Chicago Eats on the Cheap
Collected by Kaitlyn Barrett, AFAR Local Expert
Chicago has plentiful cheap and delicious food options for the thrifty traveler and working folks in a hurry.
2900 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618, USA
Back in 2010 Lady Gaga tweeted that she loved the burgers at Kuma’s Corner and today there are still waiting lines out the door just to have lunch. You think that’s the Gaga or the burger? I know that we waited for a good hour to get a table at...
2148 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
3411 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Boasting the slogan 'Meat free since '83,' The Chicago Diner isn't going to win everyone over. However, if you are vegetarian, or even want to get your vegan on, this is the place for you. With an extensive menu of food and drink, the friendly...
1137 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
I'm a huge fan of Pho soups but I'm picky too—I want a rich broth with light springy noodles and slivers of meat, a contrast of textures and tastes. Pho 888 is not only reasonably priced but offers up some of the best Pho I've had in North...
50 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA
A perfect buttermilk old fashioned donut is fresh and hot with crispy crunchy edges underneath a melting sugary glazy and the minute I’ve eaten one, I’m already dreaming about the next one. Do-Rite hits all these marks with room to spare, which...
Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL, USA
While some restaurants use being rude as their gimmick, the women at the Wiener Circle in Lincoln Park are the real deal. These “bitches” as they affectionately call themselves (I call them verbal assassins) will not hesitate to call you out and...
5014 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
Just steps from the colorful Argyle CTA stop in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, Ba Le Bakery specializes in Vietnamese food—efficient, fast and tasty fusion food. You can’t go wrong with the Bun Thit Nuong ($7.95)—piping-hot grilled pork, cold rice...
1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
Everyone knows Big Star is famous for its cheap and tasty tacos but it's the queso fundido that really wowed my tastebuds. Melted queso Chihuahua cheese compliments the peppers and meaty chorizo in this dish. I didn't even use the tortillas. It's...
100 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
One of the best fast food chains in the States has to be Portillo's Hot Dogs. With 48 stores exclusive to the Chicagoland area, it's a must-stop while visiting the city. Eating in or driving through, you can enjoy the timeless local classic -the...
10000 Bessie Coleman Dr, Chicago, IL 60666, USA
Chicago hot dogs are piled high with onions, tomatoes, peppers, and pickles and look like they’ve been dragged through a garden. Several places around town do a great Chicago dog, including the Wiener Circle in Lincoln Park, the notorious late...
719 W Maxwell St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Students always know where to get the best cheap eats so it’s no surprise that Lotus Café serves the cheapest and most amazing banh mi in Chicago at a location right next to the University of Illinois (UIC). Run by two former UIC students, Lotus...
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