Restaurants and Food - Brookfield Zoo

The two main restaurants are BZ Red Hots at the east end of the zoo, and Café del Sol at the southwest corner.

For any of the restaurants, I highly recommend getting your food by 11:30 to get shorter lines, quicker food, and make finding seats much easier.

Although rain will normally keep attendance down, busy days with rain mean the limited indoor space will fill up very quickly. On those days, lean towards BZ Red Hots, which has more indoor space, and you may want to get there more like 11:15 to avoid waiting for a table.


The two main restaurants, BZ Red Hots and Café del Sol allows mobile ordering for quicker pickup. Use the QR code posted on a few signs around the zoo, or use this link to the online ordering website.

Bringing Food

There are plenty of places to eat if you bring your own food, though none are well protected from bad weather. The main sets of picnic tables are along the main East-West corridor. If you’re at the Roosevelt Fountain and go east towards BZ Red Hots, there are many tables along the right side, some of which have modest protection from rain. If you instead go west from the fountain towards the bison, there are a lot on the left side, there are also tables by the Bison Prarie Grill on the other side of the bison. I generally avoid the tables that are just west of the fountain (the ones along the side of Tropic World) as there are a lot of aggressive geese in that area. There’s a nice area to eat just outside Wild Encounters, although those tables are metallic, with small holes so they’re not good for very small children (lots of food falls through the holes). If there is bad weather, consider doing a restaurant instead, since there's no good space to eat outside food that's sheltered (the small buildings by the painted dogs and by the wolves both don't have direct access to animals and aren't very crowded, so if you want to try to sit and have lunch on your lap, they may work).


All the main food options at Brookfield are of the same relative quality (decent) and price (moderate for museum food). BZ Red Hots and Café del Sol are the main options that have similar menus, although there are some differences. Perhaps most noteworthy for kids, pizza is only available at BZ Red Hots.

A combined menu is listed below, with differences between the two restaurants noted in it:

At BZ Red Hots, note that there are three separate indoor seating areas, the one by where you order, and one off to each side of the entrance/exits. The side areas are not as easy to see and typically less crowded than the central area. The restroom is downstairs from the eating areas—follow the curve around to the left of the counter, and you’ll see stairs to go down. For an accessible path, you’ll need to leave the building, and go down the ramp, and then around the corner to the left as you face the building.