About Chicago Foodways Tours

Founded in 2014. Our mission is to give our guests a fun, unique and memorable Chicago experience. We do this by providing insight into the culture, history and daily life of Chicago's neighborhoods through the foodways of the city's past and present immigrant communities.
We focus on locally owned businesses that are staples of their communities. We believe our country is greater when we build bigger tables, not bigger walls.

Meet The Founder

Phyllis Petrilli

Owner/Operator, Chicago Foodways Tours

After a few years in Chicago, I decided to leave my corporate job and go to culinary school. It was great…until I could no longer afford my cushy Lincoln Park neighborhood. At the urging of a friend, I reluctantly moved “up north.” I was still in Chicago, but I might as well have been in the Wisconsin dairy fields. I was not happy. Then this same friend brought me a chicken shawarma wrap and the best piece of baklava I’d ever tasted. “I bought it right down the street,” he said. The next day, I ventured “down the street.” I discovered the source of the Lebanese baklava, but also Swedish lingonberries and smoked fish, exotic Thai produce, Vietnamese rice papers, Mexican horchata, Korean soju martinis and Turkish coffee. And so many delectable baked goods….I was in culinary heaven. I embraced my new neighborhood and I still live there today. Now after years of teaching cooking classes and running one of Chicago’s busiest gourmet delis, I want to go back to that culinary wonderment. How better to do it than to give you a taste of what I love about my neighborhood.