Some call it the West Loop. Others prefer restaurant row.
But no matter what name you use to describe Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood, there’s one thing we can all agree on: that it’s home to some of the best restaurants in the entire City. Yes, from upscale dinners to casual hangs, this westside strip’s got a little of everything – and much like the rest of Chicago, we can’t seem to get enough.
New to the neighborhood though it may be, Lettuce Entertain You led Aba is already a restaurant-scene heavy hitter. This Mediterranian restaurant in Fulton Market of Chicago is the second for Chef CJ Jacobson in the area, a followup to the equally delicious, though not Fulton Market-located, Ema. With a stunning rooftop and killer drinks to boot, we kind of can’t stop daydreaming about Aba.
In a city historically lacking in great BBQ (sorry guys, but it’s true) Green Street Smoked Meats is a true gem, and NOT just because it’s got such a cool vibe. This restaurant in Fulton Market of Chicago features all the trimmings of a country-born and finger-lickin-good backyard bbq. Green Street Smoked Meats is serving up incredible brisket, a to-die-for macaroni salad, and a little bit of rock and roll, just to get you in the mood.
Let me tell you about one of the best damn date spots in all of Chicago, Maude’s Liquor Bar. Perfect lighting, slightly-silly but well placed French accordion music, delicious small bites served late, and a cocktail menu that just won’t quit come together in a bar/eatery that’s got all the makings of your favorite new intimate hang.
Music School & Classes for Toddlers & Babies
Signing your toddlers or babies up for a music class at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago will enhance their creativity and love for rhythm
Speaking of intimate, no round-up of our Fulton Market/West Loop favorites would be complete without mention of The Press Room. A cozy little wine bar and restaurants on the edge of the Fulton Market, this weeknight destination for sips and small bites has managed to stay just slightly under the tourist radar for the past few years, and for that, we’re really, really thankful.
Oh, Stephanie Izard, how we love thee. And while, yes, to get the full Top Chef treatment you might want to give her more famous – and more expensive – Girl & the Goat a try, casual-offshoot Little Goat Diner is a definite go-to, in our eyes. Featuring a combo of classic diner fare and funky, chef-y options, Little Goat is the perfect mix of adventure and the familiar.
Fulton Market Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
View the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) below to become familiar with the history of Fulton Market. The area is filled with restaurants, shops, bars, and organizations. Learn more about the transformation in this area of Chicago.
Why is Fulton Market a Popular Area?
Fulton Market is a neighborhood on the West side of Chicago that is filled with offices, cafes, Irish pubs, breweries, restaurants, bars, music venues, and wine bars. In the early 1900’s, the area was filled with warehouses, industrial facilities, and manufacturing plants. However, developers and contractors started to transform the area into shops and restaurants in 1929. However, a large number of commercial and residential developments began in the early 2000s due to the Great Recession. Today, a majority of the facilities in Fulton Market have been transformed into apartments, condominiums, tap rooms, and restaurants. From Italian, BBQ, to American, there are a countless number of eating establishments to visit.
On an average Monday, you will observe residents walking or driving to work in the surrounding neighborhoods. The streets in the Fulton Market area are crowded during the lunch hour due to the large number of restaurants. If you’re looking for things to do on the weekends, the most popular breweries and diners in Fulton Market of Chicago are located on Randolph, Lake, or Halsted Streets. This district in Chicago is close to 74 acres and is accessible by train from the Pink and Green Lines on the CTA.
Before Halsted to Ogden on West Fulton Market Street was converted from decaying warehouses to art galleries and bars, the Fulton Market area was home to the meatpacking and distribution industries. During an early stage of development in the 1990’s, a portion of Randolph Street near the West Loop was converted into the area’s widest “Restaurant Row.’ In fact, Fulton Market is filled with the largest amount of Michelin award winning restaurants when compared to any other area in the city.
What is the Easiest Way to Travel To or From Fulton Market?
Due to the large amount of transportation options in Fulton market, a substantial portion of people that live in the area do not own cars. If you need to travel to the office, there are a variety of affordable cabs available. In addition, there are plenty of Uber and Lyft drivers available to help you travel to shops, breweries, bars, and restaurants.
The Blue Line at Grand Avenue is available to individuals that need to be transported to the O’Hare Airport. If you are looking for ways to travel to the suburbs, take a train from the Ogilvie Transportation Center to surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, the Green and Pink lines from the Chicago Transit Authority are available to residents that need to travel to the suburbs.
How Many People Live in Fulton Market?
There are close to 6,500 people that live in Fulton Market on the west side of Chicago. The median age of individuals in the neighborhood is 30. The area is filled with over 3,000 households with 2 or less people. With a total of 2,800 private companies and over 400 not-for-profit organizations, the Fulton Market neighborhood is growing rapidly each year with new restaurants, breweries, and corporations. The average household income in this neighborhood is close to $130,000.
What Types of Companies Are Located in Fulton Market?
The Fulton Market neighborhood in Chicago is filled with more than restaurants, shops, and bars. In fact, over 23% of square feet in the area is fulfilled by tech organizations. Due to the large number of tech and marketing organizations, the neighborhood is filled with young couples and families. The most popular organizations in Fulton Market include United Airlines, Google, and Boeing.
Not unlike Chef Grant Achatz other famed Chicago creations (Next, Alinea, The Aviary etc.) Roister is more of an experience than a traditional restaurant. With the dining area and kitchen combined into one, admittedly magical space, Roister feels a bit like a dinner and a show. Plus, the Half-Chicken Dinner is amazing, ngl.
Okay, okay – before everyone jumps down my throat here, I want to point out that yes, I do know that Saint Lou’s is just the slightest bit outside of Fulton Market. But to be quite honest, I don’t really care. A classic meat and three style restaurant with drool-worthy biscuits, a solid brunch menu, and an airy patio, there’s no way I’d leave this spot off any list.
It’s a coffee shop, it’s a restaurant, it’s the Insta famous eatery of your dreams: it’s Beatrix, and you already know that it’s awesome. Though this modernist-tinged Lettuce Entertain You spot has locations throughout the city, the Fulton Market version has got to be our favorite, featuring yummy bites, a great cocktail program, and a bakery that I may be guilty of visiting just, like, a little too often.
Okay yes, City Mouse is inside of the Ace Hotel. But no, that doesn’t make it any less of a great restaurant in Fulton Market. With a great, casual breakfast menu paired with a slightly-swanky cocktail and dinner lineup, City Mouse has a distinct “you could hang out here all day” kind of vibe. Plus, it’s dog-friendly!
As an avid NPR listener and self-described Snapchat addict, Jessica Hamrick is excited to showcase her love for all things media as an Editor at UrbanMatter. Her short-yet-illustrious academic career was dedicated to finding the intersections between writing and marketing and she’s definitely found it here. In her free time, Jessica can be found hanging out with her dog Indie, watching the Food Network or commiserating with fellow, unfortunate White Sox fans.