Chicago’s Summer Eats

From barbecue to beachfront dining, here's where to eat now.

Melissa Hom

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.

Summer Eats

Smoke Daddy

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.


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.

Summer Eats



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.

Summer Eats

The Dockt at Montrose


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.

Written By Amber Holst

Amber Holst is Vice President & Editorial Director at Concierge Preferred. A native Chicagoan, she’ll happily bend your ear about why Top Notch burgers are a must (as is an Original Rainbow Cone) and can often be found procuring milk candy in Chinatown after dim sum with her partner in crime or rooting on her beloved Green Bay Packers (yes, that’s right) at Will’s Northwoods Inn. Lover of cured meats, prosecco, and good old fashioned “slashies” she considers herself fortunate to be able to promote her hometown for a living. Fun fact? She can play the accordion.

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