A Foodie's Guide to Chicago's Fulton Market

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Caitlyn Cronin

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  • Chicago

  • Food & Wine

  • City Travel

  • shopping

  • local food

  • entertainment

A Foodie's Guide to Chicago's Fulton Market
Curator’s statement

Being my neighborhood, Fulton Market holds a special place in my heart and I can’t imagine living in any other neighborhood in Chicago. Nestled in the West Loop, Fulton Market is a dynamic and trendy neighborhood undergoing a remarkable transformation from its industrial roots to a hub of culinary innovation. Once dominated by meatpacking warehouses, the area is now a hotspot for top-rated restaurants, chic galleries and trendy boutiques. Visitors can explore the historic streets adorned with vibrant murals, indulge in culinary delights at the acclaimed eateries and experience the neighborhood's energetic nightlife. With a perfect blend of industrial charm and modern sophistication, Fulton Market has become a must-visit destination, offering a glimpse into Chicago's ever-evolving urban landscape.

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Where to stay

Nobu Hotel Chicago

Nobu Hotel Chicago - Where luxury meets culinary excellence in the heart of the Windy City.

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The Hoxton Chicago

As much about the play as the stay, this Fulton Market favorite has a hotspot restaurant, bar and rooftop pool, plus supremely comfortable bedrooms.

The Emily Hotel

Immerse yourself in Windy City sophistication at this boutique gem, where modern elegance meets urban charm, offering a stylish retreat in the heart of Chicago.

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Brunch

Parlor: Parlor Chicago's brunch offers a diverse menu featuring creative twists on classic dishes, inviting guests to savor delicious flavors in a stylish and vibrant atmosphere (and they have really yummy Prickly Pear Margaritas!)

Beatrix: Beatrix Chicago's brunch is a culinary delight, featuring a menu that seamlessly blends health-conscious options with indulgent treats, all served in a trendy and inviting atmosphere.

Lou Mitchell’s: Lou Mitchell's is a Chicago staple that has been delighting locals and visitors alike since 1923, offering a classic American breakfast experience with hearty portions, complimentary orange slices, and Milk Duds for a sweet finish, creating a warm and nostalgic atmosphere.

Coffee & Pastries

Sawada Coffee: Sawada Coffee is a popular coffee shop known for its innovative and high-quality coffee creations. With a stylish and modern ambiance, Sawada Coffee offers a unique menu featuring signature drinks like the Military Latte, a blend of matcha, espresso and vanilla, providing a distinctive and flavorful coffee experience.

Good Ambler : A quaint coffee shop with fresh pastries baked in house, Good Ambler is a great study/WFH spot!

Lunch

JP Graziano’s: JP Graziano Grocery Co. is a renowned Italian grocery store and deli. Established in 1937, JP Graziano's has become a beloved institution known for its high-quality Italian and imported goods, as well as its delicious sandwiches (I love the Caprese sandwich!)

Time Out Market: a popular food and cultural market found in various cities across the world, Time Out is a unique concept that brings together some of Chicago's top chefs, restaurants, and cultural experiences under one roof.

Au Cheval: Au Cheval is renowned for its indulgent yet meticulously crafted burgers, featuring a perfect blend of high-quality ingredients, creating a culinary experience that consistently earns it a spot among the city's best. (Arguably the best burger in Chicago!)

Happy Hour

Trivoli Tavern: With one of the most iconic happy hours in Chicago, this ambient restaurant offers delicious drinks and appetizers at an affordable price.

Boqueria: Boqueria is a lively Spanish tapas bar and restaurant with locations in various cities. Known for its vibrant and social atmosphere, Boqueria Chicago offers an authentic Spanish dining experience with a menu featuring a wide array of tapas, paellas, and other Spanish-inspired dishes (Their red sangria is soooooo yummy!)

La Josie: La Josie is a Mexican restaurant known for its contemporary take on traditional Mexican cuisine. La Josie has been praised for its stylish and vibrant ambiance, creative cocktails, and a menu featuring a variety of dishes inspired by the rich flavors of Mexico. (I am a huge fan of their mezcal margaritas!)

Dinner

Aba: Aba is a Mediterranean restaurant known for its chic and contemporary ambiance. Aba's menu typically includes a variety of mezze, small plates, and grilled dishes, showcasing flavors from regions such as Turkey, Lebanon and Greece. The rooftop setting provides a trendy and inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy both the food and the city views. (Aba is my favorite restaurant in the city! The muhammara is to die for!!!)

Lyra: Lyra is a, upscale modern Greek restaurant with delicious food, but the most notable item (in my book) is their bougatsa: a cinnamon sugar-coated phyllo dough dessert that turns into a spectacle when brought to the table.

Bar Siena: Bar Siena is recognized for its modern and vibrant atmosphere, featuring a stylish interior and an inviting outdoor patio. The restaurant offers a menu that includes a variety of Italian-inspired dishes, including pizzas, pasta and small plates. (Best espresso martinis in the city, but be careful because I was up all night after having three! LOL)

Girl & the Goat: Girl & the Goat is a restaurant known for its inventive and bold menu created by chef Stephanie Izard, who gained fame as the first female winner of Bravo's "Top Chef." They place emphasis on a farm to table approach and reservations are definitely recommended!

Black Barrel: With delicious food and a great drink selection, this bar is a great place to stop on your way to a Blackhawks or Bulls game as it is only a few blocks away from the United Center!

Dessert

Levain: Levain Bakery is known for its delicious oversized cookies, and it originally started in New York City. (I love their Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip cookie!)

Jeni’s: Jeni's Ice Cream has been praised for its unique flavors, made with high-quality ingredients and a commitment to sustainability. The menu typically features a rotating selection of flavors, including both classic options and innovative, seasonal creations.

Bombobar: Bombobar is a popular dessert spot known for its delightful and creative doughnuts. Bombobar is part of the Bar Siena restaurant and Bombobar serves as its walk-up window specializing in sweet treats.

Drinks

Lazy Bird: Lazy Bird is a cocktail bar located within the Hoxton hotel. Lazy Bird is known for its sophisticated and stylish ambiance, offering a curated selection of craft cocktails in a comfortable and intimate setting, often with live music.

Selva: located on the rooftop of The Emily Hotel, Selva offers great cocktails and views.

Nightlife

Blind Barber Blind Barber is a speakeasy-style bar experience, as it is hidden behind a barbershop. Known for craft cocktails, this hip-hop bar is a must visit. (The DJ can be hit or miss some days, but when the DJ is good, the bar is a lot of fun!)

EscoBar: A Latin bar known for its lively atmosphere, dancing, and lots of Bad Bunny music!

Goodnight John Boy: starting in Cleveland, this modern disco club is a must visit! Goodnight John Boy has a great mix of classic oldies mixed with the newer hits, making it a place that everyone can enjoy! (No seriously, I went with a group of people aged 22-60 and everyone had a really good time!)

Lone Wolf: Lone Wolf is a bar and restaurant known for its laid-back atmosphere and diverse menu, which often features a mix of comfort food and creative dishes. The establishment may have a focus on craft beers, cocktails, and a variety of pub-style offerings.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Erin Bradley’s guide, 3-Day Itinerary for a Couples Trip to Chicago for a Bulls Game.

Caitlyn Cronin in a brown jacket

Travel Advisor

Caitlyn Cronin

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