While planning my recent trip to Chicago, I started compiling all the great restaurants and food I had to eat in Chicago. And we all know that involves A LOT of food from Chicago style hot dogs to deep dish pizza, celebrity chef restaurants, like the Little Goat Diner and more. It quickly became obvious that I would not be able to eat everything on my foodie list unless a. I wanted to bust my budget and b. bust my belt. ? With a burst of inspiration I realized the solution to my problem: a food tour!
Enter: Sidewalk Food Tours
Sidewalk Food Tours operates in several cities throughout the U.S. (Chicago, LA, San Francisco, NY and more) and abroad (Paris!)
I was able to find a Groupon for this tour which made it a total win. And when I had to reschedule my trip due to work, the company allowed us to reschedule the tour no questions asked. (Thank God!) So before we even started the tour I was already really happy with my experience with the company.
The tour starts out with what I consider the highlight of the entire trip: PIZZA! Specifically, we tried Lou Malnati’s deep dish. I really prefer the food tour experience here because we were able to just eat one slice which is all I needed.
The next stop was this small donut shop that has been rated as one of the best donuts in America multiple times. It’s called Doughnut Vault and they serve only a limited number of donuts everyday. They are old-fashioned style with a great crunch and the menu changes regularly. If you’re a donut person (who isn’t?) then you’ll love this sweet bite of the tour. And if you wish to return, the Doughnut Vault is known to sell out early even if the store states that it’s open until 6 pm.
After the donuts, you’ll do a bit of walking and the guide will point out some of the great architecture and history of the city.
After a few blocks you’ll arrive at Xoco, a restaurant by Chef Rick Bayless, a world-renowned Mexican cuisine chef. The flatbread we enjoyed was topped with lots of roasted veggies and cheese. My boyfriend ate every bite, but I had to pick off some of the toppings. It was a lot for this hot summer day. But, you certainly get your money’s worth with all the big portions.
From Xoco you take a pretty long walk with several stops to learn more about specific buildings and their role in Chicago’s history including some crazy crime stories. Make sure you’re dressing for the weather and wearing comfortable shoes because this part of the tour is a pretty long trek. You’ll end up at Cafe Iberico for authentic Spanish tapas. This time you’ll stop inside and grab a seat at the bar or several tables. Everyone was able to rest their feet and enjoy a drink. You could even enjoy the popular sangria.
Your final stop is a short walk from Cafe Iberico and it’s for dessert at Fabcakes. Fabcakes is a European-style bistro serving coffee and tea with lots of pastry and cookie selections. You can take your cookie here to go or sit and relax. This is also the time you can sign up for the Sidewalk Food Tours email list and take the opportunity to tip your guide. The tour also ends here just a few blocks away from where it started. The guide will be able to direct you back to wherever you need to go. We were able to easily use Google Maps to walk the few blocks back to our AirBnb.
FYI, as stated above, I purchased this tour myself and it is not a sponsored post. Though I wouldn’t mind because I’m happy to recommend Sidewalk Food Tours! ? If you’re looking for a discount, visit their site and sign up for their email list and be sure to check Groupon too.
Have you tried a food tour before? Did you enjoy it? Are there any other cities where you’d recommend a food tour as a must? Let me know below.
Casey is the founder of Casey La Vie & has been running this travel and lifestyle blog since 2016. She’s on a mission to balance her career as a social media manager with exploring her home of New York City and seeing more of the world.