Made in Chicago

Stories Behind 30 Great Hometown Bites

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 21 Mar 2023 | Archive Date Not set

Talking about this book? Use #MadeinChicago #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Go beyond deep-dish with a portable guide to neighborhood favorites

Italian beef and hot dogs get the headlines. Cutting-edge cuisine and big-name chefs get the Michelin stars. But Chicago food shows its true depth in classic dishes conceived in the kitchens of immigrant innovators, neighborhood entrepreneurs, and mom-and-pop visionaries.

Monica Eng and David Hammond draw on decades of exploring the city’s food landscape to serve up thirty can’t-miss eats found in all corners of Chicago. From Mild Sauce to the Jibarito and from Taffy Grapes to Steak and Lemonade, Eng and Hammond present stories of the people and places behind each dish while illuminating how these local favorites reflect the multifaceted history of the city and the people who live there. Each entry provides all the information you need to track down whatever sounds good and selected recipes even let you prepare your own Flaming Saganaki or Akutagawa.

Generously illustrated with full-color photos, Made in Chicago provides locals and visitors alike with loving profiles of a great food city’s defining dishes.

Monica Eng is a reporter for Axios Chicago and cohost of the podcast Chewing. She has worked as a food, culture, and investigative reporter at WBEZ Chicago Public Radio and at the Chicago Tribune, where she was nominated for five James Beard Awards for writing. David Hammond is Dining and Drinking Editor for Newcity/Chicago magazine. He regularly writes on food- and drink-related topics for Wednesday Journal and the Chicago Tribune. He is a founding member/moderator of, a site celebrating Chicago’s mom-and-pop restaurants.

Go beyond deep-dish with a portable guide to neighborhood favorites

Italian beef and hot dogs get the headlines. Cutting-edge cuisine and big-name chefs get the Michelin stars. But Chicago food shows...

Advance Praise

“Eng and Hammond are two of Chicago’s most respected (and voracious) food reporters, so it’s no surprise to see how they’ve covered the city’s iconic foods like a layer of mozzarella on a deep-dish pie. This is the most thorough, gumshoe, deep-dive reporting into the origins of not only the well-known dishes (Italian beef, pizza, and hot dogs) but also the lesser-known gems in specific neighborhoods, like the Big Baby and the Gym Shoe. I clearly need to get out more, because how have I lived in Chicago for thirty years and never had Taffy Grapes?! This is a must-read for any local who wants to understand what it means to ‘eat like a Chicagoan,’ but it’s also a fascinating history lesson about how waves of immigration have shaped our local diet over the years.”--Steve Dolinsky, 13-time winner of the James Beard Award and food reporter for NBC 5 Chicago

“Made in Chicago proves that Chicago is one of the world’s greatest vernacular food cities. Created mainly by ethnic food vendors--from pushcarts to diners and small food companies--these dishes show the city in all its quotidian culinary glory.”--Bruce Kraig, author of A Rich and Fertile Land: A History of Food in America

“Few are better qualified to write about Chicago food (and one notorious drink) than Monica Eng and David Hammond. They are journalists who have reported on deliciousness for decades, and shared the heartfelt human stories behind the scenes. Made in Chicago digs even deeper. It’s an essential guide with details that will surprise even the most dedicated experts on local culture and cuisine.”--Louisa Chu, Chicago Tribune food critic and cohost of Chewing

“Eng and Hammond are two of Chicago’s most respected (and voracious) food reporters, so it’s no surprise to see how they’ve covered the city’s iconic foods like a layer of mozzarella on a deep-dish...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780252087059
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

Oh, if I only had this book a week ago while we were visiting Chicago for a week! At least I have it for the next trip….I don’t really consider myself an ex-Chicagoan (my daughter still lives there in Malört-loving Andersonville and is a brewer at one of the city’s premier craft breweries; she was also part of the internet movement to have Apple add the hot dog emoji— with mustard only — to their collection), but since we went west 25 years ago, every trip back is a food pilgrimage. And, yes, Lou Malnati’s deep dish and Portillo’s or Vienna Beef hot dogs and Italian beef are usual staples. Eng’s and Hammond’s book goes further — into the unique neighborhoods that make Chicago a true smorgasbord. I had lived in Lincoln Square near New Greektown (flaming saganaki and gyros) and German cuisine. Growing up, you just don’t realize what's truly local until you can’t find it anymore (pepper and egg sandwiches around Lent? Make your own).

