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Good, Inexpensive food Merchandise Mart area

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My daughter is in Chicago, staying in the Merchandise Mart area this week for a conference. She and her college aged friends are looking for good but not too expensive places to eat. Some of them are vegetarians and they don't like the typical fast-food chain restaurants. Any suggestions?

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  1. How inexpensive, how "non fast food" and how close to the Mart? There are couple of decent Indian places in the neighborhood, buffets at lunch time at about $10 or less if many serves me.I seem to recall the food court in the Mart itself has fast fast food stand with some vegetarian middle east choices too, though it is surrounded by chains like Quizno and Taco Bell or something.

    For sit down that is not too formal my favorite in that neck of the woods tends to be Fontera Grill where I get meat dishes, but they always have some very nice meatless dishes too -- though I think think you'd have to spend at least $10-15 a person there...

    1 Reply
    1. re: renov8r

      If you're interested in Frontera Grill, you can check out the menu on their website at www.rickbayless.com/menu Some (but not all) of the items are listed with prices. Get there just before they open to avoid having to wait to be seated; they do not accept reservations.

    2. A couple of blocks east up the river is Bin 36, where on the first floor you'll find a cheese bar, many appetizer/small-plate selections, and wine by the glass or flight. Nice place to relax with a light lunch/dinner.

      339 N. Dearborn St.
      Chicago, IL 60610 312-755-9463

      1 Reply
      1. re: jbw

        If some of this college-age group is under-age (21 in Illinois), they might be better off with a place that doesn't specialize in wine.

      2. What about Klay Oven? It's about two blocks away and Indian food is known for being vegetarian friendly.

        You can check out the menu here:
        http://www.klayovenrestaurant.com/ind...

        Klay Oven‎ - more info »
        414 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL
        (312) 527-3999‎ - Rated 3.1 out of 5.0

        1. Another good option is Mambo Grill. Really good Latin food that isn't too expensive. The drinks are also really good.