Baseball season is upon us. For Chicagoans, that means a new Illinois sportsbook coming to Wrigley Field along with upgraded concessions and baseball betting and consulting the MLB odds. Chicago Cubs fans have plenty to be excited about.
Have you already snagged tickets to a Cubs game this summer? Ready to scope out the scene around Wrigley? Here are five of my favorite spots to eat near Wrigley Field.
Cheesie’s Pub & Grub
Address: 958 W Belmont Ave, 10-minute walk to Wrigley Field
Cheesie’s has made a gooey, melty name for itself in Chicago, becoming one of the city’s premiere destinations for specialty grilled cheese sandwiches. Some will tell you The Mac is the best sandwich you can get at Cheesie’s. Those people are wrong. The Mac is an excellent option, and I’ve eaten it on numerous occasions. The real star of the Cheesie’s show is the Tenderizer, a symphony of chicken tenders, bacon, cheese, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce smushed between two pieces of Texas Toast. Really, though, it’s hard to go wrong with any Cheesie’s sandwich.
You’ve probably figured this out, but I recommend Cheesie’s for a post-game meal, best served after a few beers. It’s also nestled in the heart of Lakeview, far enough from Wrigley so the bars will be full and hoppin’ but not insanely crowded.
Old Crow Smokehouse
Address: 3506 N Clark St, 3-minute walk to Wrigley Field
Old Crow is the place to go if you want to be in the thick of things before or after a game. Take this as either a word of encouragement (if you like the chaos) or caution (if you’re a 31-year-old who can’t do the Wrigley party scene, like me). On any given day, Old Crow serves amazing barbecue eats in a big open-air space. Country bands play live on Friday and Saturday evenings and live band karaoke happens every Thursday.
As for the food? Chef’s kiss. I usually spring for the brisket or the burnt ends, but you can’t go wrong with any item on the Old Crow menu. When you’re this close to Wrigley, the buzz of a looming Cubs game is infectious. Enjoy the food and the atmosphere in the home neighborhood of Chicago’s north-side team.
Corridor Brewery & Provisions
Address: 3446 N Southport Ave, 11-minute walk to Wrigley Field
Corridor is one of the calmer options on this list. In the heart of the Southport Corridor (hey, that’s in the restaurant’s name!), the restaurant is known for its original brews and great eats. Upscale bar food is the name of the game at Corridor Brewery & Provisions. I’m partial to the Patty Melt and the Pesto Both Worlds pizza.
Only an 11-minute walk from Wrigley, Corridor is just outside the range of the massive crowds you’d find at restaurants closer to the field. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to park in Lakeview and avoid the more expensive lots surrounding Wrigley.
Address: 3458 N Clark St, 4-minute walk to Wrigley Field
Want pizza before or after the game? Go to Happy Camper. The restaurant has nearly two dozen specialty pizzas plus a build-your-own option. My favorite is the Tony, topped with prosciutto, spinach, carmelized onion, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic, goat cheese, and cream cheese. I’ve tried about half of the options on the Happy Camper menu, and frankly, there isn’t s single dud in the bunch. The apps are worth a go, too. I’m partial to the Potato Skins, loaded with pulled pork, bacon, sour cream, and other toppings.
Address: 3715 N Southport Ave, 9-minute walk to Wrigley Field
Here’s another Southport Corridor staple. 5411 has a wide range of empanadas: chicken curry, mac & cheese, ratatouille, bacon-date-goat cheese, and many more. 5411 is a great quick stop if you aren’t looking for a full sit-down meal. You can order ahead for fast pickup. On your way home? They offer frozen empanadas you can bake on your own. 5411 also has amazing coffee.
If you’re an empanada fan, nearby Cafe Tola is another excellent option close to Wrigley.