connell, her go-to joint is Smoke Daddy in Wicker Park. This neighborhood favorite serves up live jazz and blues music alongside the standard barbecue fare like brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, in addition to stellar sides ranging from sweet potato fries and collard greens to smoked pit beans and mac n’ cheese.
If you’re looking for a down-home country hangout right in the center of the city, Shannon Boland, chef concierge at LondonHouse Chicago, recommends Bub City. Grab a table by the open garage door windows or on their front patio and promptly order their Giddy Up fries, which are waffle fries smothered with cheddar cheese and barbecued pork. You’ll thank us later.
TACOS & MARGS
Another winning summer combination is tacos, booze, and a large patio space to enjoy them on. If this is more your speed, Ritz Carlton Chicago concierge John Dillon suggests posting up at Federales. A lofty taco-and-tequila establishment in the West Loop, the menu here features barbacoa-style tacos stuffed with flavorful meats like shredded beef brisket and pork belly al pastor in addition to ceviches and other shareable fare. The booze puts the spotlight on margaritas—which come in flavors like classic, mezcal, strawberry, hibiscus, and even a boozy horchata variation—in addition to a lineup of Mexican beers including Tecate served with a hot sauce-spiced rim.
SUSHI, MAKI & SAKE
For Ramon Gomez, concierge at the W Chicago Lakeshore, it’s all about Sushi Dokku’s carefully selected shortlist of sushi, sashimi, and Japanese small plates. This attractive, minimalist space in the West Loop is also home to a well-curated sake list and Booze Box, the supremely cool, subterranean speakeasy-style izakaya in the basement.
ON THE WATERFRONT
If you’re looking to get your tan on while doing some al fresco dining and drinking on the lakefront, concierge Alfredo Caliva recommends checking out The Dock at Montrose, a sprawling, 3,000 square-foot beach bar offering up burgers, tacos, salads, and live music.