Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Jul 25, 2007 09:31 AM

Title: best cheap eats in chicago

Message: hi guys i'm gonna be on vacation in mid august and am looking for the best cheap eats in chicago specifically i'll be near wrigley field and downtown chicago. i don't wanna venture too far so what can you guys recommend.
thanks hungrymannyc

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Ballpark tour, huh?
    If you haven't had Chicago Deep Dish, then you might as well. Quick search for a pizza thread, you'll get all the info you need. Uno, Malnati's, Giordano's, pick one. On the cheaper side, maybe a Chicago hot dog stand/ beef sammich joint would sate you? Again, quick search, take your pick. You will not be travelling far from wrigley, or from downtown, whichever place you happen to be. How cheap are you looking for, and are you also looking for somethnig unique to Chicago?

    2 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      wow thanks gord. im glad u mentioned giordanos i was there during wrestlemania there pizza is phenomenal .i think i ran into it near the westin hotel not far from rosemont horizon. do u know a closer location. im mainly looking to spend 15 to 20 on myself for dinner. since im a sports fan im looking at mike ditkas and i think a place that serves louisania place called heaven something .i believe its on michigan avenue. so once agin giordanos that heaven place and whatever else u can recommend. i am looking for really good chicago food that is unique but won't cost an arm and a leg so hit me back
      thank you

      1. re: hungrymannyc

        You mean Heaven on Seven. There are a few locations, but it sounds like the one you want is the one in the AMC theater building on Michigan and Ohio, The entrance is on Ohio and it's on the 2nd floor. Around Wrigley there are a ton of places to eat on Clark St. You'll get more in the way of food quality if you walk north on Clark rather than into the sea of bars going south. You'll also notice people walking west on Addison (away from the El, towards the McDonald's) to Southport Avenue, which has some really good restaurants, (plus a lively bar scene for a late 20's early 30's crowd. For the early 20's bar scene, stick to Clark).

    2. For Breakfast - Try Ann Sather, it's right off the Belmont El stop and about a 3 block (maybe 4) walk from Wrigley Field, when I lived in the Windy City, Ann Sather's cinammon rolls were the bomb (it's been 5 years, but I'm guessing they're still OK). For fun after the Cubbies, you should check out either Comedy Sportz or Improv Olympic ... Chicago is the home to improv comedy ...

      1 Reply
      1. re: GetOutTheMapGuy

        depends on where you're at:
        (773) 327-1200
        1040 W. BELMONT AVE.
        more locations:

        If you've already had Giordanos, I'd suggest you try a different place for stuffed za. Again, do a quick search on this board. You WILL find what you are looking for: Malnati's, Gino's, Uno / Due etc. Malnati's has a site:
        Chicago - Lincoln Park
        958 W. Wrightwood (at Sheffield & Lincoln
        )Chicago, IL 60614
        Phone 773.832.4030
        Fax 773.832.0800

        I'm REALLY not sure how far your 20.00 will get you at Ditka's, by the way. As the Miller High Life guy says, "11.00 for a hamburger? You must be out your mind"

        I also rec Ann Sather's. Turkey benedict. Extra Hollandaise. Cinnamon rolls. YUMMMMM.

        For unique chicago cheap food, head thee to a combo sammich. One of my favs I can think of kinda near (a bit west, but not too far) the Wrigley area is Luke's / Tore's on Diversey, Elston, Western. I'm sure others would point you to a diff place, but this is one of MY favs. South of the Wrigley area, but smack dab in the middle of the touristy downtown section is :
        100 W. Ontario
        Portillo's will net you a decent combo, hot dog, beef sammich experience in the heart of downtown Chitown.

        Not sure how long your stay will be, but bfast at Sather's, a combo with hot giardinera for lunch, and a few slices of deep dish for dinner is a pretty good
        day for a Chowhound looking for unique chicago eats on the cheap.

      2. You have to get a couple Italian beefs while in Chicago. Thinly sliced beef topped with spicy-sweet giardiniera on a large hero dripping with delicious juice and grease and spice and everything that's good in the world. Lots of places have them, but I'll specifically recommend Al's or Portillo's downtown (the latter also being a good place to get a hot dog). Nearby you can find Gino's East or Lou Malnati's, both of which make a stellar pizza. For snacks, stop by Garrett's for a large tub of their addictive carmel-cheddar popcorn. You'd never guess something so simple could be so good. Being the hometown of Sweet Baby Ray's, there's great barbecue to be had, too.

        Veering away from Chicago foods, there is a Heaven on 7 in Wrigleyville that might be convenient and not as obnoxiously loud as the one downtown, though if you want to get ethnic, I think Polish food is quintessential to the Chicago soul. With more Poles than Warsaw, it has to be.

        4 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          That Heaven on Seven in W'ville is now a German Brauhaus kind of a thing.

          1. re: JungMann

            cool thanks for the tips keep them coming if u have any other ideas. i like to know more about ann sathers. can someone supply a link to them and why u guys think its special. it sounds like a place worth checking out for breakfast.

            1. re: hungrymannyc

              There's really nothing TOO special about it, but they throw two cinnamon rolls or muffins (or one of each) at you when you order. There are better bfast spots, but Sathers is kind of a chitown institution. And it's in your Wrigley area. Swedish themed with standard bfast fare as well. Normally, you'll leave with either one of your cinnamon rolls to go, or part of your breakfast left on the table. Dammit, it's been a long time. I might have to get there again, soon.

            2. re: JungMann

              Sorry, not "more Poles than Warsaw," rather "more Poles than any city but Warsaw," at least according to Polish News:


              Still, at 140,000 or so quite a large number and many representative Central European restaurants, altho some have gradually moved towards the suburbs along with the population (65% in fact).

              Try Podhlanka for the real thing:

              1549 W. Division St.
              Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week

            3. Taste of Lebanon on Foster near Clark. Cheap falafel and schwarma. Really tasty as well. Also, Irazu--delicious Costa Rican food on Milwaukee Avenue, BYOB and giant portions.

              2 Replies
              1. re: croissantanyone

                Well if people are going to make recommendations that far away he might as well try a "jibarrito." A Puerto Rican sandwich of crispy plantains slathered with a garlicky mayonaisse and topped with succulent bits of roasted pork -- an ethnic delight with its origins right in the middle of Humboldt Park!

                1. re: JungMann

                  Foster is a bit of a clip from Addison, and Milwaukee is a clip from Clark. Delicious though the jibarrito is, Humboldt Park is nowhere near Wrigley or downtown. I think hungrymannyc was looking for places within walking distance of the ballpark or in the downtown area (but if you do decide to explore hungryman, there you go with some fine choices).

              2. If you can go just a little bit out of your way you will find the REAL best cheap eats in the city. Chicago is laid out on a grid with a major street every 4-6 blocks, each major street with a bus line. Wrigley Field is at Addison (major street) and Clark (major street). If you walk south on on Clark from Wrigley Field your next major street will be Belmont (leisurely 10-minute stroll). Get on the Belmont bus going west and get off at Milwaukee Avenue. Walk one block south and on your left will be The Red Apple (there's an apple sign out in front), venerable all-you-can-eat Polish buffet with all the food in the world for around $10. Home-style, delicious, constantly replentished by nice Polish kitchen ladies, and worth the trip. A Chicago icon. See Red Apple website for more details.