Chicago: Foodlife

Time to eat. After the Chicago History Museum, I headed back to the Magnificent Mile.


I read about a place where they say is a gourmet food court. It is located at the Water Tower Place, the same high-rise building that Oprah’s apartment was.


I never quite get this place why so many people raved about it. Foodlife is the name of the place. You can’t just walk in.


If you want to eat, you gotta pay first and get a value card before they let you in. So you are supposed to … buy like $10 or $20, whatever. Then you go buy your food from the stalls using the card. That’s clever of them because it’s harder to keep track of what you spent. On the way out, you are to surrender the card and they will refund you whatever value is left on it.

And for a foodcourt, there is a 7.5% service charge tagged on which is not mandatory. That part I don’t get.


Then you grab a table. There is a flip card which you flip to reserve your table. You can then go check out the various food stalls. You are supposed to come back and people are supposed to respect that. Except that when I got back to my table, someone else was sitting on it.


If my memory serves me correct, I got the Tomato Basil Bisque. I gotta hand to them, the soup was darn good.


I also got some fries and a Chicago Style Hot Dog. See? Mustard only. No ketchup. Vancouver’s Japadog beats this hot dog hands down. But the hot dog was pretty good with really fresh garnishings and all.

Foodlife says that they make all their food fresh everyday. Frankly, I was not too impressed with the system although the food was quite good.


There you go. Short and simple blog post of a simple meal.

Foodlife on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Anna

    Foodlife! Yes, when I went to Chicago, I purposely hunted this place down because I heard it was fast “gourmet” food. I wasn’t too impressed either with the food they had there, but what I discovered was a place called Bao Wow inside the mall on the main level. They serve Chinese style steam buns from bbq pork to spicy sichuan. They also had soup placed in beverage cups. If you’re ever there in the future, I would suggest you go to that place than Foodlife. 🙂

    1. Ben

      Hi Anna:
      I think I know what you are talking about. It is the Chinese steamed bun place just by the escalator, right? I remember it was pretty good. It goes to show that if someone really market and package it well, there are a lot of Chinese snacks that one could sell well in North America.

  2. Jill

    I actually visit Foodlife on a regular basis and have never been let down by the atmosphere of quality of the food/service. I love the multitude of options and the fact that I can go to a restaurant 5 days a week and order a different type of cuisine. My office caters there often, their market has great deli sandwich catering options.

  3. Henry

    There’s a similar restaurant chain here in Toronto & Ottawa called “Richtree Market Restaurant” that operates almost the same way. However, you don’t have to buy the card or pay 7.5% service charge. The card is issued when you wait to be seated and it’s only used to place your order(s) or for tallying the final bill (don’t lose that card or you might be washing dishes for your meal). At least, I have never had someone taken my table if the sign has been flipped to say “reserved”. Very rude!

  4. Shirl

    I think though that without them handling cash all they do is concentrate on food. Much better for keeping clean. And they don’t have to worry about change or having tills get shorted.

Leave a Reply