Serious Eats: Chicago
First Impressions: We Eat Most Everything at State Fair, and You Should, Too
State Fair's name says it all. Located in the former Rewster's space on Diversey, the latest spot from Robert Rosado (of Logan Square's Azucar), has a simple concept: fair food (much of it fried) served a la carte in hot dog stand-style digs. The nondescript spot is little more than a counter and chalkboard menued wall, with Rosado's Emerald City gatekeeper-esque moves between the order and pick up windows hilariously confusing for my four-year-old.
But like an abandoned Sufjan Stevens project, the restaurant quickly strays from its central conceit: there's nothing particularly fair-ish about sliders, Chicago dogs, and root beer floats, all on offer here. That's hardly a slight: State Fair is at its best when putting its own spin on the dishes rather than adhering slavishly to a concept.
Taking the typical Chicago stand mantra of "do one thing, and do it well" and turning it on its head, State Fair's menu is a playground for the regional food obsessed. Here, you can get New Jersey style sliders, Cincinnati coney dogs, and Chicago style hot dogs. Plus a few fair foods here and there for good measure.
State Fair has only been open for two weeks, making a full-blown review of the place unfairly premature. But with most everything here ranging from solid to surprisingly tasty, we couldn't help but offer our feedback where appropriate. Clink on the slideshow link below to see our take on the menu; by our count, the fried green tomato sandwich is the only thing we missed, which is more than enough reason to stop in here again soon.