See (And Eat) Chicago Treasures: Our Guide to Open House Chicago

Frank Lloyd Wright's Emil Bach House in Rogers Park.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Emil Bach House in Rogers Park. Photo: Steve Silverman via Flickr

There are architectural treasures all over Chicago— but that doesn’t always mean their doors are open to visitors. This weekend, however, Open House Chicago grants you access to over 125 different architecturally significant sites around Chicago, from Loop skyscrapers to factories to historic churches. You just walk in any time between 9 and 5 on Saturday or Sunday, and there are even shuttle buses to take you between sites within each of the designated neighborhoods. But what does this have to do with food, you ask? Well, if you’re visiting the architectural highlights of a new neighborhood, shouldn’t you check out its culinary highlights, too? (In more than a few cases, the architectural gems are restaurants.) We picked four of the six designated neighborhoods with strong yet underappreciated food scenes to call out some interesting places to eat. Go here to plan your itinerary for Open House Chicago, and then check out some of our suggestions for what to eat in the vicinity below.


Tour the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Emil Bach house, see the Art Deco swimming pool inside the Tudor Park Castle apartment building overlooking Indian Boundary Park, go backstage at the lavishly restored 1912 Mayne Stage on Morse, and discover a dazzling monastic chapel hidden inside St. Scholastica Monastery. Then try:

Roman pizzas at Gruppo di Amici
Pakistani grilled meats at Khan B.B.Q., or Indian vegetarian food at Udupi Palace
Persian food at Masouleh
Belizean food at Tickie’s Belizean Cafe


See the first rehabilitated municipal building to get LEED Platinum status (the Chicago Center for Green Technology), an artists’ building inside a 1906 telephone switching station, the vast renaissance-style Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica and the dazzling new Henry Ford Academy located inside the former powerhouse for the original Sears Roebuck complex. Restaurants are kind of scarce nearby but head a little ways east or west and you’ll soon find:

A Depression era diner, Moon’s Sandwich Shop
One of the oldest soul food places in town, Macarthur’s
Sicilian sheet pizza at Italian Superior Bakery
A hot dog stand run by convicts that had trouble with an alderman, Felony Franks, and a fish and BBQ place owned by a convicted alderman, Wallace’s Catfish Corner


See the hardware store that was once the Sunset Cafe owned by Louis Armstrong himself, the historic mural inside the Wabash YMCA, the Tiffany dome and windows at Grant Memorial AME Church, and the lavish Swift Mansion. Then head for:

Soul food at Pearl’s Place or Miss Lee’s Good Food
Cajun and Creole at C’est si Bon
Barbecue at Uncle John’s


Go inside the 1917 Apollo’s 2000 (formerly Marshall Square) theater, the mansion of assassinated mayor Anton Cermak, a preserved historic courtroom in the Cook County Jail, and the workshop of a master stone carver in a former industrial building. Then check out:

A wide variety of traditional Mexican restaurants, including Nuevo Leon, La Casa de Samuel, or Las Islas Marias for seafood
One of the city’s oldest shrimp shacks, Troha’s

See (And Eat) Chicago Treasures: Our Guide to Open House Chicago