Aug 19, 2022 - Food and Drink

State fair food battle

Photo of donuts on a plate.

Doughnuts. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

👋 Hey, it's Monica. This week I got a baptism by fried foods at my first Illinois State Fair. I've since tried more dishes, including:

  • Tastiest: A bag of warm cinnamon mini doughnuts ($8).
  • Weirdest: A dill spear wrapped in cream cheese and pastrami ($3).
  • Worst: Sirloin on a stick with dry, tasteless beef ($10).
Photo of a pickle wrapped in beef.
Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

The intrigue: Fellow Axios Local reporters have sampled their share of wacky fair food this year — maybe even weirder than ours — and they shared their reports.

Iowa: Axios Des Moines' Jason Clayworth indulged in a deep-fried queso burger featuring batter-encased beef chips and Cheez Whiz this year. But it was hard to compete with Linh Ta's 2021 find of Flamin' Hot Cheeto funnel cakes.

Minnesota: Axios Twin Cities' Audrey Kennedy highlighted vegan chorizo balls dipped in corn dog batter last year. This year, she gave her stomach a rest with a tasty process story about chefs developing winning fair fare.

Florida: Axios Tampa's Seline San Felice went to Florida's January State Fair for a Donut Dog featuring a grilled weenie nestled in a Long John drizzled with icing.

Ohio: Axios Columbus' Alissa Wildman Neese praised the garlic stuffed, deep-fried olives on a stick but said to skip the deep-fried, mac 'n' cheese-stuffed turkey leg on a bone.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more