What to expect
- Tour the vibrant and bustling West Side neighborhoods that are known as the "Heart of Chicago"and "The Mexico of the Midwest"
- Drive around with an experienced chef at the wheel
- Learn about the wealthy and working class Czechs and Eastern Europeans, as well as the Latinos, who shaped these areas
- Taste some of the more scrumptious delights the neighborhood has to offer!
About this Activity
The solution? Jalapeno cannolis. Just kidding! That sounds gross.
Instead try this cool tour that will take you through Pilsen, Chicago's oldest Italian neighborhood, AND Little Village, known as "The Mexico of the Midwest." You'll get your fill on both cuisines, and learn a little bit about the food, art, and culture of the area.
The best part? You'll be driven around by a chef who can teach you all about the history, process, and culture behind the delicious eats!
But if that doesn't sound good you could always go back to those jalapeno cannolis... But we don't suggest that.
Note: All food and beverages are included. Craft beer & wine is included for patrons over 21 years of age.
|Price||$145.00 per guest|
|Duration / Session||3.5 hours|
|Rating||12 positive reviews|
JR .Chicago South Side Food and History Tour February 16, 2017
My wife, son (age 12) and I had the privilege of taking Chef Greg's south side food tour. I cannot overstate the quality of our experience in every aspect. I have never taken the time to write an online review before, and am doing so for Chef-Driven Food Tours, as I cannot recommend it highly enough. Our family lives in a small town in rural Canada. We took five weeks in the autumn of 2016 to visit American cities we had always wanted to see. We took food tours in Chicago, Nashville and San Antonio. This is the one I've felt compelled to (finally) write about, as it had a lasting positive impact on each of us. Greg's extensive experience working as a chef in every conceivable setting from restaurant owner to high-end personal chef has made him extremely knowledgeable about every subject related to this type of tour: Chicago, its neighborhoods, the socio-economic and ethnic makeup of its neighborhoods, and, by extension, the cuisines of each neighborhood. As a chef, his knowledge of food preparation and flavor is first-rate. As a guide, Greg conveys his knowledge in a straight-forward, compelling and engaging manner that truly enhances the experience. He's charismatic and enthusiastic without being over-bearing. We were fortunate to try first-rate soul food, Belizean cuisine, Mexican, and Italian. The restaurant choices were suitably diverse, with impeccable quality and atmosphere. An overused buzzword from food television is particularly appropriate here: authenticity. These were not hipster joints. In the musical sense, the restaurants were not greatest hits, but deep cuts - perhaps the songs that should have been hits that just didn't get the radio play. But most significantly, this was far more than a food tour - it interwove urban history, civil rights, and issues of race that challenged our ideals in a provocative and lasting manner. This wasn't somebody imposing a political viewpoint: we drew our own conclusions from what we saw, openly wrestling with the incongruence of eating some of the best food we've ever had in some of the worst neighborhoods we've ever seen. This is important to note: Greg inspired complete confidence in leading us through areas of Chicago that we now hear compared to the worst war-torn areas of the Middle East. Although there are undoubtedly elements of accuracy to the danger many residents face in Chicago's south side, we never felt at risk; traveling with a 12-year-old, no less. To the contrary, we felt completely safe and extremely fortunate to have experienced the best these neighborhoods have to offer in terms of their food and culture. As a final note, Greg's personal encouragement of our son's interest in food throughout the evening was so kind, and above and beyond anything we expected or experienced on subsequent food tours. Approximately five months after having taken this tour, it still comes up in family conversation at the dinner table, and I expect it will continue to do so down the road. If you're in Chicago, take a chef-driven food tour. In close to 50 years, I've traveled, lived and eaten all over the world - this is simply one of the best things I've ever done.
