Now, off the top of the bat I’ll admit I’m an outsider to your fair city, but since I’ve had this question for a while and knew of a certain website with a fanbase of savvy Chicagoans, I’ll dive in.
Up here in Canada we’ve got a chain of… well, popcorn-selling fast food outlets? It sounds odd, I guess, but they sell a bunch of varieties of flavoured popcorn, the place is called Kernels, and they’re in pretty much every mall food court around. Now, they’ve always had a variety called Chicago-style, it’s an entirely odd but delightful combination of half caramel and half cheese popcorn.
Now, a cursory glance online shows other online retailers offering “Chicago-style popcorn”, always half-caramel half-cheese, but I didn’t see any obvious connection to the Windy City. Is there some famous local retailer there that specializes in this exact mix, causing it to spread worldwide? Is it a local delicacy so well-known that you’re eating it right now and laughing at the silly Canadian asking for its origin? Are Chicagoans known for being partly sweet and partly cheesy? Or did some crackpot Canadian popcorn-vendor just pick a major city arbitrarily to give this mix an air of authenticity?