Best Chicago Eats That Won’t Break The Bank

October 3, 2010 2:15 PM

This is a list of restaurants in Chicago with around $10 in mind. It is by no means exhaustive and represents only a small proportion of fantastic dining in the city. You may have heard of some of these places, and others… not so much. Rest assured, something from this list is bound to satisfy just about any culinary craving you might have. – Jeremy Frazier

Janitzio Fast Burrito

2933 North Broadway Street
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 348-9916

This place might be small, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in good food. If you’re looking for some Mexican food and you’re in East Lakeview, Janitzio Fast Burrito is the place to go. They serve up all the staples you’d look for in a Mexican restaurant, so you really can’t go wrong no matter which end of the menu you order from. But what they do best are burritos and tortas. With numerous protein options, the menu explodes with possibilities and solves just about any south-of-the-border craving you have. Don’t miss the house special red and green sauces, they will put any item you choose over the top.

Fogo 2 Go

926 West Diversey Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 880-8052

Chicken and pizza aren’t two things that usually go together, but Fogo 2 Go, or fo2go, has got it down to a science. They offer a mind-boggling assortment of pizza varieties, some of which are available in sliced form throughout the day. The pizza is always a solid option but the grilled chicken is the star of the show. It’s char-grilled Brazilian style so it stays crisp and juicy. Half or quarter chicken meals come with two sides and a flatbread. Chicken meals or pizza slices both come with a free fountain drink. It’s only steps off the Diversey Brown Line stop and worth every hungry penny.

Earwax Café

1564 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-4019

This eatery located in the heart of Wicker Park bucks the demeanor of the surrounding neighborhood. Although it’s a hipster haven, it comes with a surprisingly unpretentious attitude. The colorful décor invites you in and the food will make you come back. They have all the items you’d expect to find at a diner, with the added bonus of multiple vegetarian options that you might not find at your corner eggs ‘n bacon depot. If you aren’t in the mood for breakfast, this place offers up the finest homemade hummus you will find anywhere.

Ribs N Bibs

5300 South Dorchester Avenue
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 493-0400

If you’re in the mood for a little Southern flavor, Ribs N Bibs is your spot. Located in Hyde Park, this rib joint serves up the some of best barbecue you will find in the city. The name may appear to limit the fare, but ribs aren’t the only thing they do well. Fried chicken, various pork offerings, and burgers round out this menu that seems more fit for Texas than Chicago. This place takes their BBQ seriously, meaning that it refers to the method of cooking not the sauce slathered all over the place. Although those are very good as well.

The Weiner Circle

2622 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 477-7444

Looking for the best hot dog in town? Look no further than this Lincoln Park cornerstone. Other places may have more specialized cylindrical meats, but this place has the classic Chicago dog honed in to a fine perfection. The unassuming exterior is perfect for the attitude of their food. This place churns out no-frills hot dogs, burgers, and cheese fries that will make anyone’s late night hunger disappear. Not to mention some tasty chocolate shakes! It’s conveniently located in one of the most popular areas for nighttime fun, so chances are you might come across it when you need it most. There is a certain lore about the post-midnight occurrences at the Weiner Circle… so you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Noodles In The Pot

2453 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 975-6177

This DePaul area hot spot is a staple for students and faculty, as well as any noodle-hungry passersby in Lincoln Park. This place has offers an impressive array of noodle dishes, rice dishes, and curries. You can always tell how good a place like this is with the Pad Thai Test, and this Noodles In The Pot’s is a home run. Straying off the beaten course is always suggested and the Chicken Coconut Curry is a can’t miss prospect.

Bourgeois Pig

738 West Fullerton Parkway
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 883-5282

This place is one of Lincoln Park’s most popular spots for lunch and has been noted as such by many, many authorities. Despite its mass appeal it retains a charm that many restaurants only wish they could create. They serve up some of the best soups, salads, and sandwiches in the city. Also of note are their homemade baked sweets and hummus, both of which are outrageously tasty. Sitting down to eat here is akin to pulling up to someone’s dining room table. The cozy seating makes you feel at home and you may find yourself lingering over coffee or one of their myriad loose leaf teas for much longer than you planned.


449 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 334-3688

Looking for a taste of the expensive stuff without breaking the bank? Xoco is your answer. This is the brainchild of restaurateur Rick Bayliss, who was searching for a cheaper way to make his gourmet Mexican lunches available to the busy River North hordes. Although the menu options will likely push you slightly over the $10 goal, the food is well worth the extra few bucks. Tortas are the specialty and these crunchy sandwiches come with only the finest meats and vegetables. Every thing served is locally sourced and as fresh as food gets. If the savory items leave you with a sweet tooth, they have you covered as well. This is the epicenter of gourmet hot drinking chocolates and the handful of varieties will make you want to try them all. Especially after dunking their preposterously tasty churros in the rich cacao nectar.

Jeremy Frazier is a writer & amateur photographer based out of Chicago. He specializes in crafting entertaining articles about live music witnessed all over the city on his blog, Chicago Jam Scene.

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