Despite its iconic Ferris wheel and Instagrammable city views, Navy Pier has acquired a bad reputation among Chicagoans as little more than an overhyped tourist trap with a serious lack of good eats. However, between a recent Navy Pier food renaissance and the continued growth of nearby neighborhoods, the area is slowly shifting from avoid-at-all-costs hellscape to culinary hotbed.

Sure, it still has a long way to go, but there are plenty of restaurants worth visiting right now, provided you know where to look -- and, luckily for you, we do.

Best donuts: Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken
233 E Erie St
From a Valrhona chocolate glazed cake donut for chocoholics and candied maple bacon French crullers for those that need a hint of savory with their sweet, to an assortment of gluten free donuts, there’s something for everyone type of donut fiend at this bustling Streeterville shop.

Best café: Beatrix

Whether you’re fueling up for work with Black Cat nitro coffee or lingering over a lazy weekend feast of Belgian waffles, shakshouka, and a side of brown sugared bacon, this neighborhood-y café has you covered.


Best fried chicken: Big City Chicken

When you’re in the neighborhood and desperate for a fried chicken fix, look no further than Lettuce Entertain You’s all-things-chicken concept. The quick-service eatery slings strips, sandwiches, and punishingly delicious green chili cheese fries stacked with pickled jalapeños, as well as an on-point root beer float prime for balancing out the heat.




(April 19, 2016)