Jeanne B.Pilsen Neighborhood Tour December 28, 2016
My husband and I visit Chicago frequently and were looking for something new to do. We decided to try one of the Chef Driven Food Tours. What a great decision. Our chef tour guide, Greg, was excellent. We were the only ones on the tour and although it would have been fun to share these experiences with new people, Greg did a wonderful job. Each food stop focused on a family run Chicago food gem, none of which we had been to before. Being driven allows you to see a number of stops in a fairly short time. Greg asked us if we had a favorite and we could not say because each was so delicious. It was fun to meet the owners in most cases. All were small store front eateries or street food windows. We were almost too full to eat at the last stop, but we managed! Greg also included a lot of history of the neighborhoods, including a stop at the National Museum of Mexican Art. He took us on a driving tour of the 16th St. murals, which we decided we will revisit and take a tour of that area in the future when it's warner weather. Highly recommend!!
Michael W.Chicago South Side Food and History Tour December 5, 2016
We love doing food tours and have done them all over the country, so I would say we have seen a variety of tours. We met chef Greg right on time, maybe even a little early, and he informed us that we were the second tour and that it was only the two of us. Initially I was a little apprehensive, as we enjoy meeting other people from around the country (and world). I was so mistaken. We basically got a personalized food, culture, and history tour from Greg and hit some awesome places to eat. Greg was very gracious, very intelligent, and just an overall pleasure to have as our guide. This was one of our favorite tours from across the country, and we have done several in Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, New Orleans, etc...
Em .Chicago South Side Food and History Tour November 16, 2016
What a fantastic time my honey and I had on our tour. Chef Greg was our very gracious, friendly, knowledgeable tour guide, and he made our enjoyment a priority. We really felt quite spoiled by him, as he made a last minute change in the itinerary when I expressed a desire to try some authentic Caribbean food, and whisked us off to the south side to a restaurant that was way off of the beaten path. He checked in with us frequently to make sure that we were enjoying the food and the experience, but also gave us some space at each location so that we could enjoy our food privately. All of the restaurants he took us to did not disappoint us, and they were everything he said they would be. We got to see so many interesting sights, murals, President Obama's neighborhood, old blues clubs etc...Everywhere we went he spoke to us of the very interesting history of the neighborhood we were in, talked about the changes it had been through and future expectations. I truly don't know what I enjoyed better, the food (which was absolutely incredible at each stop), or the art/culture/history that we got to see and learn about. On our tour we got to eat soul food, Caribbean food, Mexican food, Polish food, and Italian food! We were also introduced to the owner or chef at each stop, and they were all friendly and welcoming. Each location we stopped, he suggested favorites, but we were free to choose whatever we liked, and as much as we liked. Don't plan on eating the rest of the day after your tour, I promise you will be stuffed. Chef Greg, thank you so very much, we had an amazing time, and we will be back next time we are in town!
R B.Pilsen Neighborhood Tour October 30, 2016
We did the Pilson Villiage tour. Combines all our favorites...great food, congenial companions, art, educational, all creating a wonderful memory! Greg was an excellent Chef Guide.
Adri J.Pilsen Neighborhood Tour October 22, 2016
Chef Greg did a great job with this tour. The variety of food that was provided kept the tour exciting! The tour is pricey but it's worth the money, for the amount of food you get, the museum that you visit, and of course the experience. I would highly recommend this tour for anyone interested in the Pilsen area. I bought two gifts has a birthday gift and the birthday boy was very satisfied.
Wendy .Pilsen Neighborhood Tour October 14, 2016
This tour was spectacular ! Filled with food, art and so much history that I had never knew, even as a Chicago native! Chef Greg not only took us to some amazing places for food, he shared a wealth of knowledge of history on the neighborhoods! I have lived in Chicago all my life and I learned SOOOO much on this tour. And the food... THE FOOD!!! I may never be able to eat a taco again at a local taquiera! Pilsen is amazing.. so rich with history and culture and food! Thanks , chef greg for introducing me to an amazing part of my city!!