I really loved learning the origins of foods that were selected for the book and I had no idea that Shrimp deJonge and Chicken Vesuvio had Chicago origins (and, like Italian beef, are unknown past the Rockies). I guess I also assumed that gyros didn’t start in Chicago (since we have places like Mad Greek around). I’m keeping the recipes for Akutagawa and Taffy Grapes on hand for the next get-together with Chicago relatives.

The book is beautifully illustrated and organized. The photography is just scrumptious. The red headlines under the separate sections break up otherwise long stories into digestible ones. And the checkerboard border on the page edges remind you of the paper food tray liners you get with fast food.

But you missed pierogis! Time to explore the Polish neighborhoods of the North Side.

Also, there’s an excellent reason to write a sequel about local desserts (we had a Chicago mix ice cream bar at Pretty Cool Ice Cream and bought blueberry pierogis from Alexandra’s Factory Outlet). Eli’s cheesecake!

All in all, a great book, a quick read (but hold onto it as a reference during food-hopping), a great gift for Chicago foodies, and a reason to start ordering stuff from Taste of Chicago to quell my hunger pains. 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to University of Illinois Books and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review

Was this review helpful?

Sometimes cookbooks come out that are simply fun – they don’t have basic recipes, or aren’t there to teach special cooking skills. But these books are often ones that are good for gifts, or in the case of Made in Chicago: Stories Behind 30 Great Hometown Bites a book of iconic foods from a location that may mean something to us. For those who dare go to Chicago (with the horrific political and crime climate), this book is delightful. There are many of us have spent a fair amount of time in Chicago, and have sampled the luscious dishes in the book.

Anyone who is planning a trip to Chicago will want to pick up this book and make sure they seek out the places where they can taste these different dishes that aren’t really found in other cities.

After each recipe, there is a recipe for making the dishes at home. This is helpful and the recipes are easy-to-follow and can be easily made by both beginning and seasoned cooks. There are also excellent photographs of every recipe. Even those who have never been to Chicago and tasted these dishes will be intrigued and will want to make them at home.

All told, this is not a serious cookbook, but it is a fun one to include in any cookbook collection. Cooks will have a enjoyable time getting acquainted with Chicago food and making it at home.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Opa!!! This is a wonderful book that gave me a taste of home!

The book was co-authored by two serious Chicago foodies. Monica Eng is a reporter for Axios Chicago, cohost of the Chewing podcast and worked at the Chicago Tribune where she was nominated for five James Beard Awards for writing. David Hammond is Dining and Drinking Editor for Newcity/Chicago magazine and regularly writes foodie stuff for the Chicago Tribune.

The authors take a look at the beginning and the history of some of the Windy City’s favorites, which are not haute cuisine. These are the foods loved by locals that define the Chicagoland foodscape. Yes, Italian beef and Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs are found in other regions, but you can’t export the ambiance of a Chicago beef or hot dog stand. And is the rest of the U.S. ready for Tom Tom Tamales, bone-in pork chop sandwiches or pizza puffs?

For me, this was a nostalgic look at some foods of my past, which I really miss! Anyone who has relocated from the area will enjoy this book. If you are traveling to Chicago, bring it along so you can experience some of the places outside the usual tourist-recommended eateries.

As for recreating them at home, it's never quite as good as the original. Pepper and egg sandwich is easily, but I guess it needs a flattop grill. You can find Vienna beef hot dogs here, but the bread isn't the same. As for tamales, I realize it is profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted here in Phoenix for a tamale, but there is something about a Chicago-style tamale boat with sauce on it that just takes me back!

Was this review helpful?

Having been to Chicago many times I was thrilled to enjoy this book with quite a few places that I have visited in the past. Its a nicely laid out book with just enough information and detail to figure out where you want experience the fantastic food described,
I highly recommend this for any foodie or anyone that wants to discover the amazing culinary world of Chicago.

Was this review helpful?

As we head out to Chicago for an early Christmas visit, it was wonderful to see this book pop up as available to read and review...I have my eating pants all packed and ready,
Smartly presented, this book, even if you live in Chicago, will get you eating at places you may have only heard of. and dreamed of eating at. The recipes given are a bonus and don't look too difficult to make.
I will proudly put this in our travel section and recommend it to patrons, with extra notes after I return from our trip.

Was this review helpful?

I received a free copy of, Made in Chicago, by Monica Eng; David Hammond, from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. A book about Chicago food, what could be better. From burgers to breaded steak sandwiches chicken vesuvio, to Chicago mix popcorn and so much more. This book tells you the history behing the food, the best places to get the food, and a recipes to make it at home. MMMM so good.

Was this review helpful?

