Celeb tv personality and chef Andrew Zimmern knows where to go for a good time: he made two trips to Chicago for his popular Bizarre Foods show, and this year he came back to Chicago once again to film an episode of his newest Travel Channel series Driven By Food. Take Zimmern's lead and plan a tour of Chicago in the footsteps of the man who knows a world-class city, a good time and awesome food when he sees it!
Located at the intersection of Union and James M. Rochford Streets near the campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago in the University Village neighborhood, Jim’s Original has been a part of the community since 1939. Their most-famous menu item is their celebrated Polish sausage, which is topped with a heaping pile of sport peppers, sweet grilled onions and mustard, of course. They’re open 24 hours, so you don’t need to worry about calling ahead.
1250 S. Union Street
The name might be a bit deceiving as Logan Hardware doesn’t actually have any wrenches, widgets or shower curtains, but never fear: it has a showcase of historic pinball machines. It's also a record store where visitors can go deep in the vinyl stacks for old favorites (John Coltrane, perhaps?) or some newer releases from a range of artists. It’s a great place to while away the afternoon before wandering the hip Logan Square neighborhood for some eats and libations.
2532 W. Fullerton Avenue
Located in the Old Town neighborhood, the Second City offers more than the evening improv shows that it's famous the world over for. Most visitors to Chicago will probably head upstairs to one of those shows, but Andrew found out that you can also sign up to take an improv class. Return from your trip with a story about being on the Second City stage, not simply one about sitting in the stands. The Drop-In Improv Class meets every Sunday at 7 p.m. and you can pre-register ($20/2-hour class) or just drop in.
The Second City
1616 N. Wells Street
The celebrated Rosa’s Lounge opened in 1984, and they have featured the blues almost every single night since then. Over the past three decades, the Logan Square club has seen many luminaries on its stage, including Melvin Taylor, Pinetop Perkins and Vance Kelly, the “Pride of the South Side.”
The music usually starts every night around 9 p.m. and keeps going until after midnight. The tickets are quite reasonable, and you usually won’t pay over $15 for admission. It’s a great way to round out a day of exploring Chicago—that's what Chef Zimmern did on his latest visit, so you’ll be following in fine footsteps.
3420 W. Armitage Avenue