It’s noon and time for lunch. You’ve really got a craving for Antique Taco, but there’s definitely not enough time to go to Wicker Park and back on your meager lunch break. I guess you’ll have to settle for Taco Bell again…
If this is the sad existence you’ve led as a downtown office worker looking for a quick lunchtime bite, your prayers have been answered. The newly-opened Revival Food Hall is the food court of your dreams. Sure, Eataly is pretty cool, but Revival Food Hall is packed with local Chicago foodie favorites that you may already know and love or have always wanted to try. And it’s got everything! There’s pizza, tacos, barbecue, gelato, noodles, a coffee shop, bar, and even a record store.
What is Revival Food Hall Like?
Revival Food Hall is on the ground floor the National, a refurbished building originally built in 1907 by Daniel Burnham. An office building and former home of CPS, Revival Food Hall definitely has that entire legacy. Marble pillars meet classic-inspired globe lights suspended on metal and quirky modern art – yet you also get the feeling that a stuffy office moved out and all the hipsters moved in.
It’s very hip as it is, but what makes it even better is each booth isn’t stuck into a drab template. Every restaurant brings a bit of their own vibe to their space, and there is seating at each one, giving you a mini-restaurant experience. Plus, the whole place is huge. There’s 24,000 square feet of space available and every corner holds something new.
What Can’t I Miss Out On?
Honestly, everything here is great. 15 stalls are open right now with the promise of additional pop-ups and one-offs from local chefs. Here are just a few places we loved during our initial visit:
Antique Taco: Wicker Park’s Antique Taco is known for their very unique taco constructions. I tried a tempura-fried fish taco topped with smoked cabbage and a Sriracha tartar sauce that was out of this world.
Black Dog Gelato: I live right next door to the Damen location and have to restrain myself from going there all the time. Very likely the best gelato in the city, Black Dog’s gelato is hearty with bold and unique flavors that you might not think you’d like, but you’ll love. For this trip, I cleansed the palette a bit with their classic malted vanilla.
The Budlong: Soon to be all over the city, the Budlong serves Nashville fried hot chicken. It’s very deep fried, spiced with cayenne pepper (you’re getting some heat here), and served on top of white bread with pickles. While popular in the south, not many are doing this yet in Chicago, and Budlong is doing it right.
Curbside Books & Records: This isn’t food, yet super cool. Local indie book publisher Curbside Splendor has a pop up next to the bar that they’ve filled with local books and records from local record labels. For a place that’s all about celebrating our local food scene, it’s the perfect addition to inject local literature and music.
Graze: Graze has healthy bowls and morning egg sandwiches, yet I was drawn to their cheeseburger. It was super juicy and tender and gave me a warm, comforting vibe.
Union Squared: Union Pizza in Evanston serves ultra-thin Neapolitan pizza, but for their Revival Food Booth decided to go the other way. Beyond thin crust and before deep dish, Union Squared serves Detroit-style pizza. It’s thicker, crispy, buttery crust that’s covered in red sauce and your choice of toppings.
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