The Berghoff Restaurant
Where we've featured it
This German spot opened in 1898, back before labor laws existed. But other than your 18-hour work day now being illegal, not much at Berghoff has changed since then. You can expect dishes like wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, and a pretty fantastic reuben sandwich. The quickest strategy for lunch is to not sit down in the actual restaurant. Instead, head downstairs to the cafe and eat cafeteria-style, or (our personal favorite) follow the guys in suits to the express lunch sandwich stand in the main bar area.
What constitutes a classic? Being one of the oldest family-run restaurants in the country and in operation since 1898 probably makes the cut. When The Berghoff first opened, it was a men’s-only saloon that gave you a free corned beef sandwich when you bought a beer. Things have changed a bit, but the principals of hearty German food and good beer stand strong.
Chicago is an old city full of activities like architectural boat tours and visits to the places where mobsters used to hide out. And if you want to continue this historical theme, consider eating at The Berghoff. This German spot opened in 1898, and still has an old-school bar/tavern feel. You can expect dishes like wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, and a pretty fantastic reuben sandwich. Come here for a casual meal with someone who just spent the day listening to a tour guide talk like Al Capone. And hope they’re not inspired to practice their new gangster impression, or it’s going to be a long meal.
This German spot opened back when only men were allowed to perform Shakespeare. Ok, it’s not quite that old, but it did open in 1898 (making it Chicago’s oldest restaurant) and definitely has a classic bar/tavern feel. You can expect dishes like wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, and a pretty fantastic reuben sandwich. Come here for a casual meal before seeing something charmingly historic, like A Christmas Carol or Jurassic World Live.
This German spot opened in 1898 and has an old-school bar/tavern feel. Expect to find businesspeople, tourists, and a menu with plenty of gluten-free dishes - from sauerbraten and whitefish to flourless chocolate cake. Come for lunch, or if you’re in the Loop and looking for something casual before a show.