18 Popular Street Foods in Chicago

Street Foods In Chicago
Image credit: soperth.com.au

Chicago is a foodie’s paradise, with an incredible variety of street foods from around the world.

From classic Chicago-style hot dogs to Mexican tacos and Middle Eastern falafels, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

But if you’re looking to explore some of the more unique flavors of street foods in Chicago, then you’ve come to the right place. 

In this blog post, we’ll be introducing you to some of the best street foods in Chicago that you may not have heard of before.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you’ll surely find something new and delicious to try! Let’s surge!

1. Pizza

The first on our list of best street foods in Chicago is pizza. it is renowned for its deep-dish pizza and other iconic foods, but it’s also home to some delicious street food.

In particular, Windy City’s pizza-on-the-go scene is one of the best street foods in Chicago. If you want to take a break from the standard deep dish slice, give these delicious street pizza options a try!

The delicious pizzas come topped with an array of fresh, flavorful toppings and can be enjoyed on the go or in the restaurant.

2. Buttermilk Doughnuts

Chicago is known for its amazing street food, and one of its best-kept secrets is the buttermilk doughnut.

These delicious treats are made with a unique blend of ingredients and fried to perfection. This gives them a sweet, fluffy texture and unforgettable taste. 

From the classic glazed version to creative variations like blueberry or banana fritters, these doughnuts are sure to satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth.

For those looking to indulge in something truly special, why not try some of Chicago’s famous buttermilk doughnuts?

As one of the most delicious street foods in Chicago, they make the perfect snack for any occasion.

3. Italian Beef Sandwiches

Italian Beef Sandwiches are unique street foods in Chicago. This sandwich is made with thin slices of seasoned roast beef, slow-cooked in a flavorful broth, and served on an Italian roll.

The traditional Italian Beef Sandwich is served with sweet peppers and giardiniera (a combination of pickled vegetables). 

It can also be topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and cheese for an extra-special treat. To get the full Chicago experience, many people order their sandwich dipped—which means the whole sandwich is dipped into the flavorful cooking broth before serving.

Whether you choose to go dry or dip, you will love this delicious local favorite!

4. Steaks

There are many street foods in Chicago, including iconic favorites such as deep-dish pizza and hot dogs. But there’s one unique street food item that many people have yet to discover—Chicago steaks. 

A Chicago steak is a tender steak sandwich usually served on a French roll and topped with grilled onions, tomato slices, and your choice of condiments.

The steak is thinly sliced and cooked to perfection, resulting in a juicy and flavorful sandwich. It is one of the most delectable street foods in Chicago.

Chicago steaks are the perfect way to satisfy your hunger while exploring all the city offers. They can be found in many of Chicago’s local delis and restaurants and are great for a quick meal on the go.

Grab a Chicago steak for lunch or dinner and enjoy a unique, delicious meal with a taste of the Windy City.

5. Polish Sausages

Polish sausages are popular street foods in Chicago. From the famous Maxwell Street to Clark Street, there is no shortage of vendors hawking these savory, smoky sausages.

Whether you get them on a bun or with a side of sauerkraut and mustard, Polish sausages are the perfect snack on a hot summer day. 

This all-beef sausage is grilled over an open flame and served on a poppy seed bun. It’s usually topped with grilled onions and yellow mustard, making it a delicious and filling meal. It’s also great to taste authentic Chicago cuisine without breaking the bank.

These sausages’ unique flavor and texture make them an instant classic in the Windy City. These flavorful street foods in Chicago are a must-try for anyone looking for an authentic Chicago experience!

6. Popcorn

Street foods in Chicago can offer a range of exciting and unique flavors, but one of the most underrated treats is popcorn.

It’s a favorite snack among locals and visitors alike, and it can be found at a number of popular street vendors throughout the city. 

There’s something for everyone, from traditional caramel corn to gourmet cheese popcorn. Plus, it’s an affordable snack that can be enjoyed while out exploring Chicago.

So the next time you’re out and about, don’t forget to grab some popcorn from one of the local vendors and enjoy!

7. Elotes

Chicago is known for its delicious street foods, and elotes is no exception.

