A bowl of chili is immensely satisfying in the wintertime. Packed with beans, meats, spices, and more, it has everything needed to warm Chicagoans up from the coldest chills. These following spots take extra pride in their versions, some of which are age-old recipes that span back generations. From classic beef and turkey to veggie and quinoa chilis, here are 10 favorites to try, listed from north to south.Read More
10 of Chicago’s Best Bowls of Chili, Mapped
Spice up those taste buds with some comforting chili
1. Capt'n Nemo's
Chili and a sandwich are a top tier pairing and with three locations around Chicagoland, Capt’n Nemo’s is more than willing to provide a solid meal. The turkey option is among the best of its kind while other choices include beef and vegetarian chilis. Customers who want to stock up for a cold, wintry day can purchase frozen quarts to take home.
2. Chicago Diner
One of the city’s most beloved vegetarian restaurants shows that it can make a mean chili without meat. Chicago Diner creates a healthy take on the dish by using a quinoa base and supplementing it with jalapeno corn fritters. Guests also have the option of adding tomatoes, onions, sour cream, cheese, and avocado. Unlike more traditional chilis, this one won’t bust guts.
3. Sheffield's Beer & Wine Garden
Sheffield’s has been hosting annual chili cook-offs for the past decade so it shouldn’t be a shock that its specialty stew is worthy of praise. It’s made with smoked brisket and pork, chorizo, bacon, peppers, beans, cheddar, and optional accoutrements. Vegetarians aren’t left out in the cold either as there’s an equally impressive veggie chili chock-full of white and black beans, peppers, corn, roasted tomatoes, tomatillos, and Lagunitas Daytime.
4. Kuma's Corner
Burgers will always be the main attraction at the iconic metal bar but the comfort fare doesn’t stop there. Since diners are probably going to consume an inordinate amount of calories anyway, they might as well go all out and order a bowl of chili too. Just like everything else on the menu, it’s a highly craveable version topped with shredded Monterey jack cheese and diced red onions.
5. DMK Burger Bar
Michael Kornick’s popular eatery elevates burgers above the norm and that same level of refinement also applies to chili. Each bowl sports hatch green chilis — a specialty of New Mexico — alongside pork shoulder, hominy, tomatillos, and cheddar. Fries are optional, but recommended.
6. Little Goat Diner
There’s nothing that Stephanie Izard can’t enhance with a little bit of goat. At her retro diner, guests have the option of breaking from the norm with a bowl of goat chili. It features heaping chunks of meat topped with sour cream, cheddar, and tortilla strips.
7. Hawkeye's Bar & Grill
In what comes as a pleasant surprise, this UIC sports bar delivers a well-rounded chili. The simple dish is loaded with tender ground beef, some spices, and all of the customary add-ons like cheeses, onion, and sour cream. So even though the Bulls and Blackhawks might disappoint fans, at least the food won’t.
8. Honky Tonk BBQ
Pilsen’s Wild West-themed smokehouse is a barbecue mecca. The chili, predictably, boasts tender Texas brisket as well as the option of adding mac and cheese on top. Rounding out the honky tonk experience are live musical acts on most nights.
9. Lindy's Chili & Gertie's Ice Cream
This Chicago staple has multiple locations on the South Side and has been cooking its famous chili recipe since 1924. Customers shouldn’t expect any frills but they can look forward to a classic bowl served with or without beans and elbow macaroni. For the ultimate comfort, order a side of fries to dip into the stew.
10. Bishop's Chili
It’s been more than 90 years since it started but Bishop’s Chili continues to win over customers. Although the original Chicago location is no longer around, fans can still head out to Westmont for a taste of Mary Bishop’s old-school recipe. 24 hours of preparation yields a beefy, tomato-less stew that’s super smooth and creamy. Also available over spaghetti or by the gallon.