I am not a big fan of food courts. To me they come across as passable versions of food in return for the illusion of choice. So when a recommendation for this place came across from my chef friend from India, and my friends who are local residents in Chicago haven't heard of this place, that set off my curiosity bell. A food court is a must visit place? Really?
Revival Food Hall in Chicago comes across as a food party hall. Yes, it looks like food court, but the vibe wasn't that of one. Still, not a big deal enough, especially for someone visiting all the way from India. I think, it probably had the vibe of a fun co-working space that happened to serve food.
My friend was flabbergasted. How did I miss this place in the ten years I've been living here, he asked. After carefully reading every dish on the eight or so food outlets, he narrowed down to Budlong Hot Chicken. I picked up a smoked brisket with Memphis and house sauce from Smoque.
We were both blown away by the food. The Budlong Hot Chicken sandwich, in a brioche bun, was a brilliant sandwich. A nice big fried, juicy, spicy, hot chicken with some farm slaw to balance it and some pickles to spice it up, we were in love with this.
The brisket from Smoque one upped the hot chicken sandwich, though it was one bread short! Chopped brisket with good bits of char and tender beef, the fact that there was much more meat than the one piece of bread could handle was a great thing! The two sauces, in case those flavours are not enough for you, are sufficient back up.
The Marche Marketplaces around the world are fabulous food courts. And I believe they are difficult to dislodge, the vibe is great and the food is excellent, but after experiencing the Revival Food Hall, Marche Marketplaces seem a tad monotonous. So the Revival Food Hall seems to be catching up.
Are there better food courts around the world?