Elotes is Mexican-style corn on the cob, boiled and served with various toppings, including mayonnaise, cheese, butter, chili powder, and lime juice. It’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike and a great way to get a quick, flavorful snack.

Street food vendors are everywhere in Chicago, so you won’t have any trouble finding elotes. You can find it almost anywhere throughout the city, from corner stores to parks to festivals.

The price usually varies, but you can expect to pay around $3-$4 per cob. Give this particular one of the street foods in Chicago a try – you won’t be disappointed!

8. Jibaritos

Jibaritos are a traditional street food of Puerto Rico, but in Chicago, the snack has been taken to a new level.

A jibarito is a sandwich made with flattened, fried plantains instead of bread. Inside the crunchy exterior, you can find all sorts of delicious fillings, from steak and cheese to shrimp and veggies.

Many restaurants in the city have put their own spin on this classic sandwich, creating a unique culinary experience.

The traditional jibarito is served with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and garlic sauce. Coupled with that, it’s easy to find these flavorful sandwiches in many eateries throughout Chicago.

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon snack or a quick lunch, you’ll surely find something that tantalizes your taste buds.

Try one today and find out why jibaritos have become such popular street foods in Chicago.

9. Rainbow Cone

One of Chicago’s best-kept secrets is Rainbow Cone, a street food delicacy that has been a favorite since 1926.

This tasty treat consists of five different flavors of ice cream: strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with cherries and walnuts), pistachio, orange sherbet, and chocolate.

It’s served in a delicious homemade waffle cone and topped off with sprinkles and crushed almonds.

No visit to Chicago is not complete without trying a Rainbow Cone, one of the best street foods in Chicago. It can be found all over the city.

Whether you’re strolling along the Magnificent Mile or hanging out at one of the city’s many festivals, you’ll be able to get your hands on this delectable treat.

It’s a great way to cool off while experiencing some of Chicago’s most beloved flavors.

10. Italian Ice

Italian ice is one of the popular street foods in Chicago. It’s made from simple ingredients, including water, sugar, and flavoring, and it’s served in a cup or cone. The refreshing treat is a great way to cool off during the hot summer months. 

It’s usually served with a spoon and can be found in almost every neighborhood. From rainbow-colored cones to traditional fruit flavors, Italian ice is a tasty treat that’s sure to please.

Italian ice is a must-try whether you’re looking for a snack on a hot day or an after-dinner dessert.

Also, Italian ice is sure to hit the spot if you’re in the mood for something sweet or tart. If you want to expand your palate and experience some of the best street foods in Chicago, be sure to try this unique option!

11. Cemita

Talking about iconic street foods in Chicago, Cemita is not left out. It originates from the Mexican state of Puebla.

The sandwich is made with a sesame-seeded roll, filled with meat (usually beef, pork, or chicken), and topped with onions, cheese, avocado slices, chipotle peppers, and a papalo or cilantro leaf. 

It is a hearty and flavorful dish beloved by locals and visitors alike. The best place to find cemitas in Chicago is at Cemitas Puebla, located on West 18th Street in Pilsen.

Here, you can get freshly made cemitas with all your favorite toppings. Whether you’re grabbing one to go or sitting down to enjoy a meal, it’s sure to be a delicious experience. Enjoy!

12. Hot Dogs

Chicago is known for its wide variety of delicious street foods, including the ever-popular Chicago hot dog.

The Windy City’s hot dogs are a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and there is no shortage of places to find them.

From traditional hot dog stands to gourmet restaurants, Chicago offers some of the best hot dog options in the world.

When it comes to Chicago hot dogs, it’s all about the topping combinations. Some popular options include traditional mustard, relish, and onions.

While others may opt for more unique toppings like pickles, celery salt, and even jalapenos. No matter what combination you choose, a Chicago hot dog, one of the best street foods in Chicago, is sure to hit the spot. 

If you want a truly unique hot dog experience, don’t forget to check out the street vendors. Many of these vendors offer up unusual topping combinations that you won’t find at regular hot dog stands.

