When the temperatures drop, there’s nothing better than getting food that warms the soul. Chicago’s filled with great options for mac and cheese, ramen and pies, to name a few quintessential comforts. Here are 13 places to find a variety of favorite comfort foods, ordered from north to south.Read More
Where to Find Cozy Comfort Foods in Chicago
These dishes are just the thing to warm up on a chilly day
1. Pulled pork sandwich at Smoque BBQ
Sometimes a messy, hearty and meaty barbecue sandwich is the cure to a cold day. The pulled pork sandwich at Smoque is hand pulled and smoked over apple and oak making a great mixture of crunchy bits with the tender insides. The sandwiches are also available downtown at Revival Food Hall.
2. Macaroni and cheese at Kuma's Corner
Kuma’s may be best known for its burgers with metal/punk names, but the mac and cheese is a serious dish. It’s heaping and creamy, topped with breadcrumbs and scallions. And it’s customizable. Kuma’s also has locations in Fulton Market, Lincoln Park, Fulton Market, suburban Schaumburg.
3. Chicken pot pie at Bang Bang Pie Shop
Everything on the menu at Bang Bang Pie Shop qualifies as comfort food, including the chicken pot pie. Hearty with a flaky leaf lard crust and the traditional peas and carrots, this guy makes it alright to have pie for your meal and for dessert.
4. Fried chicken at The Budlong Hot Chicken
Nashville hot chicken is taking Chicago by storm, and the Budlong knows how to do it well. Fashioned to be served in varying degrees of hotness on slices of bread and topped with pickles, the skin is crunchy with tender and juicy insides that’ll bring a warming comfort to even the dreariest of days. Budlong has locations at Soldier Field, Lincoln Square, and Revival Food Hall.
5. French onion soup at Le Bouchon
Painstaking to make but a true delight when finished, there may not be anything that’s cozier than a bowl of French onion soup. Le Bouchon’s rendition is excellent, with a solid gruyère top with beef broth and caramelized onions, it’s the cure to every ailment.
6. Strata and quiche at Spinning J Bakery and Soda Fountain
There’s a daily rotating strata and quiche at Spinning J, chock full of a selection of vegetables, perfect for the vegetarian looking for a breakfast that warms the soul. Pair it with a side of greens and mustard vinaigrette to complete the meal.
7. Pie at Hoosier Mama Pie Company
The selection of pies changes daily at Hoosier Mama, but there’s always plenty to pick from for a taste of coziness. From apple to chocolate chess to pecan, pair any slice with a warm cup of coffee from their new coffee bar for maximum warmth.
8. Turkey, sweet potato and greens ‘neatloaf’ at Beatrix
Meatloaf may be one of the ultimate comfort foods, although tough to find a reliable source. Thankfully, Beatrix’s ‘neatloaf’ is filled with hunks of chicken, sweet potatoes and greens to create a balanced meal that is also the peak of comfort. Beatrix also has locations in Streeterville and Fulton Market.
9. Gnocchi bolognese at il Porcellino
Fluffy pillows of gnocchi topped with bolognese sauce is the ultimate in pasta comforts. The sauce is made with rosemary, parmesan and prime beef, but the gnocchi is the star — tender and delicious.
10. Tokyo classic shoyu ramen at Ramen Takeya
A hearty bowl of ramen is just the right thing to cure the sniffles when it’s extra cold outside. Ramen Takeya’s classic shoyu ramen is made with cage free chicken and Berkshire pork broth, topped with pork belly char siu and a soft boiled egg. While this one is just right for warming up, the spicy chicken paitan will give an extra special kick of warmth.
11. Chicago Double at M Burger
While it’s great to eat a burger all year long, there’s a little bit more leeway when the temperature drops. So dig into M Burger’s Chicago Double, an indulgence with two patties, American cheese, pickles, and mustard.
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12. Fries at Au Cheval
Chicago, IL 60607
French fries are an excellent comfort food, but few are up to the same scale as Au Cheval’s crispy fries, topped with a fried egg and served with both mornay sauce and garlic aioli. They’re pretty much an entire meal on their own.
13. Dumplings at Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings
Dumplings are among the coziest foods available, perfectly made bites filled with flavorful meats and vegetables. Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings provides a huge array of dumplings in a variety of sizes and cooked various ways. Servers are readily armed with suggestions, like the flavorful beef and onion dumplings.
14. Royal pies at Pleasant House Pub
Fit for warming up a cold day, Pleasant House Pub has a list of royal pies (that can be topped with mashed potatoes and gravy) that hit the spot. Choose from a warming steak and ale pie or a creamy kale and mushroom and pair with a beer to cheer up a drizzly day.
15. Pecan pancakes at Peach's Restaurant
A thick stack of fluffy pancakes is just the right thing to kick off a cold winter day, and the pecan pancakes at Peach’s are ripe for just that. Other winners include soul comforts like fried chicken with cinnamon french toast and the biscuits and gravy.