Deadspin journalist Drew Magary hit the nail on the head when he described the Windy City in a recent podcast: Chicago has all of the amenities of a cosmopolitan city like New York, but it’s way cheaper—especially when it comes to the grub.

“Chicago’s food scene is approachable,” says Time Out Chicago‘s dining editor Amy Cavanaugh. “The majority of great restaurants don’t ask a lot of the diner. We don’t like waits, and we don’t like spending a fortune on dinner.”

While it’s true that Grant Achatz’s mini restaurant empire has cemented the city’s reputation as a powerhouse dining center, it is the neighborhood joints like Harold’s Chicken Shack and the now-shuttered Hot Doug’s that run this Midwestern town.

“For the most part, going out to dinner is a pretty casual experience,” says Cavanaugh.

But are diners actually gung-ho about snapping photos of hot dogs and pizza? After all, pizza didn’t even crack the top 20 list for NYC despite its storied reputation.

“We love sausage and beer, so some stereotypes are true,” she says.

With all of these qualifications in mind, we wanted to know which dishes within the city’s limits were the most popular on Instagram—and whether the list would consist entirely of tourist destinations and kitschy steakhouses like Ditka’s (because if there’s anything Chicago loves more than food, it’s sports), or be dominated by trendy restaurants on the city’s North Side.

To get some answers, we again teamed up with MyFab5 to attempt a bit of semi-scientific analysis and uncover the 20 most-Instagrammed dishes in Chicago, just as we did to determine NYC’s and L.A.’s favorites. Here’s the breakdown:


  • We used data provided by MyFab5 to find out which restaurants had the most food-related Instagrams over the 365 days.
  • We found the restaurant’s geotag for its most well-known Chicago location, then looked at the photos to see which dish drives the most ‘grams (sample size: ~100). In most cases, the star of the show was pretty obvious.
  • We ranked each dish’s popularity based upon MyFab5’s ranking of the restaurant where it’s served.

Here’s what we found out about what food Chicago ‘grams the most.