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Chicago restaurants were in the spotlight in the newest season of The Bear.

Courtesy of FX

Discover the dozen Chicago restaurants with cameos in season three of ‘The Bear’

Try them now before everyone else finishes the show. This season trains its cameras on casual spots with deep roots, from Jim’s Original to Chinatown’s oldest bakery.

Food-loving binge watchers of the FX restaurant drama The Bear have again been rewarded by the show, which dropped all 10 episodes of its third season Wednesday night on Hulu.

Chicago restaurants were again in the spotlight. But unlike previous seasons that focused on a balance of exciting newcomers (Ukrainian Village’s Kasama) and scene-stalwarts (West Loop’s Avec), this season calls out a list of casual spots with deep roots in Chicago’s food history, from Italian bread staple D’Amato’s to the – yep – Vienna Beef factory. (Curtis Duffy’s fine-dining destination, the Michelin-starred Ever, still has a star turn in this season.)

The show previously had come under criticism for not highlighting enough South and West Side eateries – it doesn’t fully rectify that in this season, though cameras do venture to Maxwell Street and Chinatown this time.

In teasing this season’s episode drop earlier in the week, the cast gave shoutouts to all the places they ate in town, including Kasama; Chef Stephanie Izard’s Duck Duck Goat; West Loop’s Viaggio; and Birrieria Zaragoza from chef Jonathan Zaragoza.

Ayo Edebiri, who plays chef Sydney and gave a shout out at an awards ceremony this year to soul food restaurant Oooh Wee It Is, said the show cast and crew has formed tight bonds with a lot of people who work in Chicago restaurants — from consulting with chefs on what’s happening in the kitchen to those who allowed filming in their eateries.

Here’s a list of local spots that we tracked in a binge watch of season three. Did we miss something? Tell us at arts@wbez.org.

D’Amato’s Bakery and Subs

1124 W. Grand Ave.

A montage of Chicago restaurants at the start of episode 2 lands early on this West Town bakery and sub shop that has reach well beyond its simple Italian storefront. D’Amatos’ bread is used in sandwich shops and bakeries elsewhere in Chicago; but it’s still worth a stop for a classic Italian sub, a slice of Sicilian-style pan pizza or – Carmy’s favorite treat – cannoli.

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Lou Mitchell’s is a go-to breakfast destination for tourists and locals alike.

Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times

Lou Mitchell’s

565 W. Jackson Ave.

This iconic West Loop diner is powered by butter and coffee – and has been since the 1920s. In more recent years, it has been added to the National Register of Historic Places for its orientation along Route 66. Breakfast is still the go-to meal of the day here and enjoyed by tourists, regulars and power brokers alike.

Metric

2021 W. Fulton Ave.

One of Chicago’s well-regarded indie coffee roasters, Metric’s sprawling roastery and coffee cafe is more than a place for a cup — it’s a house of coffee adoration. The owners announced in 2022 plans to expand to an even bigger space in Avondale.

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Tortello’s is a real deal pastificio.

Brian Rich/Chicago Sun-Times

Tortello

1746 W. Division Ave.

Tortello’s is a real deal pastificio and a destination for home chefs as well as pasta-slurping diners who don’t want to lift a finger. Want a pound of freshly made bucatini and a pickup jar of chef-made pomodoro? Or simply want to sit and savor Sardinian gnocchetti? Also: Italian grandmas reportedly trained the staff in the art of pasta making and shaping.

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The Bear nodded to Chicago’s food history with a scene in the landmark Vienna Beef factory.

Susie An/WBEZ

Vienna Beef

2501 N. Damen

In a nod to Chicago’s food history, The Bear sent its season three cameras into a place with more than a century of hot dog cred: the landmark Vienna Beef factory at the elbow of Elston and Damen avenues. Never did sausage making look so glamorous.

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Jim’s Original is a long-running, 24-hour hot dog destination.

Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times

Jim’s Original

1250 S. Union St. and 2775 N. Elston

More sausages! This time cameras trained on Jim’s, a long-running 24-hour destination for Maxwell Street Polish that claims to be the longest continually running hot dog stand to do business on the famed retail street. (There’s a second, newer Elston Street location.) And while the Polish Sausage is the draw, particularly in the wee hours of the night after bars close, don’t leave without an extra order for lunch the next day. Make it the pork chop sandwich – bone-in, naturally.

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Buns from Chinatown’s oldest bakery — and the people who make them – get their moment in a fast-looping restaurant tour early in season three. The bakery is also visited far and wide for its dim sum and pastries.

Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times

Chiu Quon Bakery

2253 S. Wentworth and 1127 W. Argyle St.

Pork buns from Chinatown’s oldest bakery — and the people who make them — get their moment in a fast-looping restaurant tour early in season three. The two no-frills, cash-only locations churn out a huge variety of pastries like lotus bean mooncakes, mango mousse cakes, cream cones, custard buns and more every day, along with dim sum.

Martyrs’

3855 N. Lincoln Ave.

More rock hall than food emporium, Martyrs’ has been a staple of the city’s indie and folk music scene since the 1990s. The only thing on the menu is pizza — but the beer list is fairly lengthy and there’s music almost nightly.

Cafe Tola

3612 N. Southport, 3324 N. California Ave., and 2489 N. Milwaukee Ave.

You can’t miss this bright pink empanada emporium along the retail stretch of Southport or typically at a booth at some of the biggest music festivals. The Chicago chain just expanded to New York City.

Tamale Spaceship and Cantina Libre

Owning a restaurant is hard — and the upkeep and drama required to fuel a bricks-and-mortar spot is enough dramatic tension for, well, an army of TV shows. So it makes sense that The Bear would also nod to the city’s food truck food scene. Tamale Spaceship, which has a catering business, operates a North Side truck every other Wednesday; otherwise, follow on Instagram for pop-ups.

Long Grove Confectionery Co.

Multiple locations in city and suburbs

Another nod to Chicago’s history as a confectionary center, this nut- and candymaker gets a cameo in episode six of the third season in a flashback from Chef Tina (played by Liza Colón-Zayas). The signature sweet is the caramel- and chocolate-encased Pecan Myrtle.

Doma

946 N. Orleans St.

Later in season three, Sydney (played by Edebiri) meets a fellow chef inside Doma, an all-day cafe in the shadow of the former Cabrini-Green complex that is known for its egg sandwich.


Cassie Walker Burke is WBEZ’s Arts & Culture editor. Follow her @cassiechicago. Bianca Cseke is a newsletter reporter at WBEZ. Sandra Salib is a digital news intern at WBEZ. Courtney Kueppers contributed reporting.

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