There are so many fun activities at Brickworld that you can forget to do things that are really important—like eating. You can only go out to fast food joints that you’re familiar with so many times before it’s just boring. The concession stand in the main event hall is obviously close, but who wants to wait in that long line during public hours? There are lots of great places to eat in the area surrounding The Renaissance.

We have compiled a list of the best eateries we could find that will make your wallet happy and that are also within a reasonable driving distance. All of the places listed here offer meals that include a drink for $10 or under. There are some chain places listed, but we’ve tried to focus on the more lesser knows joints, and a few of the “chain” restaurants only have a few locations anyway.

One of the things you have to understand about Chicago style food is that it is more intense than regular food. For example, you might order a pizza and find that it’s twice as thick as what you’re used to. Another common windy city food is the hot dog. Most places around the U.S.A. that sell hot dogs offer them with ketchup & mustard, and if it’s “fancy” they might have chili/coney sauce or diced onions. Besides the base hot dog and bun, a typical hot dog in the Chicago area will have onion, pickle, peppers, tomato, relish and mustard. Something else to be aware of is that not every place offers free refills on drinks.

Beef Shack
Location: 830 North Roselle Road, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Drive time: 10 minutes
Beef Shack website

The menu doesn’t have a lot of variety, but that’s not a problem. Get the Cheezy Beef. Trust me.


Billy’s Hot Dogs & Beef Inc
Location: 52 West Illinois Avenue, Palatine, IL 60067
Drive time: under 15 minutes
Billy’s Hot Dogs & Beef website

Like many other places in the Chicago area, Billy’s has much more to offer than just the “Hot Dogs and Beef” in their name. Whether you get a wrap, pasta, salad or a gyro, the food is excellent. It’s no wonder their reviews are outstanding. Closed on Sundays


Buona Beef
Location: 1420 Golf Road, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
Drive time: 10 minutes
Buona Beef website

The menu at Buona Beef centers around their signature Italian Beef, a staple of Chicago cuisine. This location offers ample seating and TVs to watch while dining. They also have a small selection of beer and wine.


Burger Baron II
Location: 132 East Golf Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Drive time: under 15 minutes
Burger Baron website

The Golf Road restaurant makes the second location for this “chain.” Burger Baron has one of the biggest menus of any place we have listed here. Besides the obvious burgers and typical Chicago style food, they have several Greek items. To top it off, they offer ice cream and milkshakes too. There’s plenty of seating at this location.  Closed on Sundays


Hot Dog Express
Location: 1045 North Roselle Road, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Drive time: 10 minutes
Hot Dog Express Google page

If you have a craving for some no-frills genuine Chicago style food, this is the place. If you think that every single menu item should be presented with fries and a drink, this is also the place. Hot Dog Express is one of those hole-in-the-wall joints, so sometimes seating is limited, but if the weather is nice, they have picnic tables outside.


Jason’s Deli
Location: 1530 McConnor Parkway, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Drive time: under 5 minutes
Jason’s Deli website

The menu at Jason’s Deli offers many healthy choices, but that’s not the best part. The best part is that they have FREE ICE CREAM! Yes, you read that right—FREE soft serve ice cream. They have to balance out all that healthy food somehow, right?


Johnnie’s Beef
Location: 1935 S Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Drive time: under 15 minutes
Johnnie’s Beef Google page

Many locals consider the Italian beef at Johnnie’s Beef to be the perfected form of the sandwich. The service is incredibly fast.


Location #1: 1900 Golf Rd Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
Location #2: 611 East Golf Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Drive time (either): 10 minutes
Portillo’s website

Portillo’s has been a Chicago favorite for years. We’re lucky enough to have two close to the Renaissance. They have a wide variety in their menu, including sandwiches, salads, pasta, ribs, soup and cake. Be aware that it’s going to be busy no matter when you go there. During peak hours, they even have cops directing traffic out front.


Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Location #1: 880 North Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Location #2: 1402 Golf Road Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
Drive time #1: 5 minutes       Drive time #2: 10 minutes
Potbelly Sandwich Shop website

Imagine if you went to a Subway, only the food was better, and the décor was much nicer—that’s Potbelly’s Sandwich shop… only it doesn’t cost any more than Subway. They have shakes and smoothies too. Depending on the day and time, there can sometimes be a local musician playing an instrument.



Do you know of a restaurant close to the Renaissance that you think we should add to this list? Let David Gregory know about it!



You can also visit the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel website for a visitors guide.

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Brickworld Lafayette 2015
November 21-22, 2015
at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds

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