Chicago lays claim to a large number of regional specialties, all of which reflect the city's ethnic and working class roots. Included among these are its nationally renowned deep-dish pizza, This style is said to have originated at Pizzeria Uno. The Chicago-style thin crust is popular in the city as well. The number of authentic Chicago pizzerias specializing in the thin crust version is much higher, with many being "Mom and Pop" style shops.
The Chicago-style hot dog, typically a Vienna Beef dog loaded with an array of fixings that often includes neon green picklerelish, yellow mustard, pickled sport peppers, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear and topped off with celery salt all on a S. Rosen's poppy seed bun. Ketchup on a Chicago hot dog is frowned upon by enthusiasts of the Chicago-style dog, but may prefer to add giardiniera.
There are several distinctly Chicago sandwiches, among them the Italian beef sandwich, which is thinly sliced beef slowly simmered au jus and served on an Italian roll with sweet peppers or spicy giardiniera. A popular modification is the Combo – an Italian beef sandwich with the addition of an Italian sausage. Another is the Maxwell Street Polish, a grilled or deep-fried kielbasa – on a hot dog roll, topped with grilled onions, yellow mustard, and hot sport peppers.
Ethnically originated creations include chicken Vesuvio, which started as an Italian specialty in the 1930s, with roasted bone-in chicken cooked in oil and garlic next to garlicky oven-roasted potato wedges and a sprinkling of green peas. Another is the Puerto Rican-influenced jibarito, a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread. Yet another is the Greek saganaki, an appetizer of cheese served flambé at the table.
The Taste of Chicago in Grant Park runs from the final week of June through Fourth of July weekend. Hundreds of local restaurants take part.
A number of well-known chefs have restaurants in Chicago, including Charlie Trotter, Rick Tramonto, Grant Achatz, and Rick Bayless. In 2003, Robb Report named Chicago the country's "most exceptional dining destination."
The city is home to 23 Michelin starred restaurants, with Alinea and L2O receiving three stars.
Chicago features a wide selection of vegetarian cuisine, with 22 fully vegetarian restaurants and many vegetarian-friendly establishments within the city.
Due to its cosmopolitan history, Chicago has a rich blend of religious heritage as displayed by the architecture and institutions throughout the city. Christianity is predominant among the city's population represented by the various denominations including Catholic, Protestant, Oriental and Orthodox churches. The city also includes adherents of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism,Hinduism, Sikhism, the Bahá'í, and others. Because of this diversity, Chicago has a wealth of sacred architecture.
Through the city's size and notoriety, it has gained recognition as a religious center. The city played host to the first two Parliament of the World's Religions in 1893 and 1993. Chicago contains many theological institutions, which include seminaries and colleges such as the Moody Bible Institute and DePaul University. Chicago is the seat of numerous religious leaders from a host of bishops of a wide array of Christian denominations as well as other religions. In the northern suburb of Wilmette, Illinois, is the Bahá'í Temple, the only temple for the Bahá'í Faith in North America.
Pope John Paul II visited Chicago in 1979 as part of his first trip to the United States after being elected to the Papacy in 1978.