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Jan 25, 2012 10:07 AM

Cheap dinner in the Loop

I will be staying in the Palmer House for a weekend in Chicago, and I'm looking for a cheap dinner on Friday night. I've been reading up on a number of places that sound promising (Oasis Cafe, Heaven on Seven), but they all close before 6pm. Since I frequently run into this problem when I go to Chicago for a weekend and need to get a pretty fast dinner before heading to the Siskel Theater at 8pm, I thought I would ask you all. The other caveat is that my traveling companion is lactose-intolerant so pizza and heavy-cheese places will not be good. Are there any options? Can we make it to the French Market and grab something quickly?

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  1. What about Miller's Pub on Wabash by the Palmer House? Or the food court at Macy's? Has Frontera Fresco in it.

    1. I always get a sandwich from Pastoral before I go to the Siskel.

      1. Go to the Heaven on Seven on Rush or Sable or La Madia or Xoco ... all are close enough to walk to the Siskel (if it's not snowing!) and can serve you quickly if needed. Just the other side of the river really ... not far and lots more inexpensive but good food choices.

        1. If you're up for a 15-minute stroll from the Palmer House you might be interested in the fancy new East Loop supermarket Mariano's, which has an impressive "tavola calda"( with many hot entrees) as well as huge salad bar, sushi and panini and pizza bar, gelato, and other good snacks and a big tables area. For pickup food this place is NICE. Walk east on Randolph about three blocks from Michigan past several huge office buildings and cut left at Chase Bank. Mariano's faces the inner court area on Benton Place. Taxis are everywhere too, or just follow the crowd.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Querencia

            Mariano's is a grocery story. In some ways a nice grocery story, but a grocery store none-the-less. And then the OP will have no where to eat it.

          2. Cafecito is only a few blocks from the Palmer House. It serves Cuban style sandwiches at very reasonable prices. It is open until 9 pm during the week (but closes at 6 pm on Sat & Sun). Here is a link to their website: