Check out Illinois’ best diners, drive-ins and dives
There’s no doubt we Illinoisians take our food seriously, especially given all of the awesome restaurants our great state has to offer (and these too). We’re bringing you all *29 of Illinois’ best diners, drive-ins and dives, as brought to you buy Guy Fieri and The Food Network.
Even before the recent “designer burger” trend, burgers were big in Illinois.
Location: 1241 Harms Road, Glenview, IL 60025
Hackney’s got its start serving beer and food during prohibition. However, even after the passage of the 21st Amendment, Hackney’s is still serving their famous burgers on rye bread and onion rings.
Guy’s Recommendations: Inside-Out Burger, French Fried Onions
Location: 1724 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018
Ranked the #1 restaurant in Des Plaines by tripadivsor, Paradise Pup is a must-go place for any burger lover.
Guy’s Recommendations: Char Burger and Three Layer Fries
Location: 2954 N. Sheffield Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657
Serving more than just your classic meat patty, DMK Burger Bar offers burgers of all types and even has a special late-night menu.
Guy’s Recommendations: Salmon Burger and Bison Burger
Location: 6604 N Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626
bopNgrill fuses Korean cuisine and burgers, featuring items such as bi bim bap alongside their father burger (double patty with fried eggs, onion rings, bacon, cheddar, barbecue sauce and mayo).
Guy’s Recommendations: Philly Cheesesteak Egg Roles and Umami Burger
It’s no surprise that Illinois has tons of classic American eats, including barbecue and fried chicken.
Location: 3800 N. Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60641
Smoque not only serves traditional Chicago BBQ, they’re dedicated to perfecting the cuisine, even publishing a 4-page manifesto.
Guy’s Recommendations: Brisket and BBQ Ribs
Chuck’s Southern Comforts Café
Location: 6501 W. 79th Street, Burbank, IL 60459
Chuck’s combines Mexican, Cajun-Creole and Southern traditions to create some of the greatest comfort food in Chicago and is open for all meals!
Guy’s Recommendations: Cajun Meatloaf and Fried Chicken
Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket
Location: 645 Joliet Road, Willowbrook, IL 60527
This Route 66 establishment has been bringing travelers perfected fried chicken since 1946.
Guy’s Recommendations: Fried Chicken
Location: 2900 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618
Serving only local beer, Kuma’s isn’t your typical Chicago bar.
Guy’s Recommendation: The Slayer
Location: 38995 N US Highway 41, Wadsworth, IL 60083
The Shanty serves a variety of American classics, from deep fried frog’s legs to biscuits and gravy.
Guy’s Recommendations: Tequila and Orange Chicken and Filet Mignon
Honky Tonk BBQ
Location: 1800 S. Racine, Chicago, IL 60608
Located in Pilsen, Honky Tonk is known for its slow-cooked brisket and pulled pork.
Guy’s Recommendations: Beef Tips, Brisket and Ribs
Location: 3267 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60608
Nana’s serves all-organic American-Latin American-Mexican-Spanish blended cuisine.
Guy’s Recommendations: Pupusas and Shrimp and Oyster Po’ Boy
Big and Little’s
Location: 860 N. Orleans Street, Chicago, IL 60610
Big and Little’s puts a twist on American classics, with creations such as the Hawaii Five-O Burger (pineapple, chipotle pepper, samurai sauce, and their special sauce).
Guy’s Recommendations: Foie Gras and Fries, Pork Belly Sandwich, and Oyster Po’ Boy
Location: 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640
This Uptown tavern not only has good eats, but plenty of beers and wine to choose from. Please not only those 21 and over will be admitted.
Guy’s Recommendations: Mussels or Cheese-Head Charcuterie, Crepe of Gruyere or fresh Duck
From Cuban to Scandinavian, Illinois has tons of restaurants to please any ethnic palette.
Location: 3619 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
Cemita’s specializes in Poblano food and is the only restaurant to serve their specialty Cemitas™ sandwiches, bread with avocado, your choice of meat, adobo chipotle peppers and papalo.
Guy’s Recommendation: Cemitas™ sandwiches
Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap
Location: 1073 W Vernon Park, Chicago, IL 60607
Located in the heart of Little Italy, Tufano’s has served up family-made Italian food since 1930.
Guy’s Recommendations: Lemon chicken and stuffed shells
Location: 3258 West Foster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625
Tre Kronor serves Scandanavian food with a Chicago twist.
Guy’s Recommendations: House-cured gravlax and Meatballs with lingonberries
Taste of Peru
Location: 6545 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60626
Combining all of the flavors of its namesake country, the cuisine at Taste of Peru is as unique as the country itself.
Guy’s Recommendations: Guy Fieri’s Combo (Inka Cola, Antichucos, Tamales, Lomo Saltado)
Location: 2516-2518 W 63rd Street, Chicago, IL 60629
Garifuna Flava brings you a flavorful blend of Caribbean, Latin and Garifuna cuisine.
Guy’s Recommendations: Hudut Baruru and King Fish
Location: 3023 N. Broadway Street, Chicago, IL 60657
After leaving Mexico City to come to the United States at age 18, Sonya Rendon opened Chilam Balam, bringing Chicago a taste home country.
Guy’s Recommendations: Memelas and Flautas
Location: 1865 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60647
The Cedras-Salazar family has been serving some of Chicago’s best Costa Rican food for 24 years.
Guy’s Recommendations: Pepito Sandwiches and Chicharrón
Panozzo’s Italian Market
Location: 1303 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605
Panozzo’s is an Italian market inspired by Mike Panozzo’s experience growing up in the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.
Guy’s Recommendations: Crescentine and Meatball Sandwiches
Location: 4732 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625
This Lincoln Square joint has been serving German favorites for over 40 years.
Guy’s Recommendations: Leberknödel Suppe (Liver Dumpling soup), Sauerbraten and Rindsroulade
Rex Italian Foods
Location: 4431 N. Harlem Avenue, Norridge, IL 60706
Based on the original restaurant founded in the 1960’s, “Rex,” which translates to “King,” has been bringing Chicago fantastic Italian food at its current location since 1993.
Guy’s Recommendation: Sicilian Schiacciata
90 Miles Cuban Café
Location: 2540 W. Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
Named for the 90 miles between Miami and their home country of Cuba, the Gonzales family celebrates their Cuban heritage through their country’s native food.
Guy’s Recommendations: Puerco Rostizado (slow-roasted pork), Fricase de Pollo (roast chicken breast)
The Original Vito and Nick’s
Location: 8433 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60652
After opening a series of Italian restaurants in Chicago since 1923, Vito Barraco and his son Nick began making traditional Sicilian pizza at their famed 84th and Pulaski restaurant in 1946, and the recipes haven’t changed since.
Guy’s Recommendation: thin crust pizza
Guy’s trip to Illinois wouldn’t be complete without visiting some of the state’s best classic diners.
White Palace Grill
Location: 1159 S. Canal Street, Chicago, IL 60607
This 24-hour diner has been around Chicago since 1939 and has served all walks of life, from college students to policemen and businessmen.
Guy’s Recommendation: Veal Parmesan
Location: 700 North Street, Springfield, IL 62704
Located in a Quonset hut, Charlie Parker’s has been bringing the classics to Springfield since 1991.
Guy’s Recommendation: Horseshoe Sandwich
Location: 1820 W. Montrose Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613
Glenn’s serves all of the best diner food, with a seafood twist.
Guy’s Recommendations: King Crab Legs, Chicken Wings, Baby Back Ribs
The Depot Diner (Under new management)
Location: 5840 W Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60644
Despite the new owners, Guy affirms the food is still as good as ever.
Guy’s Recommendations: Pot Roast Sandwich, Apple Pancakes
*Unfortunately, The Frosted Mug and Galewood Cookshack have closed since Guy’s visits, so they could not be included on this list.
- Rich Miller: Illinois pension reform could be back to Square 1
- Only in Illinois: Has Illinois Supreme Court doomed pension reform?
- This bill would create a statewide 401(k) plan
- Cartoon: Once a champion of term limits, Pat Quinn is now on the sidelines
- Like editorial cartoons? Our gallery section has 11 cartoon collections grouped by category. See them all here.