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Chicago Food Hall Favorites for Fast Casual Dining

With tested favorites, as well as some new and inventive concepts joining the fray, Chicago’s food hall scene has never been stronger. From Michelin-starred masters to bright-eyed rookies, house made sausages to decadent desserts, you can have your pick of any number of amazing choices at a food hall. But the true beauty of it? You don’t have to try just one.

Chicago French Market {131 North Clinton Street; 312.575.0306}

This Chicago food hall institution has been around since 2009 and has the largest variety of offerings (more than 30) available amongst its competitors, plus an amazingly convenient location directly inside Ogilvie Transportation Center just a block from the El. Forever adding new specialties, this year, French Market brought on Demera Ethiopian, Garifuna Flava, and Jian (Chicago’s only spot for “Jianbing,” China’s favorite street food). Also, current vendor—Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine—expanded this fall, adding Bar Pastoral, which will feature a robust wine, craft beer, and charcuterie program. With killer happy hour specials and events like the Rush Hour concert series, there’s always something new and exciting happening at Chicago French Market. Be sure to regularly check the website for ongoing events and specials.

Politan Row {111 North Aberdeen Street; 312.278.3040}

Chicago’s new favorite chef-driven food hall, Politan Row, features a curated selection of 13 unique local concepts, including an array of culinary taste-makers—serving as a destination for the culinarily curious while providing a platform for aspiring business owners to showcase their craft. Guests can explore and enjoy a variety of cuisines, from Indian street food by Margaret Pak at Thattu and Indonesian-Creole fare from Chris Reed at Bumbu Roux to Israeli delights by Yosi Alhadif at LaShuk Street Food. And when you’re fully fueled up, wash it all down with freshly roasted coffee from Passion House Coffee, craft cocktails from Bar Politan, or German-inspired beer and wine from the outdoor (and dog-friendly!) beer garden, Perle. Don’t leave without snagging a delicious pastry or bread from Floriole Cafe and Bakery.

Latinicity {108 North State Street, 3rd floor; 312.795.4444}

Latinicity is a beautiful, Latin-inspired, experiential dining marketplace that is home to eight innovative eateries, a Mexican restaurant, cafe, and event space—all representing the food, flavors, and wares from the many regions of Latin America. The 22,000-square-foot space stretches across an extended corridor inspired by the food and drink stalls of street vendors throughout Latin America, transporting guests to unique and authentic south-of-the-border eateries all while enjoying sweeping views of the Chicago Loop.

Foodlife {835 North Michigan Avenue; 312.335.3663}

There are endless choices of meals to customize, share, and devour when you’re choosing from the 14 distinct kitchens at Foodlife, Chicago’s original food hall. Each menu here features all made-from-scratch cooking, including favorites like barbecue ribs and chicken, fresh-squeezed juices, build-your-own salads, Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and modern sushi masterpieces. Located in the Water Tower Place, Foodlife is perfect for a quick stop in or, with a private event space accommodating up to 400 guests, it’s an ideal place to host your next party—with ample options for everyone. Try out Sacred Grounds, located in front, for signature Intelligentsia coffee drinks, La Colombe on draft, Kilogram Tea, and an unparalleled assortment of house made pastries and sweets.

Time Out Market {916 West Fulton Market}

In the heart of Chicago’s West Loop, Time Out Market brings a concept rooted in Time Out Magazine’s years of on-the-ground experience in food and culture. In addition to a range of signature food and drink offerings, visitors of the market will also get to enjoy activities like film nights, live performances, art installations, pop-up dinners, and more, within its massive 50,000-square-foot space. Expect an all-star lineup of chefs including Brian Fisher (Entente), Dana Cree (Pretty Cool Ice Cream), Thai Dang (HaiSous), and many more.

Aster Hall {900 North Michigan Avenue}

Visit the fifth floor of 900 North Michigan, and step into the upscale yet comfortable environment of Aster Hall’s 16 eclectic food concepts, known as “vaults.” From globally-influenced to New American fare, attentive staff invite you to experience effortless comfort. Simple, convenient ordering from one of the Aster Hall’s several self-order kiosks, the website, or even your mobile phone—from one or many of the 16 vaults in a single transaction—allows diners to relax and focus on the food and the experience.

Revival Food Hall {125 South Clark Street; 773.999.9411}

Revival Food Hall is an all-local dining concept spotlighting the best of Chicago’s acclaimed culinary scene under one roof. The 24,000-square-foot venue is located in the heart of the Loop on the ground floor of the historic Daniel Burnham-designed building, The National. Featuring 16 fast-casual stalls with some of Chicago’s favorite neighborhood restaurants—like Antique Taco Chiquito, Hot Chocolate, Brown Bag Seafood Co., and Furious Spoon—you’ll be hard-pressed to narrow your meal down to a single restaurant.

Check out Revival’s “Pizza City,” a rotating pizza pop-up series featuring some of Chicagoland’s best indie pizza talents, running through early 2020, and co-curated with 13-time James Beard Award-winning reporter and ABC-7 “Hungry Hound,” Steve Dolinsky.

Urbanspace {multiple locations}

A consistent favorite in London and New York City, Urbanspace, the original modern food hall, brings over 40 years of experience to two new locations in Chicago: 15 West Washington (opening late 2019) and Willis Tower (opening early 2020). Urbanspace is known for transforming otherwise unused city spaces, conserving heritage buildings, and using its brand to champion small, local restaurants in high-profile locations. Previous locations have hosted the “Urbanspace Challenge” for young chefs and amateur cooks, with the winner receiving a free space in the food hall to hone their skills. With over 20 vendors in each location, expect long-standing Chicago favorites, up-and-coming virtuosos, and a few NYC transplants.

One Eleven Food Hall {756 East 111th Street}

One Eleven—the South Side’s first food hall—was born by three expert entrepreneurs who harness the resources of a shared space while introducing the South Side food business to a larger audience within the historic Pullman neighborhood. Majani Soulful Vegan Cuisine brings its renowned “soul vegetarian” to a second location at One Eleven, while Tiffany Williams of Exquisite Catering—celebrated for catering to President Obama, Beyoncé, and Coldplay, among others—will be opening her very first restaurant. Enjoy the fresh, elegant baked goods of Rachel Bernier-Green at Laine’s Bake Shop, known for its offerings already available in Starbucks and Whole Foods.

Wells Street Market {205 West Wacker Drive, Suite 100; 312.614.4176}

As one of the bigger names in Chicago’s food hall scene, Wells Street Market brings the goods with 10 cherished restaurant concepts from acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs, such as James Beard Rising Star Jimmy Bannos Jr., as well as Michelin-starred chefs Takashi Yagahashi and Shin Thompson. Craving something sweet? Stop by Firecakes Donuts, where passionate bakers serve up the perfectly golden brown, small-batch, artisanal variety of our favorite puffed pastries by way of inventive creations and perennial classics. Also taste excellence in handmade sausages, craft sandwiches, and in-house charcuterie from Tempesta. Located right across from the Merchandise Mart, Wells Street Market is the perfect spot for large groups to enjoy a quick lunch, a great happy hour, or dinner in the Loop.

Forum 55 {55 East Monroe Street; 312.849.9512}

Forum 55 is an inspired morning, lunch, and midday food hall in the heart of the Loop offering convenient counter service dining with 10 unique restaurant concepts, including FOODWORKS and Apron Exchange—two incubator projects that collaborate with local minority-owned businesses to connect Loop-area diners with diverse culinary offerings from across the city.

By Andy Hume