Chicago Invented Foods Beyond Deep Dish Pizza

Tourists may flock to Chicago

to try the authentic Biscuit-Chicago-style deep-dish pizza that Pizzeria Uno owner Ike Sewell invented in 1943, but there are plenty of other Chicago-born products that have spread across the country or are still available today. only in the Windy City. Here are the famous and little known delicacies of Chicago.


As ubiquitous as pizza and hot dogs, the Italian beef sandwich has spread around the world. Italian immigrants created this delicacy in the 1920s or 1930s during the Great Depression. Al Ferreri and his family opened Al’s Beef in 1938, but it’s not clear if he was the inventor of the sandwich. It originated from a way to improve the taste of meat and keep it longer, so people roasted it, used sandwich bread to soak up the juice, and then added frog on top to add some warmth.

At Chicago’s Al’s Italian Beef, you can serve your sandwich wet, which means adding gravy. Nearly all 50 states have at least one Italian beef store, and Chicagoland has more than 300. Al recently opened a store in Dallas that proved so popular it had to close temporarily to restock. And if you ever want to make Italian beef at home, Portillo’s has a handy craft kit.


James Dewar, a baker at the Continental Baking Company in Schiller Park, a suburb of Chicago, invented the spongy yellow cake snack in 1930. He came across a billboard for Twinkle Toe Shoes and the name stuck. Dewar first made twinkies filled with banana cream but then switched to the traditional vanilla cream style. By 1980, Twinkies were selling at a rate of about 1 billion a year, but in 2012, Twinkies nearly disappeared from the face of the earth when Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy. Two private equity firms joined forces and bought Hostess and saved food (and deep-fried Twinkies) from extinction. Twinkies returned in July 2013, this time with only four factories in the US making them. Unfortunately, the Schiller Park factory closed last year, so it’s best to ration these treats just in case.


Chewing gum has been around for thousands of years, but the mass flavors we know today can be traced back to William Wrigley Jr. A native of Philadelphia, Wrigley moved to Chicago in the 1890s and founded Wm. Wrigley Jr. in 1891, but then he was a soap and baking powder salesman. He added a couple of free packets of gum with every baking powder sale, and it was so popular that he decided to focus on gum.

In 1893, he invented Wrigley’s Spearmint and Juicy Fruit chewing gums, added Doublemint in 1914, and in 1984 the company introduced Extra sugar-free chewing gum. Wrigley is also known for his advertising acumen when, in 1915, he sent out free sticks of chewing gum to everyone on the phone. book. Wrigley’s indelible sign can be seen throughout Chicago: the Wrigley building on Michigan Avenue is named after him, as well as Wrigley Field, where the Cubs reside.