The North Shore of Chicago refers to the suburbs north of the city that border Lake Michigan. Although there is some debate over which towns are included in the region (I only count the ones that are actually on the lake), it's undeniable that the area is known for its beautiful houses and people. Any trip to Second City is incomplete without a visit.

As a North Shore native, I’ve created a day-long guided food tour of the region. To fully tour the area, start your morning at the Evanston-Rogers Park border and drive north along Sheridan road, stopping in each town along the way. If you fancy even more adventure, stop at a beach in every town.

By the end of the day, you'll practically be a North Shore resident yourself. These are the must-try eateries in each of your stops.

Evanston: Patisserie Coralie

Evanston is known for being the most metropolitan of Chicago's North Shore suburbs. It is both closest to the city and plays host to Northwestern University. This worldly quality also exists in the varieties of restaurants in the area.

Make your first stop at Patisserie Coralie. This French bakery has the best croissants north of Chicago. Try the chocolate, the almond, or both if you’re looking for something sweet. Go for the ham and cheese croissant if you want a savory breakfast. Don’t forget to order an espresso or cappuccino to fuel your day.

Wilmette: The Original Walker Brothers Pancake House

One of the North Shore’s biggest claims to fame is serving as home to several famous teen movies. If you’ve ever seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 16 Candles, Risky Business or Adventures in Babysitting, you’ve seen Chicago's North Shore. But the most famous of all North Shore movies is definitely Mean Girls. The movie even mentions one of the North Shore’s finest breakfast establishments. 

Remember the Spring Fling where (#spoileralert) Cady wins the crown and throws pieces of it to the crowd to destroy Regina George? Guess what else the Spring Fling Queen wins? "One gift certificate to the Walker Brothers Pancake House." That's right, the original Walker Brothers Pancake House still stands right here in Wilmette.

No trip to Walker Brothers is complete without a stack of apple cinnamon `pancakes. The apple-filled, cinnamon sugar flapjacks are a specialty of the restaurant and are just what you need to prepare for your day.

Winnetka: True Juice

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Juice bars are a staple on the North Shore where residents strive to be both health conscious and trendy. If you feel like you haven't had enough dessert yet, get the Sheridan Road smoothie. This homage to the North Shore's fastest, windiest road—the one you should be driving on—combines bananas, coconuts, cocoa, and almond milk into one smoothie that tastes as fun as driving down this road.

If you're already stuffed, get the Winnetka Talk juice and pretend that you're a real North Shore inhabitant, drinking juice and talking to your friends on the way to spin class.

Glencoe: Foodstuffs

Foodstuff embodies the North Shore’s attitude towards cooking. Frozen or pre-made meals from the grocery store are no good, but frozen or pre-made meals made locally from only the highest quality ingredients are totally acceptable to serve at all occasions.

Walking into this restaurant/grocery store combo, you will be surrounded by the smell of fresh baked bread and warm soups and sandwiches. Foodstuffs is known for its killer salad bar, where you can load up on fresh veggies, cheeses, and meats. Get your salad chopped for the full experience.

And don’t forget to grab a monster bar on your way out. These sweet treats pack M&Ms, Oreos, and caramel into a chocolate chip cookie dough base.

Highland Park: Michael’s Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Although North Shore foodies are pretty health conscious, balance is key to this healthy lifestyle. Michael’s is known for their char-grilled, Chicago-style hot dogs. Chicago-style means an all-beef frankfurter on a poppy-seed bun with mustard, onions, sweet relish, tomatoes, a pickle spear, and celery salt. Absolutely no ketchup.

These dogs have been a North Shore classic since the restaurant opened in 1977. You can even see pictures of the original Michael’s fans, clad in 80s and 90s wear, eating their hot dogs. If you are too full for a hot dog, try the cheese fries. These potatoes are fried to a crisp and then slathered in hot, melted cheese. If that doesn’t scream delicious, I don’t know what will.

Highwood: Maria’s Bakery

Highwood has recently transformed itself into a restaurant mecca. As a historically Italian suburb, Highwood’s restaurant revolution has thrived on its Italian roots.

Stop into Maria’s Bakery for a quick afternoon snack. If you are feeling fancy, grab a cannoli or one of the different Italian pastries baked every day. For a simpler snack, pick up some Italian butter cookies. The sprinkled cookies, jam thumb printed, and chocolate dipped are all tasty choices.

Lake Forest: Market House on the Square

Lake Forest is one of the oldest, most traditional suburbs on the North Shore. Head to Market Square, the original town center and shopping area in the city. Widely cited as the oldest planned shopping center in America, this unique square is celebrating its 100th year as the center of life and culture in Lake Forest.

Grab some appetizers at Market House on the Square and enjoy the people-watching. Both the Market House hummus and the chilled oysters are delicious. If you are over 21, try the North Shore fizz–I’ve been told it’s pretty amazing.

Lake Bluff: Inovasi

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If this food tour hasn’t fully convinced you that North Shore food can rival that of the city, a final stop at Inovasi in Lake Bluff for a full dinner meal will convince you. John des Rosiers, the owner and chef, is a local celeb who owns multiple North Shore restaurants and his own grocery store food label.

His passion for supporting local farms and creating unique dining experiences is demonstrated in every aspect of his cooking. Order a few small plates to get a taste of everything.

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If Inovasi seems a little too expensive for the college budget, try des Rosiers’ Mexican joint next door called The Other Door. A fresh take on the Chipotle concept, make sure to pick “the potato forgot to duck” as your meat. This combination of braised potatoes, duck leg, and hominy is a North Shore classic that you will not be able to find anywhere else.