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Feb 12, 2007 09:26 AM

Budget chow for South Side?

My nephew started college in Chicago this year. He's studying at the Illinois Institute of Technology. I believe that's the south side of Chicago. Anyway, I'd like to give him some recommendations from the Chicago Chow experts on quality places for meals that's not too expensive for a college student. So no fine dining recommendations. But decent places (ethnic is good) that showcases some of Chicago's talents. He's from Hawaii so he's open to a mix of food, not just pizza and hot dogs, although I'm sure he'll be happy to hear about those type of foods as well. He likes Italian, Chinese, Japanese, but I'd also like to seem him expand his culinary education to other things as well while he's studying in Chicago. (Again, has to be on a college student's budget.) Thanks!

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  1. IIT is in a great location. He's across the highway from Bridgeport which has a bunch of Italian restaurants. Connies Pizza is there and has great pan pizza. He's just south (and across the highway) from Chinatown which has many, many incredible Chinese resaurants.

    But let me throw out one suggestion. He should try Harold's Fried Chicken which is a south side fixture (dozens spread throughout the city). He should get half a chicken and ask for hte hot sauce on the chicken.

    1. First, I wouldn't limit him to the South Side. IIT is only 5-10 minutes by expressway from the Loop (downtown Chicago) - okay, maybe more in rush hour and when the Dan Ryan is under construction - but still, it's easy enough to travel to just about any part of the city by car or by public transportation.

      Entire books have been written about cheap eats in Chicago, including ethnic foods of every description. You can search Chowhound topics. (You'll get 749 topics if you search the Chicago forum on "cheap eats"!) Also, you can search the restaurant listings at Metromix (the dining and entertainment website of the Chicago Tribune at ) by combinations of type of food (from Afghani to Vietnamese), location, and cost.

      1. One place to put on his list is:

        Pearl's Place
        3901 S. Michigan Ave.

        It's in walking distance from IIT, but go with a group (particularly at night) or drive. Good soul food, with emphasis on fried chicken, catfish, peach cobbler (not to be missed), mac & cheese. Open for breakfast and through the early evening. Its Sunday brunch draws a large crowd of churchgoers and is quite a scene (dress up for that one! otherwise casual.)

        1. Thanks everyone so far for the suggestions, keep 'em coming!

          Nsxtasy, I did do a "cheap eats" search on Chow but looks like there hasn't been a lot of comments on the Chicago board in 2006 related to cheap eats. That's why I started this topic.

          1. Hyde Park (a neighborhood on the South Side) has several good, cheap restaurants. Including:
            Cedar's of Lebanon - Mediterranean
            The Medici - burgers, pizza, etc.
            Snail - Thai
            Noodles, etc. - Thai
            Star of Siam - Thai
            Thai Twee - Thai

            Of the many Thai options, my favorite is Snail, but all of the ones I listed are pretty good and very cheap.