What a great look into Chicago history and restaurants. This provides a historical look at some of the most iconic recipes of the Chicago area as well as a way to bring those favorites home to introduce the foods of Chicago to your neighbors. This provides a great historical perspective and recipes. I would recommend this for those loving the city.

Thank you to Netgalley, publisher and author for the opportunity..

Was this review helpful?

*This book was received as an Advanced Reviewer's Copy from NetGalley.

When you think of Chicago food, a few things probably spring to mind; hot dogs, deep dish pizza, maybe a beef sandwich. And you'd be right of course, these are all iconic foods of the area. But apparently, there are so much more.

This book takes you through thirty of Chicago's homegrown dishes (or influenced from outside and made their own) and the history and possibly origins of all of them. Each of the thirty also has a recipe included, and a listing of places where you can get to as close to the original as possible to try if you're in visiting.

I learned about a lot of new things in this book (and want to try many of them). From the plethora of different types of beef sandwiches (it was a stockyard town, makes sense), to a syrupy-sweet lemonade, it's definitely not a book to follow for when you're on a diet. I liked learning some of the history behind the dishes as well; although sometimes it could get repetitive (indeed I think I saw one paragraph that was completely copy/pasted from another dish). But I think most people will use this as a reference rather than sitting down and reading cover to cover as I did.

I'm certainly prepared for any trip to Chicago now!

Review by M. Reynard 2022

Was this review helpful?

OMG!!! I am hungry now. Really interesting read about the food of Chicago. I will be going there soon and now I know a few places to eat. Great information. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on this review.

Was this review helpful?

What a fun book! As a chicago native I was surprised at all the history of these foods! I really enjoyed reading through the origin stories and truly appreciated the attached recipes. This is a fun local book that I can see popping up in local boutiques downtown!

Was this review helpful?

This one was so much fun! If you are from Chicago, like to travel, just like food, and if you like Chicago food then this is the book for you! Most of the eats are ones you’ll recognize but then there are a few that you won’t. Each of the thirty food items have a short history and then where you can get it, as well as a recipe to make it yourself and a full color image. It’s like a very digestible history book and a cookbook combined. Thanks NetGalley for the ARC!

Was this review helpful?

Awesome Combination

Made in Chicago is an awesome combination. It's a travel guide, history book and cookbook all rolled into one. Add some great photographs to that and you have a real winner! The collection includes many of Chicago's iconic foods that reflect the wonderful variety of cultures of the city.

Having lived most of my life just thirty minutes outside of Chicago, I spent many hours and days in the city. One of the things I've always enjoyed the most is trying the different foods that the city is known for. The authors have flawlessly taken those foods and provided their histories, recipes and some wonderful pictures which make this such a wonderful collection. Whether you're a foodie, a Chicago traveler, or just plain curious, this book is definitely for you. You won't be disappointed.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. All comments and opinions are voluntary and strictly my own.

Was this review helpful?

A fun book of food and facts with great photographs.

Everything in this book is a Chicago made food. Each chapter includes the history of the dish, which was surprisingly detailed, plus a list of restaurants you can go to to try the dish, and some have the recipe for making the dish at home. Overall, a fun book to read.

My review is voluntary and all comments and opinions expressed are
my own.

Was this review helpful?

I have never been to Chicago and never eaten much of the food in this book. But what a fun book it is. I lived reading the stories and all the information. As I love food and love knowing where the recipescome from this was a perfect read for me.

But for me it was just that. A fun read but I won't use any of the recipes. Although I found many of them interesting they are not the type of food I would eat on a regular basis.

As I said it is fun to read and very interesting.

Was this review helpful?

Chicago is a food city. Once famous for its stockyards and still a major transit point for the products of America’s breadbasket, the city is home to a diverse people, a gathering of migrants and immigrants who brought a wide variety of foods from their homelands and put the necessary twists on them to make them salable to Chicagoans while using available ingredients. This book features entries on thirty foods and beverages that are products of Chicago ingenuity, be they dishes that were wholly invented in the Windy City or one’s that have a distinctive Chicago-style variant. Foodies know exactly what is meant by Chicago-style hot dogs, pizza, or tamales.

If all you know about Chicago cuisine is that ketchup on a hot dog is considered a sin, you’ll learn about some colorfully named Chicago inventions such as: “the Jim Shoe,” “the Big Baby,” and “the Mother-in-Law,” as well as many others that are more prosaically named, if equally calorically dense. One also sees the mark of Chicago’s immigrant story in the Akutagawa, Flaming Saganaki, Gam Pong Chicken Wings, the Maxwell Street Polish, and Chicago Corn Roll Tamales.

