Not that life is a popularity contest (follow us on Twitter btw), but when you hit up a sandwich shop like Jerry’s with 100+ options, or food emporiums like Eataly with a dozen food counters, sometimes it’s nice to just know what to order. We’ve found the most popular item at 20 great, local restaurants, to save you the trouble of asking your waitress, “So, what’s good here?”.
Photo: Sean Cooley
Jerry’s Sandwiches (click here for address and info)
Wicker Park, Andersonville
Most-Ordered Item: Fried Chicken Sandwich
Of the 100+ sandwiches gracing Jerry’s menu, the fried buttermilk-chicken is the top seller. It’s served with pickles, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and hot sauce on challah bread.
Photo: Galdones Photography
Little Goat ( click here for address and info)
Most-Ordered Item: Machos Nachos
Obviously, the most popular thing on superstar Chef Stephanie Izard’s dinner menu is… nachos. But not just any nachos; these guys are covered in tangy BBQ pork, beans, pickled peppers, cheddar, sour cream, and avocado.
Most-Ordered Item: Taco De Pescado
Surpassing the pastor and pollo, Big Star’s fish taco has battered tilapia fillet, cabbage, red onion, lime, and what Milwaukee Bucks forward Zaza Pachulia says whenever OJ is all, “Where should we get burritos, dude?” (chipotle mayo).
Photo: Fat Rice
Most-Ordered Item: Portuguese Chicken
Fat Rice moves more Portuguese chicken (AKA po kok gai: mussels, chorizo, olives, cabbage, mild coconut curry) than potstickers OR arroz gordo, which we mention because it was legitimately close. Like, within-a-few-orders-a-night close.
XOCO (click here for address and info)
Most-Ordered Item: Torta Ahogada
While Rick Bayless’ Mexican sandwich shop has enough rotating specials to make this maybe not a fair fight, they sell enough golden pork carnitas with black beans, pickled onions, tomato broth, and a spicy árbol chile sauce to make us pretty confident that this would be the ordering standard either way.
Hopleaf ( click here for address and info)
Most-Ordered Item: Mussels & Frites
Also the most-ordered menu item at Jean-Claude Van Damme’s fry shop, this Andersonville favorite is cooked in Wittekerke white ale (yes, the beer) and served alongside frites and aioli.
Photo: Rockit Ranch Productions
Most-Ordered Item: Crispy Brussels Sprout Salad
Maybe it’s the chilis, maybe it’s the fried shallots, maybe it’s nuoc Cham. Either way, there’s something about this salad that makes it a Chicago favorite. Oh, right, it’s the minced shrimp.
Photo: Coalfire Pizza
Coalfire Pizza ( click here for address and info)
Most-Ordered Item: ‘Nduja Pizza
Nightly neck-and-neck with the margherita pizza, the ‘Nduja nets you Calabrian pork sausage from Publican Quality Meats on top of the usual spread of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil.
Big & Little’s ( click here for address and info)
River North, Lakeview
Most-Ordered Item: Raw Ahi Tuna Taco/ Samurai Whitefish Taco
There’s a never-ending arms race between poke tacos with ahi tuna (ginger, chili paste), and whitefish tacos (beer-battered with jalapeños, lime, and two Asian sauces). Our suggestion? Get both.
Smoque BBQ ( click here for address and info)
Most-Ordered Item: Smoked Brisket
After 14hrs in the smoker, the moist and tender brisket with a two-layer spice rub and house BBQ sauce finds its way into… more customer’s stomachs than any other Smoque offering.
Photo: Owen & Engine
Most-Ordered Item: Slagel Farm Beef Burger
It’s like Chicago likes burgers, or something. This one in particular is a house-ground chuck/short rib/brisket burg topped with caramelized onions and cheddar.
Photo: Davanti Enoteca
Davanti Enoteca ( click here for address and info)
Most-Ordered Item: Focaccia di Recco
Focaccia di Recco translates to baked focaccia with fresh cow cheese and local honeycomb… which apparently a lot of people already know, because this guy won by a LANDSLIDE.
Most-Ordered Item: Grande Salumi & Formaggi Platter
On a given day, Eataly will sell more than 200 of these platters, which feature an assortment of their best cheese and cured meats. Two. Hundred.
Photo: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba ( click here for address and info)
Most-Ordered Item: Patatas Bravas
Sitting atop an endless tapas menu are these spicy potatoes, of which they sell 750 orders A WEEK. The house-fried potato wedges are tossed in a marinade of cayenne, paprika, pimenton, salt, pepper, and garlic, then served with sun-dried tomato aioli.
Photo: Lillie’s Q
Most-Ordered Item: Pulled Pork Sandwich
The pulled pork is touted (it’s the first thing listed under “Q”) for a reason. It’s packed onto a brioche bun with your choice of six sauces, including Carolina, Hot Smoky, and Ivory — an Alabama-style white sauce with mayo, vinegar, and pepper.
Photo: The Berghoff
Most-Ordered Item: Wiener Schnitzel
I mean, obviously, right? Their wiener schnitzel is a classic, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet with an asparagus and pepper salad and German fried potatoes.
Dusek’s ( click here for address and info)
Most-Ordered Item: Choucroute
Duck confit + House garlic sausage + Fresh bacon confit + Red potatoes + Sauerkraut + Caraway pickled apple = Hugely ordered item. All that + Having it available in latke-form for brunch? = Most-ordered item.
Photo: Edsel Little/Flickr
Most-Ordered Item: Roasted Bone Marrow
If Purple Pig were a high school, the bone marrow would be the football player, the fried pig ears would be the tennis captain, and the pickled cherry peppers would be the dude who smokes under the bleachers and wears a leather jacket.
Photo: West Town Bakery & Diner
Most-Ordered Item: West Coast Burger
AGAIN with the burger thing. Geez. Diners flock to this guy, which’s got two beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and special sauce on a Hawaiian bun with crispy Parmesan potatoes.
Photo: Kanela Breakfast Club
Kanela Breakfast Club ( click here for address and info)
Lakeview, Old Town
Most-Ordered Item: Chocolate Bacon Waffle
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