Chicago's oldest delicacies are chicken Vesuvio and shrimp DeJonghe. The great triumvirate of Chicago-style foods is Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef:
* Chicago-style pizza, deep-dish pizza with a thin crust covered by a thick layer of cheese, is world-renowned and popular locally. Chicago pizzerias also serve the less well-known stuffed pizza (a close relative of deep-dish) and a crispy style of thin crust.
* A Chicago hot dog is traditionally a steamed or boiled natural-casing wiener on a poppy-seed bun topped with yellow mustard, chopped onion, sliced tomato, neon-green sweet-pickle relish, sport peppers, a dill-pickle spear and a sprinkling of celery salt — but never ketchup. Many hot-dog stands also serve the Maxwell Street Polish'. Popular among older Chicagoans is the original version of the Chicago hot dog consisting of just yellow mustard and raw onions.
* An Italian beef is a sandwich featuring thinly sliced roast beef flavored with Italian-style seasonings and served on an Italian roll sopped in the meat juices, sometimes combined with a grilled Italian sausage, (aka A Combo) and topped with hot giardiniera, red sauce (marinara) or sauteed, green Italian sweet peppers.
* A pizza puff is a deep fried crust traditionally containing the ingredients of a regular pizza — cheese, sausage, and tomato sauce. Many hot dog stands in Chicago have the pizza puff on the menu. Pizza puffs with different fillings such as beef, four cheese, pepperoni, and ham and cheese are available at some Chicago area grocery stores.
Not unique to Chicago, but gyros are common, reportedly introduced to the U.S., along with flaming saganaki, by Chicago's Parthenon restaurant. Many locally owned fast-food restaurants serve hot dogs, Italian beef and gyros.
A specialty with its genesis in Chicago's Puerto Rican community is the jibarito, a sandwich served on fried plantains. Steakhouses also figure prominently in Chicago cuisine and culture, dating from the city's days as a meatpacking capital.
Less well known are the South Side specialties: the big baby, a double cheeseburger style; aquarium-smoked barbecue, particularly rib tips and hot links; the mother-in-law, a chili-topped tamale on a bun; and atomic cake, featuring banana, yellow and chocolate cake layers alternating with banana, strawberry and fudge fillings. Chicago also has its own unique style of tamale, machine-extruded from cornmeal and wrapped in paper, which is typically sold in hot-dog stands.