Food, Nostalgia, and Drama: Here are the 10 Playlist Stories You Read the Most in 2022

Meredith Francis
The exterior of Johnnie's beef, looking through the window with blurred figures behind the counter and ordering food.
A photo essay following a day at Johhnie's Beef in Elmwood Park was the most-read story of the year on Playlist. (Image: Kathleen Hinkle / WTTW)

Food, nostalgia, history, and drama were the name of the game for our most-read Playlist stories in 2022. Revisit our most-read stories of the year to catch up on a little bit of history and a lot of drama. With our audience’s love for PBS dramas and mysteries, be sure to sign up for our Dramalogue newsletter to stay up to date with all of our recaps, programming news, and more.

1. A Day in the Life of Italian Beef Favorite Johnnie’s Beef

We sent photographer Kathleen Hinkel to capture a day at Johnnie’s Beef in Elmwood Park, featuring all the prep work that goes on behind the scenes, all the way up to customers enjoying a hearty meal. We have to confess: We’re glad this was the most-read story of the year, because it was our favorite project! Shhh, don’t tell the other stories.

2. 'Arthur' Is Ending After 25 Years With the Characters Grown Up

After 25 years on air, the PBS show Arthur came to an end, revealing the beloved characters all grown up. Arthur was the longest-running kids’ animated series on TV.

3. Memories of Chicago's Most Dearly Missed Restaurants, As Shared By Our Audience

In August, we asked the readers of our Deep Dish food newsletter (psst, sign up here!) to tell us about now-closed restaurants that they missed. Boy oh boy, did we get a lot of responses! If you’re feeling nostalgic, see which restaurants our readers missed the most.

4. Ten of Chicago's Most Iconic Restaurants, Past and Present

We did a round-up of some of Chicago’s most “iconic” restaurants, both those that were shuttered, and those who are still kickin’. We selected well-known, generally long-lasting spots that have a memorable setting and design.

5. 'Hotel Portofino' Recap: Episode 1

Drama-lovers tuned into this show set in the stunning Italian resort town of Portofino. It follows the Ainsworth family, who relocated from Britain to open a posh hotel on the Italian coastline in the aftermath of World War I in the Jazz Age. WTTW Passport Members can stream the show.

6. How Czechs Have Shaped Chicago's History

With the premiere of the documentary Czechs in Chicago, we explored how Czechs shaped Chicago’s history and culture. At the turn of the twentieth century, Chicago had the third-largest Czech population in the world, trailing only behind Prague and Vienna. Czechs were deeply involved in the labor movement, politics, and more in the city.

7. 'Guilt' Recap: Season 2 Episode 1

Guilt season 2 kicked off in August, and our audience was eager to read about how the main character, Max, is soon embroiled in another unexpected death. Season 2 of the Scottish series begins with Max out of prison trying to build a new life before troubles once again befall him. Passport members can stream the show.

8. 'All Creatures Great and Small' Is Returning for Even More Seasons

All Creatures Great and Small fans were happy to learn that the series is returning for season 3, with a sneak peak of James and Helen’s wedding. The new season of the show, which is based on the experiences of a Yorkshire veterinarian, premieres on January 8, 2023. Passport members can stream the show.

9. The Real History Behind 'Around the World in 80 Days'

We break down the real history behind some of the moments from the Masterpiece series Around the World in 80 Days. Like Jules Verne’s 1872 novel, the show works to include real history and technological advances. Passport members can stream the show.

10. 'Grantchester' Recap: Season 7 Episode 1

Mystery and murderous mayhem returned to Cambridgeshire with the Season 7 premiere of Grantchester. In this episode, the death of the scion of a formerly wealthy estate appears to be natural, but Geordie is suspicious. Unfortunately, his new boss assigns Larry to the case and is a stickler for rules, so Geordie, Will, and Miss Scott must surreptitiously investigate. Passport members can stream the show.