By Elizabeth SanFilippo
Arenas and stadiums in the Windy City may offer all the usual suspects when it comes to concession food — like hot dogs and nachos — but they also offer some food with flair at their sporting and entertainment events. Levy Restaurants runs most of the concessions on this list, other than at Allstate and Soldier Field, but the food still manages to vary depending on which team you’re rooting for.
6920 Mannheim Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
Hot dogs and nachos may abound, but so do some sugary treats at the Allstate Arena, home to the Chicago Wolves. The flash-frozen ice cream, Dippin’ Dots, is at every corner. But if you want something else to indulge your sweet tooth, you’re in luck. In addition to cotton candy, the Allstate Arena also offers lemon shake-ups, which are similar to Italian ices. These are a great treat for those fans looking to get in the frozen action.
1410 S Museum Campus Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Home to the Chicago Bears, Soldier Field has all of the typical concessions like hot dogs, brats and even some Polish sausages and Italian beefs, but it also has a bit of legendary Chicago food, Robinson’s. Robinson’s juicy BBQ sandwiches are found at concession stand 122, while its famous ribs, complete with a substantial helping of barbecue sauce, are available in the Northwest Plaza. Other fun eats include a Philly cheesesteak and a Cuban-style sandwich.
1901 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60612
Whether you’re rooting for the Chicago Bulls or the Blackhawks, the United Center offers some eats that are sure to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. On the 100 level, grab a juicy BBQ pulled pork sandwich complete with a big dose of Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce. Up on the 300 level, try out the Madhouse burger. This hand-formed burger comes topped with cheddar cheese, grilled onions and brown mustard. Carved sandwiches, such as turkey and brisket, are also available at a few concession stands and are perfectly complemented by a margarita from the Jose Cuervo Cantina.
U.S. Cellular Field
333 W 35th St
Chicago, IL 60616
For the 2012 season, the home to the Chicago White Sox unveiled a plethora of good eats including a range of hot dogs with some delicious toppings. But that’s not what makes U.S. Cellular Field the winner for best stadium food in Chicago. Rather, it’s the inventive but still easy-to-eat stadium food, like a loaded baked potato. This stadium also offers a pork patty, called a “DaBurger Double Play,” with loads of toppings including BBQ sauce, bacon, cheddar and carmelized onions. But one burger option is not enough. There is also a “Juicy Lucky” which is literally stuffed with jalapeno and cream cheese or bacon and cheddar, your choice. Still not full yet? Enjoy some fantastic desserts like the “Bases Loaded Sundae,” which is a funnel cake in a souvenir helmet that comes with three scoops of ice cream as well as nuts, chocolate and your choice of toppings.
1060 W Addison St
Chicago, IL 60613
Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field offers a more limited menu than Cellular Field, but less is more in this regard. The menu is chock full of local vendors like Connie’s Pizza. The Ricketts family didn’t even bother to ask bids for hot dog vendors when its last hot dog contract expired. The family just went with Vienna Beef, and for good reason. The Chicago hot dog maker supplies the dogs and Levy Restaurants tops foot-long dogs with some delicious toppings beyond just Chicago style, including buffalo sauce and blue cheese coleslaw. At the concession stands, also get a hefty Meatball Mania for $12, a skewer of delicate but delicious pork or chicken.
Related: Best Nachos in Chicago
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.