Best Places to Eat in Chicago for ProMat 2017

By Alex Batty, MHI Marketing Communications Coordinator |@mhi_alex

If you’ll be in Chicago for ProMat 2017 (I’ll be there, and you wouldn’t want to disappoint me, now would you?), you’re going to need to meet some basic human necessities. Like food. Always food. And if you’re traveling, why not be a little… adventurous.

Confession: I’ve never been to Chicago, and therefore never tried any of these, but I trust ze Google and ze reviews, and all the pictures looked absolutely divine.

I’m writing this just before lunch, so sue me if I’m a little… drooly.

I’m going to order this in level of price, which, interestingly enough, is also the order of my level of comfort in said establishment. You can the girl out the small town, but you can’t take the small town out of the girl. If you are looking for refined cultural reviews from a refined palate and foodie… I’m sorry, I am just so not equipped for that. *shrugs*

Big Star Chicago

This awesome taco place is cheap and open late for when you partake of too many… adult beverages. Cheap. Open late. Tacos. Need I say more?

Source: Flickr T.Tseng


Good ol’ American fare – hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, etc. The shakes and malts are a huge bonus for me. This is also a great place to get your famous Chicago-style hot dog. And it’s cheap, so if you need a quick bite for a good price and you want to know what you’re getting into, but is a step up from fast food, this is your place.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken

Now in the South, where we’re from, we know how to do fried chicken. However, I have not tried honey butter on it, which is definitely going to the top of my to-do list. The menu keeps it simple – leads with fried chicken and sides, and then gives some variations on sandwiches, wings, and salads. They also have monthy/seasonal specials and flavors, so you have to go back and try the varieties.


If you’re looking for deep dish pizza, this is a good bet. There are classic locations to get Chicago deep dish, but here, they do a special thing where they caramelize the crust with cheese… and I want. Prices are pretty good for pizza and pasta and they’ve got a bunch of appetizers if you’re looking for something extra.

Source: Pequod’s Pizza

Ann Sather

As someone on a lifelong quest for the perfect cinnamon roll, when this popped up, I knew it was going on the list. It looks like it’s a lot of standard fare with some Swedish twists thrown in, but what brought it to my radar was the Two Cinnamon Roll special. And most of the food is available as carry-outs.

Pub Royale

This is a beer pub with some tasty looking Anglo-Indian. They have my favorites Butter Paneer and Chicken Tikka, so I’m looking to check it out. They also work with delivery sites like DoorDash, so you can order it straight to your hotel after a long day of exhibit attending.

Eleven City Diner

Since I’m a sucker for both an old-school diner feel and good pastrami, this definitely made my bucket list. With the food being a blend of American diner and Jewish delicatessen, there’s a little something for everyone. The food sounds amazing, and they offer a special Blonde root beer float, which is made with brown sugar instead of caramel, giving a slightly sweeter edge and pale color.

Seems like a standard sandwich, salad, or breakfast plate goes for on average $13, so not too bad. You’re also getting that ambiance, and that can be hard to put money on. (Can you tell I want to go?)

Source: Eleven City Diner


This is a highly rated Ethiopian restaurant. The messob communal dining style may be a turn-off for some, but the food is super tasty. I’ve had Ethiopian – not here – but I highly recommend trying it. You choose different combinations of portions and then dig in with injera. They serve alcohol selections and roast their own Ethiopian coffee beans.


Okay, so this is moving a bit up the fancy chain, but is more casual. Run by the same crew who does Alinea, the Michelin Three Star below, the dishes are classy enough to give you that upscale feel while still remaining accessible. Classy, yet comfortable. This would definitely be a good choice for a crowd with diverse dining level desires because they have foie gras, but also hushpuppies and lasagna (fancy hushpuppies and lasagne, but still). They have a “4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout” to a boss favorite Sauvignon Blanc. One of the cocktails is called the Purple Pisco Eater, which made me giggle an inordinate amount.

Gibson’s Steakhouse

This one is a little on the pricier side, but if you’re looking for a steak, apparently this is the place to do it. They do have entrees other than steaks and chops, but let’s be honest. If you’re headed to a place like this, you’re looking for a good steak. A bonus is you can make reservations online, which great if you’re phone photo

Au Cheval

This moves up into the pricer range for special dishes, but you can still get a double cheeseburger for 13.95 if you’re into that (I am. Burger is my go to order). They have matzah ball soup and “a passion for eggs” and proclaim that this is higher-class diner fare. The bar also has some classic cocktails and the restaurant itself is beautiful (dark wood and leather, my aesthetic. Just another nail in the “I’m an old man” coffin).

Source: Au Cheval Restaurant

Okay, so Chicago has two Three Michelin Star restaurants, which I mentioned in my earlier post about what to do in Chicago. I need to mention them, but probably will never go. Small town and all. I won’t even mention the prices, but the websites are really pretty. What? I studied document/web design in college. That’s what I look for. *folds arms defensively*

Alinea –

Grace –

I pulled a lot of these from the lists below, but ran out of time and space to discuss all the delicious looking things, so check out these lists. If all else fails, appeal to the beloved Google.

Thrillist List –

Trip Advisor List –

Eater Winter 2017 –

Man I’m hungry.

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