Focusing on the foodgrams is easy in this city. Chicago has a huge foodie “influencer” community with names you’ll already be familiar with (looking at you, @ChicagoFoodAuthority, @AdamSoko, and @ChicagoFoodGirl). These famous foodies are the OGs of IG accounts dedicated to only one thing: making millennials drool. We trust these Insta-foodie feeds to tell us where to make a reservation, what to order off a menu, and where to find a perfect cup of coffee.
And they aren’t the only ones curating mouthwatering feeds that give you a front-row seat to Chicago’s hospitality scene. Like I said, Chicago’s foodie community is huge and growing by the day. Here are the top ten food-centric Instagram accounts based out of Chicago with less than 10K followers that you should’ve started following yesterday:
1. Liz of @CheekyEats
Lawyer by day and foodie by all other times in between, Liz is a “self-proclaimed lifelong over-orderer who can never say no to oysters, bacon, pizza, ice cream, or a good red wine.” Her adventures in food started when she created and wrote a restaurant review column for her college newspaper and she hasn’t stopped since. If you’re into food and witty captions, @CheekyEats is your girl.
2. Kristen of @kristen_mendiola
First digital camera in 2001. First DSLR in 2006. Fast forward a decade later and Kritsen Mendiola, a self-taught photographer, is killing it with her food photography. Just try to scroll through her feed without drooling, I dare you. Some of her top recommendations in Chicago include Gather, Cellar Door Provisions and Wasabi, all of which are worth checking out because this girl knows what she’s talking about.
3. Kevin of @ObrienFood
I couldn’t tell you why most Chicago food-grammers are women. But I could tell you that in a field primary dominated by women armed with mimosas and iPhones, @ObrienFood stands out, and not just because he’s a guy. He’s got direct, professional kitchen experience almost all other food-based accounts in Chicago are lacking. Whereas other Chicago-based food influencers simply appreciate the food, @ObrienFoods is behind the scenes in one of Chicago’s best restaurants (Sepia, where most of his photos are from) actually making it.
4. Alexa of @AlexaDawgs
She’s been in Chicago a little under a year, but it looks like Alexa’s already been to just about every major hot spot for food that Chicago has to offer. The New Jersey native says when she made the move she “found that the Instagram community was such a fun and easy way to meet people.” If you ever run into her, make sure to ask to see pictures of her two cats. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
5. Uyen of FromUyenWithLove
With just under 10,000 followers, Uyen almost didn’t make it on this list but once you start following her page, you’ll be so thankful she did. Her sweetness and charm oozes through her drool-worthy Instagram feed that she started after returning to Chicago from an internship in Abu Dhabi. Apparently she makes a mean sweet corn ice cream? Uyen? You there? We want proof.
6. Erin of @ErinsInsideJob
When your feed is full of cookie dough ice cream, Nutella doughnuts, and chocolate-covered everything, Erin provides a refreshing, healthy alternative that still looks delicious. As a personal trainer by trade, Erin started her Instagram page as a way to “show that it is possible to live a well rounded life by balancing health AND enjoying delicious food.” And guess what? She succeeded. If anyone’s going to convenience you to eat your vegetables and go for a jog, it’s Erin.
7. Kelly of @KAllisonPhotography
No one will make you more jealous of your inability to take a decent selfie than Kelly. Based on her food photography, I would trust Kelly to make me look like the next Miss Universe while rocking some serious bed head. On top of being a pro behind the camera, Kelly is also a co-founder of Forth Chicago, “a quarterly season salon in Chicago designed to connect creative entrepreneurial women and give them the time and space to talk.”
8. Mallory of @MalloryKorol
As 1/3rd of the @bestfoodchicago team, two things are obvious about Mallory: First, she clearly knows her way around Chicago’s food scene and second, she must have the world’s fastest metabolism. I honestly feel 15 pounds heavier just looking at her feed, a constant stream of treats that would satisfy any sweet tooth. With some of her favorite places being Sweet Mandy B’s and Annette’s Ice Cream, I am warning you now to proceed with caution because you will be inspired to have a cheat day.
9. Shelley of @ChicagoIsMyBoyfriend
You know that friend you go to for recommendations on where to grab a bite? Shelley is that friend. And if you don’t personally know Shelley, Shelley is still that friend. In fact, being that friend is what got her started on chronicling her adventures through Chicago. As a DePaul alum, of course, one of her go-to favorite spots is RJ Grunts in Lincoln Park (duh, why wouldn’t it be?) and Cafe Selmarie in Lincoln Square.
10. Your Spoon University Crew of @Spoon_DePaul
You can’t forget about the Spoon University team at DePaul. We are obsessed with what we do and have been our pouring our hearts into dedicating our page into all the best food Chicago has to offer — it’s worth the follow. Since day one we’ve been curating drool-worthy pictures to feed your inner fat-kid and we’re not stopping any time soon. Plus, our staff also has some amazing feeds dedicated to food too like @thehungrysloth_offical, @skzva, @jelenacolak and @seeyouatbrunch.