N.Yer comin to CHi town
got a table at Alinea , also Spiaggia, But looking for some hole in the wall, of the beatin path inexpensive great places to eat. (famous sandwiches, dogs, burgers, dounuts,late night were do the chef's eat?) that many don't know about if anybody can help, well appreciated peace ......
What about some great Mexican. Everyone has heard of Frontera Grill, but a lot of former Frontera chefs have spread throughout the city making outstanding, authentic regional Mexican food. Mixteco Grill and Sol de Mexico are two that come to mind. I'm not sure if there is an easy way to get there without a car. Mixteco is BYO, SdM maybe also.
Another specialty is Thai food. Several places known for having special Thai-language menus that are favored by Thai patrons - all are now available with English translations and offer a wide vairety of unusual dishes. My two favorites: Spoon Thai and TAC Quick. Both easily accessible on the El. Both BYO.
None of these are really late night holes in the wall thought, more like neighborhood family restaurants.
There is a huge list of other options here: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....
Spoon Thai or TAC Quick for authentic Thai. You have to ask for the translated menus, but Spoon, at least, will bring them to you. Get ready for something different. Some of it is funky and strange, some just sublime. You really are rolling the dice since the menus only describe what the ingredients are. Since you will not recognize them a lot of the time, that's not helpful. I would search this board for the two places to find recommended dishes.
re: Pete Oldtown
I'd say get a burger from the Rosebud's (on Rush), a dog from Hot Doug's, ribs from Smoque, a sandwich from Goddess and Grocer (on Damen, not the one in Gold Coast...that location is not that good) and awesome donuts from Dinkel's Bakery. Chicago, unfortunately, doesn't have traditional donut shops that you would see in New York or in California.....the ones (Dat Donuts and Old Fashioned Donuts) in Chicago are located in the Southside. Beware: the locations are plain-assed scary, shaking in boots experience due to the distressed/"boarded up" neighborhoods, even during daylight hours; it is not unusual to see gangbangers, obviously up to no good, cruisin along on South Cottage (where Dat's located). As a former New Yorker, please do not argue with me...just trust me on this one.
As for Dinkel's the donuts are REALLY, REALLY good...my husband and I were astonished as to how awesome they were...homemade, crudely hand-cut. Yum...kind of reminds me of the Doughnut Plant in New York but somehow, Dinkel's donuts have more flavor.....