This burger spot may be a throwback in terms of decor, but it has some fancy touches. Here, you can down hand-cut seasoned fries, Chicago dogs and two types of freshly ground burgers. Hand-dipped milkshakes are amazing, too, especially in the summer, when fresh fruits are incorporated.
This mecca of gluten-free treats offers giant cookie pizzas with endless topping choices (think fruit, candy, nuts) as well as doughnuts, cookies and cakes. The fudgy Salted Caramel Nutella Brownies are a particular standout: They loop together seemingly every sweet vice, meaning you’ll never miss the wheat flour. In addition to its gluten-free selection, the bakery also offers some vegan items.
Although located in Chicago, Fish Bar's menu reads like a New England seaside fish shack. Despite the option of having oyster po' boys, lobster rolls or frog's legs, Sandwich King Jeff Mauro heads to his seafood staple: The Crabby Patty.
With a cafe in Elmwood Park and a takeout spot on Navy Pier, Massa is renowned for authentic paninis, pizza, fried dough and other Italian specialties. Jeff Mauro swung by for the Italian stuffed Panzerotti, and locals recommend concluding any date night here with authentic, otherworldly gelato.
When Jeff Mauro wanted to make the perfect schnitzel sandwich, he headed to Edelweiss for advice. The family-owned restaurant serves authentic German fare, like schnitzel, Bavarian pretzels, wienerschnitzel and spatzle, in addition to offering an assortment of 16 imported beers on tap.
This Chicago steakhouse has uncovered the secrets to making an incredible steak sandwich. When Sandwich King Jeff Mauro samples the shaved prime beef sandwich served here, he calls it “the most buttery bite” of any steak sandwich he’s ever eaten. For dessert, the chocolate pie is a must.
Simple yet elegant, Chicago's Luxbar is a prime spot for a romantic date night dinner. With a menu of upscale salads, entrees, burgers and specialty drinks, just about any taste can be pleased. Jeff Mauro went for the Surf and Turf Sliders, which shrink the classic combo into small sandwich form.
Russell's Barbecue in Elmwood Park has served barbecue to loyal Chicagoans since 1930. It has loads of history behind it. In fact, Jeff Mauro's love affair with barbecue pork began here years ago. Douse everything on your plate — from ribs to beef to fries — in Russell's barbecue sauce.
This Chicago institution features recipes dating back more than 50 years. The highlight for Sandwich King Jeff Mauro is the corned beef made with a custom blend of pickling spices. Every order (about 1,000 each day) at Manny's Coffee Shop is topped with a golden potato pancake.
For a sports grub experience with an upscale twist, Jeff heads to Bull & Bear. His menu pick is the griddle salami sandwich with pickled tomatoes and cheese-covered salami. With personal beer taps at the tables and delicious Buffalo wings to boot, this spot is a go-to destination for game day.
One of the few places in the city to get "restaurant quality" meats for home cooking, this butcher shop prepares custom cuts and deli products and hosts butchering classes for curious carnivores. Adventurous eaters can find everything from prime steaks to offal to whole pigs for their next barbecue.
The food at Mickey’s hasn’t changed a bit since opening day in 1972. Sandwich King Jeff Mauro loves the “very simple” cooking that characterizes Mickey’s dishes, especially the signature riblets. These bad boys come out tender and juicy, with an extra ladle of barbecue sauce for some added kick.
When Jeff Mauro looks for inspiration for turning dessert into a sandwich, he looks to the masters at Sugar Fixe Patisserie in Oak Park, Ill. These pastries put a spin on classic favorites; be sure to try the almond croissant sandwich filled with almond cream and topped with toasted almonds.
Established in 1946, Gene and Jude's helped shape the famous Chicago-style hot dog (perfect for any game day), which comes with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, celery salt, pickles and pickled sport peppers on a poppy-seed bun. These fan favorites are a must for any lover of good ole Americana.
Growing up in Chicago, Jeff Mauro would always stop by Danny's Deli for the fried meatball sandwich. This spot features all kinds of Italian favorites, including classics like rigatoni in vodka sauce and stuffed artichoke, as well as lesser-known dishes like pork neck bones.