Unlike Chicago's hot dog stands and pizza parlors, our fried shrimp shacks are 1) less ubiquitous, but 2) MORE FRIED!!, which makes them just as worthy of a best-of roundup. Here's a look at the shacks that're doing this longtime city favorite justice.
If you like your fried shrimp Chicago-style and live on the Northwest side, then this is your place. Another mostly takeout spot, Fish N' Go uses thick batter, jumbo shrimp, and everything is fried to-order.
It's takeout-only at this quintessential Chicago-style shrimp shack that serves jumbo, heavily breaded shrimps with Heinies Hot Sauce on the side (the only Northside establishment I know of that has it).
Instead of the more common twice-battered shrimp that's been seasoned, these are on the smaller side and come with a really light breading. Locals line up for orders in the afternoon and through the night.
The menu is half-fried and half-smoked; both fish and seafood. The setting is next to the Chicago River, and its signature fried shrimp are a favorite of everyone from the Blues Brothers to Anthony Bourdain.
Quality is the key here, as they only use shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. It all comes supplied from Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and gets a lighter-than-norm breading, allowing the taste of the Gulf shrimp to shine.