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What "The Bear" Eats

Aug 04, 2023 Eat & Drink

A beef sandwhich

Many of The Bear Chicago filming locations are real restaurants visited by Chef Sydney, played by actress Ayo Edebiri, when she sets off on a food journey across the city in hopes of finding inspiration for their new restaurant.

Don’t worry, Mr. Beef, the inspiration for season one’s “The Original Beef,” is still around and slinging sandwiches. 

Chef Sydney’s journey covers fine dining, Chicago staples, hidden gems, dessert spots, new markets, and must-tries. We’re here to give you a guide to The Bear Chicago restaurants along with nearby spots and experiences so you don’t miss a thing.

Exterior of Mr beef building

First stop on Chef Sydney’s food tour is Kasama. This casual Filipino restaurant in Ukrainian Village treats you from sun up to sun down. They offer out-of-this-world pastries like the Huckleberry Basque cake and an array of tarts. But get there early, because they run out quickly. In addition to morning treats, Thursday through Sunday night, they dim the lights, bring out the candles, and offer a 13-course fine dining meal for $185. It’s Filipino BBQ at its best with bites you won’t find anywhere else.  

Close to Kasama is another stop Chef Sydney took on her journey—Lao Peng You, where she is served a delectable noodle, scallion, and sesame bread meal. Lao Peng You is a Chinese BYOB joint that is almost always buzzing with a crowd. But when you sit down and start digging into favorites like the beef noodle soup with spicy broth, everything else fades away. 

And while you’re in Ukrainian Village, check out Vertical Gallery, an open space for national/international artists influenced by pop culture, graphic design, illustration, and contemporary urban art. 

Two chefs in a kitchen

Next up on Chef Sydney’s journey is Avec. It serves modern takes on Mediterranean classics in a tapas style with some added Midwestern love. This restaurant is simple in its wood panel design, but bold and complex in the flavors they offer. From the atmosphere and food to the well-priced bottles of wine, this West Loop spot is a must.

Along with Avec, West Loop is host to so many great Chicago restaurants that weren’t featured on The Bear, although not for a lack of quality. Eat a smorgasbord of food at the Time Out Market, an unforgettable gourmet burger at Au Cheval, rooftop tapas at Aba, a Chicago famous sandwich from J.P Graziano, or try Girl & the Goat, created by Top Chef Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard. You really can’t go wrong, whatever you choose. 

What isn’t a choice for any Chicago newcomers, however, is trying deep-dish pizza. It’s Chicago’s love language and you can’t call your trip complete without it. And when you research deep-dish, you’ll often be presented with these iconic choices — Lou Malnati’sGino’s East, or Giordano’s

Those are great, but if you ask Cousin Richie, there is another fantastic option that makes an appearance on episode 7 of The Bear — Pequod’s. In the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, this deep-dish heaven is right up there with the other deep-dish heavyweights—after all, they’re known for their caramelized crust. Guess you’ll have to try them all to discover your favorite.

But if you simply want a “regular” slice like Chef Sydney, head to Logan Square’s Pizza Lobo’s side window to try its delicious Neapolitan pizza. Sydney grabs a classic pepperoni slice, but they have countless unique styles worth trying, like the “spicy meatball,” along with a great outdoor area to sit with friends, enjoy a cocktail, and dig into as much pizza as you can handle. 

Also in Logan Square is Chef Sydney’s dessert stop — Margie’s Candies. This eclectic sweet wonderland makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a time capsule. It has been serving homemade sundaes, which is what Chef Sydney digs into, classic shakes and hand-dipped candies for more than 90 years. 

A burger

After you satisfy your sweet tooth, consider sticking around and exploring more of the Logan Square neighborhood. If you’re into live music, take in some toe-tapping blues at Rosa’s Lounge or a craft cocktail at The Whistler. Or if comedy is more up your alley, head to The Lincoln Lodge for some gut-busting comedy showcases.

Venturing just outside of the city now, The Bear takes us North to Norwood Park for this next spot. And although it may not be in Chicago proper, it still delivers one of the best Chicago hot dogs around. We’re of course talking about the famous Superdawg.

An old-fashioned drive-in staple since 1948, you simply pull up and place your order into a speaker box and the staff will come out and hook a tray on your car window. And don’t forget to say hi to Maurie and Flaurie, the two 12-foot-tall Superdawg statues towering over the whole restaurant. 

Superdawg restaurant exterior

Chef Sydney then brings us to Chinatown, where she walks through the 88 Marketplace, Chicago’s largest Chinese supermarket. But it doesn’t just offer a wide variety of imported grocery products. On the second floor, there is an extensive food court that includes sushi, Hong Kong-style barbecue, Vietnamese pho, and Chinese baked goods. 

If you do give 88 Marketplace a try, it will also give you an opportunity to explore Chinatown. Take a walk or rent a canoe in the gorgeous Ping Tom Memorial Park, get a true craft cocktail at Nine Bar, or check out the array of museums dedicated to Asian and Chinese history like the Chinese American Museum of Chicago and the Heritage Museum of Asian Art.

Of course, we saved the most experimental for last. Fulton Market’s Ever, which holds two Michelin stars, is all about brand-new taste experiences.Episode 7 of The Bear, titled “Forks,” uses Ever as inspiration and the filming location for their fictional version of the best fine dining restaurant in the world. It’s where Cousin Richie works for a week and discovers the true power and exultation a phenomenal dining experience can have on its guests. Maybe the real restaurant will do the same for you? Only one way to find out.  

The beauty of Chicago is that this flavor quest brought to us by The Bear only scratches the surface of all the food experiences one can have in the city and surrounding areas. So, use The Bear Chicago restaurants as a starting point and don’t be afraid to explore and create your own journey. 

Happy eating!

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