It’s definitely worth trying out a few different places to find the perfect combination for your taste buds.

13. Rib Tips

Chicago is renowned for its street food, especially its rib tips. Slow-cooked, smoked and smothered in a tangy sweet barbecue sauce, rib tips are a staple of the street foods in Chicago.

Usually served on a paper plate or foil tray, the meal is hearty and satisfying. The smoky flavor and tender texture make these rib tips stand out from other types of barbecue. 

As one of the most popular street foods in Chicago, it’s a must-try for any visitor. To get the full experience, try grabbing some rib tips from a local street vendor.

With countless vendors around the city, you can sample some of the best rib tips.  Street vendors offer delicious, freshly cooked rib tips from downtown to the neighborhoods with unique recipes and flavors. Whether you like them spicy or sweet, you’re sure to find something that hits the spot.

14. Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls may not immediately come to mind when you think of street foods in Chicago, but they are surprisingly popular.

You can find them at the Maxwell Street Market and other places around town. These soft, sugary rolls are usually topped with cream cheese frosting or a cinnamon-sugar glaze. They’re the perfect snack for a cold winter day in the city.

Try getting one filled with apple pie filling for a unique twist on the classic cinnamon roll. The sweet and tart flavors of the apples combined with the cinnamon and sugar make for a delicious treat that you won’t find anywhere else.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy your snack while taking in the sights of Chicago.

15. Edible Balloon Dessert

There are many street foods in Chicago. One of the unique offerings in the city is the edible balloon dessert.

This treat consists of a brightly-colored balloon made out of sugar that can be filled with cream, ice cream, and other desserts. 

Once the treat has been enjoyed, the balloon can be popped, and the empty shell can be eaten as a sweet treat.

It’s definitely an experience like no other! Let’s proceed with this list of the best street foods in Chicago!

16. Taco Loco

Taco Loco is one of the most beloved street foods in Chicago. This savory dish features freshly made tacos, served with an array of toppings that can include everything from guacamole to jalapenos.

The flavor of the tacos is bold and hearty, and the combination of flavors makes for a delicious meal. 

The tacos are cooked over a charcoal fire, giving them a smoky flavor that’s perfect for a quick snack on the go.

Taco Loco is sure to hit the spot whether you’re looking for a light lunch or a late-night snack. It is not excluded from this list of popular street foods in Chicago.

17. The Fat Shallot

The Fat Shallot street food vendor in Chicago has quickly become a local favorite. They offer a variety of delicious sandwiches made to order with locally sourced ingredients.

Their signature sandwich is the Fat Shallot Burger, a beef patty topped with white cheddar, caramelized shallots, and garlic aioli and served on a toasted brioche bun. The flavor combinations are nothing short of amazing! 

The Fat Shallot also offers vegetarian options such as avocado and roasted red pepper sandwiches.

This sandwich features smashed avocado, roasted red peppers, garlic aioli, and house-made pickles; all served on a warm Ciabatta roll.

Whether you’re a meat lover or looking for something vegan-friendly, the Fat Shallot has something for everyone.

18. Malbec Beef Empanada

Regarding street foods in Chicago, the Malbec Beef Empanada is a must-try. This traditional Argentinian pastry filled with savory ground beef is a favorite among Chicago locals.

The empanadas are made with ground beef, onions, bell peppers, and spices cooked in a delicious Malbec wine sauce. The flaky pastry crust provides an extra layer of flavor and texture that elevates the dish.

The Malbec Beef Empanada, one of the delicious street foods in Chicago, is an excellent choice for any meal or snack.

It can be found at several street vendors around the city and often comes served with sides such as rice and beans.

For those looking for an unforgettable street food experience, the Malbec Beef Empanada is definitely worth a try. This is the last on our list of street foods in Chicago


Chicago is renowned for its delicious street food. However, there are plenty of hidden gems out there that you may not know about!

In this blog post, we explored some of the lesser-known street foods in Chicago that you won’t want to miss. 

You’ll taste the best of Chicago, from regional specialties to classic comfort foods. So read the article above to learn more about the best street foods in Chicago that you’ve never heard of!

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