Trendy Treats and Economical Eats: A Foodie’s Mini-Guide to Chicago

by Darwin on May 21, 2015

Chicago is known as “the windy city,” but you don’t want to blow your money while filling your stomach there.  Below, you’ll find a number of restaurants and eateries that are known for delectable dishes that come at economical prices.  Bring your friends along, you’ll be able to afford the added company.

Dumpling Stand

Located at the Joong Boo International market, this is a great place to taste a bit of Korean.  Fill your stomach while feasting eyes on the people coming and going; it’s settled right in front of the market.  Dumplings are less than a few dollars and enormously sized.  Come hungry and take your pick of pork with vegetable, kimchi with pork, or black rice and redbean.  If it’s too hard to pick one of the three, the affordability may inspire you to taste them all.

Steve’s Place

Steve’s is a homey establishment, labeled a “greasy spoon” by locals.  Knosh on burgers, sandwiches, and sliced hot dogs served to please.  You won’t find any items on the extensive menu that will break the bank, and while some scoff at the lack of interior design, Steve’s is not here to impress your eyes but rather keep customers coming back for the food.

Cemitas Puebla

Munch on cemita sandwiches at this Humboldt Park dive.  For a little over $10, you can feast on fried chalupas, a horchata, and a cemita. If you especially love salsa, zesty cheese, and avocado, then you’re in for a treat.  If you’re in the city with friends also staying at a Hipmunk suggested hotel, use Groupon deals to get chalupas, drinks, and cemitas for a very cheap price.

Maxwell Street Market

It grew so popular that the market actually extends farther than Maxwell Street.  Get tacos and handmade tortillas at Rubi’s, and you’ll have to taste the tamales from Tamales Oaxaquenos.  If you’ve never heard or tasted pambozos, indulge in the experience at Green House.  Make this a Sunday to remember (when the market is open), from early morning to mid afternoon.

Taco Chino

This is the place where Korea meets Mexico.  Find standard (and cheap) Mexican eats that include kimchi and bulgogi.  Located on Kimball Avenue, a bit beyond ‘Seoul Drive,’ it is well worth the trip, and a lot more convenient than needing to travel across continents to otherwise combine the two types of delicacies.

Art of Pizza

Of course, you can’t leave the city without indulging in deep-dish pizza.  Art of Pizza is among the city’s best, yet the menu won’t dig deep into your pockets.  For less than $5, you can get a pizza filled with pepperoni and sausage.  If you’re in the mood to sample a few different concoctions, then feast on an ever-changing rotation of by-the-slice choices.


Perhaps you’ve been out late at one of the local bars, and being quite a few hours beyond dinner, you’re hungry again.  No problem – make way to Armitage Avenue and enter Scofflaw.  Depending on the hour, the number on the clock may be greater than the price of the bill; most of the menu items are priced between $4 to $8.  If you’re only in the mood for a snack, it’s recommended to get a side of fries or a house-baked chocolate chip cookie.

Saigon Sisters

Saigon Sisters brings together French and Vietnamese cuisine.  Delicious sandwiches are priced right and include ingredients such as coconut milk, Wagyu beef, lime leaf, and other exotic elements.  Come hungry and leave with money in your pocket.


If you’ve recently heard of Cubano sandwiches, you may have been reading about the popular film, Chef.  If you’re not in the mood to try a hand at being a cook, then wrap your hands around a delicious sandwich served at Congress Parkway.  Get the Cuban classic with roasted pork, ham, Swiss, pickles, and mustard.  Sandwiches range from $5-$6, but there’s no difference in customer reactions – the food is delicious!

Evelyn Fennell is a food and travel photographer. She loves sharing her experiences online. Look for her articles on many travel and photography websites.

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