Each chapter discusses the nature of the respective dish, its influences, the [often contentious] origin of each item, where one can obtain said dish, and (for most) includes a recipe for making one’s own home variant. So, it’s mostly food history, but with a bit of cookbook, as well. There are pictures throughout, of the foods and in some cases of the location that invented or popularized each dish.

Be forewarned, while Chicago is a city that loves food, it’s not a place that’s wild about nutrition or moderate serving sizes. In fact, I feel certain that many people attempting to consume every item in this book in, say, one month’s time would drop dead of a coronary shortly thereafter (if not during.) Most of these dishes are foods done fast and served with an allowance of fat, sugar, and / or meat suitable for a family (for several days.)

If you’re a traveler (or a Chicagoan) and want to know more about quintessential windy city foods and where you can sample them, you must read this book.

Was this review helpful?

As a Chicagoan and an eatie, this book was right up my alley. I loved reading the history of Chicago foods. Yes, deep dish pizza is in the book (but all real Chicagoans hate the stuff and only eat it when they are entertaining out of towners) but so are REAL Chicago foods like the Jim Shoe, giardinara, jibaritos and more. YUM. I love that you get the history of each food as well as a recipe (for some) and 3 restaurants in Chicago where you can enjoy the food. Part history, part travelogue, and a whole lot of fun.

Was this review helpful?

Before picking up this title, the main thing that I knew about Chicago food was Deep Dish Pizza. Clearly there is so much more.

This book is about that pizza and twenty-nine other dishes. Some of these include Akutagawa, Chicken Corn Roll Tamale, the Chicago Hot Dog, Jibarito, Jim Shoe, Maxwell Street Polish, Mother-in-Law and many more. This book will be so enjoyed by those lucky enough to live in, or who can travel to Chicago, or foodies in general. The pictures and text will make readers hungry. Luckily there are mentions of restaurants where the foods are served. There are also recipes.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the University of Illinois Press for this title. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the authors for letting me read and review an advanced copy of this book.

One could say that every city has their signature foods, but being a former Chicagoan, I relished the opportunity to read this book. Many of the Chicago favorites that were listed brought back many fond memories of my youthful exploits in the city. Reading the background stories for these foods shows the varied ethnicities of the city and how different ethnic groups shared their food with the masses. The bonus of also having the recipes allows former Chicagoans (and anyone who wants to just enjoy good food) to eat some of their favorites wherever they are.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way this book featured these tasty bites, and many of the stories just made me want to grab a plate (or a plastic basket) and dig in. I liked the way it featured each food, the background story, where it could be found, and the recipe for attempting to recreate it on your own. The authors did a great job researching each dish, and it sounds like they had a great time taste-testing their favorites.

Was this review helpful?

An excellent choice for Chicago residents or even visitors to the Windy City, this book serves up 27 foods that are popular Chicago dishes. Not surprising since Chicago is a multi-cultural city, the foods are from a variety of cultural backgrounds. There’s a short history of each dish, where to find it, and there are even some recipes. My favorite chapter is Deep Dish Pizza, because I’ve gobbled up Lou Malnati’s pizzas many times. They are much tastier when served fresh from the oven , so hang out in the restaurants and dig in.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars, taking half a star because this book does not include beer nuggets!

As someone born and raised in the Chicagoland area, and a big fan of the food scene there (though I relocated to the Pacific Northwest a few years back), I jumped at getting a copy of this! I knew going in that I would be familiar with some of the stories already but, luckily, Monida Eng goes deep into Chicago's food history and pulls out some surprised for even this local. And as a displaced local, I LOVE that it comes with recipes... not that I don't know how to make some of them already :)

Written in an engaging, conversational manner, Made in Chicago was easily and quickly devoured (wink wink), and very much enjoyed. Even though I just spent a month in the city over the holidays, I am now finding myself feeling nostalgic and homesick for it again after reading this. I just want a gyro, a Portillo's hot dog or Italian beef, tavern style pizza, and some beer nuggets (which, sadly, aren't included in this book)!

I think anyone who is a fan of food, food history, the impact of immigrants in shaping America's food history, or the city of Chicago, will enjoy this book immensely!

- bone-in pork chop sandwich (a favorite of my mom)
- Chicago style popcorn (another favorite of my mom's and the dish I've made most, thanks to my high school years at a local movie theater that offering it in concessions)
- flaming saganaki (and really, all of the Greek food, which is my absolute favorite! I still miss Parthenon!)
- tavern style pizza, my all-time favorite pizza. For the best, visit Pizza Villa in DeKalb, IL and order some beer nuggets to go with :) My favorite toppings are mushrooms, pepperoni, and onions. So good!

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: