We're in a bit of a end-of-the-year countdown frenzy, but, truth be told, this is the one that we find the most fascinating. After all, instead of dealing with abstract concepts of "the best" or "our favorite," this list is based on cold hard facts (in this case, data from Google Analytics). There's no room for the vague here, just the posts ranked by most visitors, thank you very much.

One thing that is worth keeping in mind, though, is that we published around 770 posts in 2013. That's a lot! Sure, that includes some weekly recaps, but most were reviews of one of Chicago's seemingly endless pool of restaurants.

With so many posts, what rose to the top? In the biggest shocker of the year the top post was about... Chicago style hot dogs! Okay, so that wasn't such big surprise, but some of the others genuinely are. Take a look at the full list below!

#1: The 10 Best Chicago-Style Hot Dogs


Chicago Style Hot Dog at Hot Doug's [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"Ask a dozen people and they'll give you a range of different answers. That's precisely what happened earlier this month when I asked my staff for their opinions on the matter. I loved many of the picks, and even uncovered a couple of great finds. But this is my personal list. Plus, not all hot dogs qualify." Read more here >>

#2: The 10 Best Italian Beef Sandwiches in Chicago You've Probably Never Tried


Italian Beef at Bari [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"Perhaps there was a whole world of unexplored Italian beefs hiding in plain sight. While I'd been trying to find excellence at random fast food chains, which have small kitchens, small budgets, and lots of competition, I just needed to focus my search on places that roast their meat in-house. In other words, I needed to visit some Italian delis." Read more here >>

#3: Staff Picks: 9 Breakfasts We Love in Chicago


Fat Elvis at Little Goat [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"We're going to be covering as many of Chicago's breakfast finds as we can in March, but we thought we'd start with a collection of our staff's favorites, which run the gamut from heavy and hearty to light and healthy." Read more here >>

#4: Staff Picks: What's the Best Pizza in Chicago?


Uova e Funghi Pizza at Bar Toma [Photograph: Huge Galdones]

"If you are looking for a list that best gives a sense of Chicago's pizza scene, you might want to start with this list. But if you're looking for pizza that we genuinely eat all the time, this list is for you." Read more here >>

#5: Where to Eat Near Millennium Park, Chicago


View of Millennium Park from Terzo Piano [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"There are tourist sites that Chicagoans love to hate (looking at you, Navy Pier), and then there are those we simply love. Millennium Park is definitely in the latter camp. Built atop train lines in the northwest corner of Grant Park to celebrate the millennium (though a few years late), the park is conveniently located and jam-packed with sites." Read more here >>

#6: First Look at Next: The Hunt


Cellar Aged Carrots & Onions at Next [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"What's The Hunt all about? Honestly, I was clueless before the meal started. In my rush to get tickets, I forgot to look into what I was going to experience. I just knew said experience would be worth it." Read more here >>

#7: The Chicago Food Glossary: A Guide to the Unique Dishes of the Windy City


Thin Crust at Vito & Nick's [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"Like all great cities should, Chicago has a collection of dishes that were invented within its borders and that you can't get anywhere else. Some are so well known they're entered the national discussion, while others are so esoteric they may only be familiar to those in a certain part of town." Read more here >>

#8: Watch Jon Stewart's Epic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Rant


[Courtesy of The Daily Show]

"As happens any time New York and Chicago are mentioned in the same sentence, the conversation quickly turned to pizza, and it turns out that Jon Stewart hates deep dish pizza more than any human being alive today. On last night's Daily Show, Stewart ranted for nearly three minutes about Chicago's most recognizable dish. Whatever you think of the pizza, this incredible tirade is a sight to behold." Read more here >>

#9: 16 Cheese Fries We Love in Chicago


Cheese Fries at Wieners Circle [Photograph: Amy Cavanaugh]

"In Chicago, cheese fries are more than a dish you consume after a night out. Whether this is related to Chicago's hot dog stand culture or that chefs here like to elevate simple dishes, I don't know. But I do know that you can find a very wide range of cheese fries here. They're topped with many kinds of cheese, meats, and pickled vegetables, and available everywhere from hot dog stands to bars to restaurants." Read more here >>

#10: 19 Ridiculously Big Ass Sandwiches We Love in Chicago


Schnitzel Sandwich at Olga's Deli [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"Normally, taste is sacrificed for spectacle in the world of "big ass sandwiches." Thankfully, none of these sandwiches fall into that category. From the falling-apart burger to the loaded corned beef sandwich to the pork tenderloin sticking 3 inches out the bun, these sandwiches deliver on both size and taste." Read more here >>

The Rest of the Top 20

Hot Dog and Fries at Redhot Ranch

Hot Dog with Fries at Redhot Ranch [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

  1. Staff Picks: What's the Best Hot Dog in Chicago?
  2. 20 Cheap Eats We Love in Lincoln Park
  3. Restaurants with Great Views in Chicago Where the Food Doesn't Suck
  4. Staff Picks: Where Do You Take an Out of Town Guest in Chicago?
  5. Staff Picks: Our Favorite Chinese Restaurants in Chicago
  6. 10 Fried Chicken Dishes We Love in Chicago (Non Southern-Style Edition)
  7. Taste Test: The Best Hot Giardiniera
  8. The Best Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwich in Chicago
  9. 14 Great Sandwiches to Try in Chicago's Loop
  10. 10 Best Bars with Food in Chicago

More Best of 2013 Features!

Fat Rice

Fat Noodles at Fat Rice [Photograph: Chelsea Ross]

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