Kevin M.Chicago South Side Food and History Tour October 8, 2016
What a great concept! On our minimoon and we had chef Greg all to ourselves. The experience overall was really fun. Being our first time to the city, we would not have traveled out to the hidden spots by ourselves. PLENTY OF FOOD! If you decide to do this tour come hungry, ravenous, starving, ready to open up the food chamber in your left leg. Greg did a great job of explaining the city itself and showing us a few non-food highlights like the Rockefeller chapel, wall murals, and Obama's street.
I would totally recommend for a group, and for people who live in Chicago and want to check out some good "hometown" food you've never had before. It's a little pricy but totally unique and a great experience.
After hearing Greg describe the tavern tour to us, I'd like to give it a try next time we are here.
Meredith E.Pilsen Neighborhood Tour September 29, 2016
This was by far the best decision I made while visiting Chicago. So much amazing food and information. Thank you!!!
Greg H.Pilsen Neighborhood Tour September 25, 2016
Don't waste your money. Unorganized and not worth the price. On the good side we met a nice couple.
Coral H.Chicago South Side Food and History Tour July 22, 2016
I went on two foodie tours with Chef Greg. The first one was just me and my husband. We were promptly picked up at our hotel and swept off to the South Side where we experienced extremely unique ethnic food. Chef Greg suggested items but we were free to pick out something ourselves. Beverages including alcohol are included. Greg is very knowledgeable about Chicago and history and made the ride fun and educational.
The second foodie tour I arranged for 13 of my friends and myself because I liked the first one so much. My friends and I were attending a conference and this is just what we needed to reconnect.
This time we had a van and a SUV which allowed us to mix and mingle. South side was the destination with some old favorites and some new! In our group we had people with food sensitivities and Chef Greg was able to accommodate everyone. We had a cooler with a fine mix of beverages so we never were lacking. Each tour is approximately 3.5 - 4 hours and there is never a dull moment.
Well worth the price. I highly recommend this tour company. Easy to work with. Clear communication and they are happy to customize for your group.
Leon C.Pilsen Neighborhood Tour July 2, 2015
My family (my wife, 18 year old daughter, and I) first took the Pilsen tour. We liked it so much we had to experience the Southside as well. Although these tours center on food, they are actually much more than that. Chef Greg knows the neighborhoods intimately. He uses street art to illustrate the culture and the evolution of each area. Chef Greg amazed me with his deep knowledge of the demographics, architecture, history, and social structure of the communities. I could sense him patiently adapting the tour to the interests of the participants. He let us out of the van a couple times on each tour to make photos of some of the intricate street art. We visited sites of interest other than restaurants on both the Pilsen and Southside tours. Each place helped us gain a deeper appreciation of the local culture. Nevertheless, the food was the main attraction. Chef Greg took us to 4 or 5 different restaurants on each tour. You would not likely find these restaurants on your own. Locals eat at these places because they know the food tastes great. The restaurants on these tours don't boast a luxurious ambiance or a Michelin star. They just do one thing: they send out food that will blow out your taste buds with pleasure. I had the best sandwich ever at one stop. It was an Italian beef sub dipped in au jus. I could eat this sandwich every day. Chef Greg shows you how to order and eat like a local. My wife, a tiramisu connoisseur, raved about the authentic, melt in your mouth Italian dessert that marked our last food stop on the Pilsen tour. The culinary highlights of the Southside tour came from a soul food feast and a Caribbean/Central American food paradise. Both tours were wonderful. I hope to experience another one on my next visit to Chicago.
W D.Chicago South Side Food and History Tour June 22, 2015
Went on the South Side tour with Chef Greg. Did 4 food stops... Pearl's Place has amazing soul food and a great place to try if it your first time having it. The Belizian food at Garfunna Flava was excellent as well... nicely balanced flavors and just the right amount of heat. Went for Italian ice which was extremely refreshing, and the perfect accompaniment to the Italian Beef Sandwich! Chef Greg knows the South Side inside out, and not only were the food stops great, but the history, and the knowledge about the different neighborhoods were extremely interesting. This is something that you would not find anywhere else in the city. Definitely a highlight of my trip!