As one of Chicago’s most visited tourist attractions, Navy Pier is a must-see for visitors and locals alike. The 3,300-foot-long pier offers a beautiful view of Lake Michigan and features plenty of activities. Even during quieter or colder periods of the year, people can spend hours exploring the pier’s shops and permanent art collections.
When it’s time to eat, you can grab a bite at one of the pier’s several convenient restaurants. These locations not only fuel your pier adventures but also give you a taste of Chicago’s unique cuisine. Check out this list of the best Navy Pier restaurants that have something for everyone.
America’s Dog & Burger
If you’re in the mood for some greasy deliciousness, check out America’s Dog & Burger. This restaurant originated after two brothers left Chicago in 1993 to go on a road trip across the company. After trying hotdogs and hamburgers in different states, they came back home and opened their restaurant on Navy Pier. Their adventures allowed them to create a menu that featured classic items from various cities.
The Dallas dog features chili, shredded cheddar cheese, and onion, while the Louisville and Baltimore dogs feature deep-fried sausage. Many visitors opt for the signature Chicago hotdog that introduces them to the city’s cuisine. Whatever you order, you can rest easy knowing that the restaurant only serves fresh certified Black Angus patties and local Vienna all-beef sausages. Even better is that America’s Dog & Burger management stems from three generations of family-owned restaurants in Chicago, allowing the establishment to boast a homey, welcoming atmosphere.
Big City Chicken
Another great option for grease-lovers is Big City Chicken. This fast-casual restaurant serves delicious golden-brown fried chicken that allows it to rival nationwide chains. Try the delicious sandwiches that are available in either the original crispy, crispy BBQ, or hot and spicy flavors.
If you prefer chicken tenders, get a four-piece or seven-piece meal with buttermilk ranch, honey mustard, buffalo sauce, or Big City Chicken’s homemade BBQ sauce. Whatever you order, you’ll get a delicious side of perfectly seasoned waffle fries. The fresh-squeezed frozen lemonade is the perfect way to cool off after a long day of exploring the Navy Pier. Adults can enjoy vodka lemonade or the restaurant’s beer selection.
Harry Caray’s Tavern
Barbecue enthusiasts have to try Harry Caray’s Tavern. Right near the main entrance of Navy Pier, this restaurant offers delicious burgers, pulled pork, and cajun chicken sandwiches. There’s even a tasty vegetarian burger that allows more people to enjoy classic barbecue cuisine. If you’re a fan of craft beer, take advantage of the restaurant’s vast selection.
You’ll also appreciate the world-class collection of sports memorabilia and many TVs that allow you to watch live sporting events. This emphasis on sports is no mystery, seeing as Harry Caray’s Tavern has partnerships with famous athletes like Ryne Sandberg and Patrick Kane. Even if you’re not a sports fan, you’ll appreciate the mouthwatering food and lively atmosphere. Perhaps the best part is that the dog-friendly patio means your furry friends can join in on the fun.
I Dream of Falafel
If you’re looking for international flavors, visit I Dream of Falafel for its fresh Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired menu. The raw and healthy ingredients are tasty and cater to those on organic, gluten-free, and vegan diets. While you can order chef-inspired dishes, many patrons choose to create their own plate. Choose a base like rice, couscous, or hummus and match it with proteins ranging from falafel to chicken kebab. Toppings like cucumber feta cheese and tzatziki sauce add even more flavor.
Offshore Rooftop & Bar
Located on the third floor of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, Offshore Rooftop & Bar is the largest rooftop venue in the country. You can soak in the beautiful panoramic view of Lake Michigan and the accompanying Chicago skyline. The fully retractable roof means that the venue can operate regardless of the weather and is open year-round.
Two private lawns, seven cozy fire pits, and an extensive entertainment and gaming area make it the perfect place to catch up with friends or entertain a date. The world-class kitchen serves everything from premium salmon to pizza, but the real attraction is the extensive drink menu. After 9 p.m., the bar is exclusively open to people ages 21 and up to create a more formal environment.
Billy Goat Tavern
You might be familiar with the Billy Goat Tavern because of references to it in an iconic Saturday Night Live 1978 sketch. You can take part in the cultural phenomenon that is the Cheezborger. A delicious kaiser bun encloses single, double, or triple 100% beef patties, cheese, and dill pickles. Legend has it that this menu item is free of lettuce and tomatoes because Billy Goat ate them.
If delicious burgers aren’t your thing, you can enjoy an all-day menu of breakfast plates, egg sandwiches, and hot sandwiches. Before you leave, consider visiting the gift shop to score some Billy Goat Tavern merchandise you can show off to your friends. After hearing about the delicious food and fun atmosphere, they’ll ask to accompany you next time.
Beat Kitchen is a casual counter-service spot that offers scrumptious food and drinks. There are classics like burgers, salads, and grilled cheese sandwiches that are sure to please anyone. Patrons also enjoy the extensive taco menu that features options like steak, fish, jerk pork, and chicken fajitas. What we particularly love about Beat Kitchen is that it doubles as a concert venue. Sit back and watch local entertainers as you enjoy your meal and take in the eclectic Chicago culture around you. Depending on when you go, you might be able to enjoy acts part of the Wicker Park Fest or Do Divison Street Fest.
We know you’re hungry after reading this list, so we’ll leave you with one last recommendation. If you’re in the mood for pizza and want to escape the hustle and bustle of Navy Pier, why not visit Pequod’s Pizza? Our locations on Clybourn Avenue in Chicago and Fernald Avenue in Morton Grove offer classic Chicago deep-dish pizza that will forever raise your standards of pizza.