The Bear’s food economy: How the FX TV series impacted Chicago’s restaurant industry | Web Series

The Bear’s food economy: How the FX TV series impacted Chicago’s restaurant industry | Web Series

Numerous narratives over time have accorded cities more space in their fictional plots than merely settling down as the story’s backdrop. Hit FX series The Bear is one example, allowing real-life Chicago to take centre stage as one of its pivotal characters, especially as the US city’s dynamic restaurant industry comes alive on the viewers’ small screens.

Chicago is heavily featured in the hit FX series The Bear and plays an indispensable role in shaping the narrative, especially around the city's restaurant industry.
Chicago is heavily featured in the hit FX series The Bear and plays an indispensable role in shaping the narrative, especially around the city’s restaurant industry.

Possibly the most investing love affair on the show is the one that entangles it with Chicago. Show creator Christopher Storer’s knack for flavoursome storytelling further positions a personally affecting light on the vision you can’t help but fall in love with.

Now that the latest and third instalment of the series is finally available to stream on Hulu and Disney Plus Hotstar, fans are flocking to the platforms to dive into the new chapter of the infectiously intense culinary world that goes beyond mere visual aesthetics.

Chicago’s colours will be easily identifiable to those familiar with its lifestyle and cultural routines. The show’s characters are often sent out on their own identity-search pilgrimages to different parts of the city, almost seeming like they’ve been transported to an otherworldly location altogether. However, they’re still very much stationed in Chicago.

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The Bear: a Love Letter to Chicago and its food scene

Ever Restaurant in the city’s West Loop is especially celebrated for its exceptional cuisine and service. The inner sanctum and the location’s vibe are immaculately captured in the “Forks” episode of Season 2 (Episode 7) when Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) sends Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) to the upscale fine dining restaurant, kick-starting a whole new character development arc for him in the entirety of a single episode, which ultimately also earned its title as one of the most loved episodes.

ABC7’s report, detailed by Val Warner, confirmed that the restaurant’s co-owner and chef Curtis Duffy played an indispensable role as a key advisor for the episode.

“We were featured. The food, of course, was Ever’s, the plating,” Duff said. He also affirmed that he and his team made it all possible and even The Bear team pulled off the episode by emulating them.

“The amount of detail that we put in everything every single day from the moment we get here to the moment we leave is… very much true to what that storyline is,” he added. “It’s really about the details because all those details add up to the big picture of things that what we do at the restaurant every day.”

Despite the over-the-top onscreen representation, Duffy agreed the show “hit the mark.” “Okay, maybe it doesn’t represent who we are every single day, with the intensity and the craziness that goes on behind the scenes, because not every kitchen operates like this, but they do hit the mark and it is across the board.” The Ever chef acknowledged that while kitchens with that high intensity do exist, his chooses to “operate completely differently.” He didn’t have any qualms with how the FX series portrayed the inner sanctum, rather he nodded along: “…in terms of how they get the entire picture of our industry, absolutely.”

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The Bear Season 2 Episode 7 also features Pequod’s Pizza, located at 2207 W. Clybourn Avenue. The eatery specialises in Chicago deep-dish pizza, which is recreated as a fine dining item at the Michelin-starred restaurant model.

Pequod’s general manager, Sean Asbra, said, “It was fine dining, Pequod. I mean, that’s great. That aired, people got to see it and… everybody wanted to try it… As more people started to travel for spring break and stuff, we noticed.. ‘Oh, I came here because of The Bear.’”

Duffy also proudly asserted that The Bear did “an incredible job of showcasing Chicago… You watch that and you live in the city, it makes you proud to be here.”

Even Chicago’s media outlet admitted that the traditionally behind-the-scenes spot where Richie spent a lot of time polishing forks, has turned into a popular attraction for diners.

Beyond the fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurants, The Bear also shines a light on more accessible joints like Chicago coffee stop Dark Matter. Just a shot of its coffee cup incited a frenzy among localites.

“Our loyal customers started tagging us (saying) ‘There’s a dark matter cup in there on the counter!” Dark Matter Coffee’s Mike Miczek told WGN9.

However, even before the show spotlights these places, The Bear finds its ultimate inspiration in the humble, grounded location of Chris Zucchero’s Italian sandwich shop, Mr Beef, in Chicago.

According to Variety, Christopher Storer and Zucchero are childhood friends, so he earned the inside scoop on the beloved establishment and shot about 90% of the series premiere in Mr Beef. The establishment owner, in turn, won a cameo in the pilot as a meat dealer in the parking lot.

Other restaurants from the Chicago dining scene that found a place in FX’s The Bear

According to Eater Chicago, here are some places (or their signature paraphernalia) that were spotted across the three seasons of the show.

Superdawg Drive-In

  • Address: 6363 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60646
  • Featured in: Season 1 Episode 7 and Season 2 Episode 5

Chiu Quon Bakery

  • Address: 2242 S Wentworth Ave (at 22nd Pl), Chicago, IL 60616
  • Featured in: Season 3 Episode 1

Loaf Lounge

  • Address: 2934 N Milwaukee Ave Suite E, Chicago, IL 60618
  • Featured in: Co-owner and baker Sarah Mispagel was yet another one of the key consultants for the series. She crafted the decadent chocolate cake that Marcus (Lionel Boyce) is seen preparing in Season 1.

Trogo Kitchen & Market

  • Address: 2545 West Diversey Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60647
  • Featured in: The Bear pilot

Margie’s Candies

  • Address: 1960 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Featured in: Season 2 Episode 3’s title “Sundae” honours a treat Sydney relishes at the ice cream parlour.

Roeser’s Bakery

  • Address: 3216 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Featured in: Season 1 – Marcus finds inspiration for his doughnut creations at Chicago’s oldest family-owned bakery.

Doma Cafe

  • Address: 946 N Orleans St (Oak), Chicago, IL 60610
  • Featured in: Season 3 Episode 7 – Shapiro and Syd meet here.


  • Address: 1001 N Winchester Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
  • Featured in: Season 2 Episode 3 – Sydney’s first stop on her Chicago food tour.

Schneider Deli

  • Address: 600 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Featured in: Season 3 Episode 1 montage

After Lounge

  • Address: 1338 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Featured in: Season 2 Episode 4 – Marcus learns from Luca (Will Poulter) here. The bar again pops up in Season 3 Episode 1.

Lou Mitchell’s

  • Address: 565 W Jackson Blvd (btwn S Jefferson St & S Clinton St), Chicago, IL 60661
  • Featured in: Season 3 Episode 1

Ceres Cafe

  • Address: 141 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604
  • Featured in: Season 1 Episode 6 “Ceres” honours this bar.



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