“Wanna get dinner? Let’s go somewhere cheap.”
That’s an extremely common phrase among my girlfriends and me and I know we’re not the only ones looking for a great deal on great food. Hey, Chicago’s an expensive city–there’s no denying that. But despite the high cost of living, it IS possible to snag some great deals on food throughout the city! From burgers to tacos, to deli eats, and more, Chicago is home to some cheap treats that are both tasty and wallet-friendly. Take a look at some of my favorite places to grab a meal for around just $10:
Ahh Leghorn…one of my favorite River North spots to grab some breaded chicken strips, hand cut fries, biscuits, and more. The hearty portions of everything at the low price point make Leghorn a perfectly affordable and delicious meal option for any time of day. Make sure to grab a dipping sauce with your chicken as well–the housemade chipotle aioli can’t be beat!
Traditional Poblano foods served hot and hearty–what more do you need? Cemitas Puebla is a must for flavorful, creative sandwiches (the Adobo Pork is incredible!) and for just under $10 it’s the perfect cheap meal for any budget. Located in both Humboldt Park and the West Loop, Cemitas is available for both pickup and delivery, as well as available on UberEats.
One of my favorite spots for when I want something on the healthier side, Foodease literally has something for everyone. Step into this buffet-style Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, and create your own dish from a variety of foods including tilapia, roasted potatoes, chicken, baked veggies, and more. Foodease has one of the best salad bars I’ve ever seen and is ALWAYS freshly stocked (seriously, you’ll see employees milling around the buffets ready to refill). Note: Your meal will be priced by weight, so you have complete control over how much you end up spending!
Oh Pork and Mindy’s, how I love thee. For a creative, one-of-a-kind casual dining experience, look no further than this Jeff Mauro-owned Wicker Park restaurant. Delicious sandwiches (try the Bao to the Pork), yummy tater tot dishes, and amazing sides (the PIG CANDY!! *heart eye emoji*) make up the straightforward and tasty menu and honestly, you can’t go wrong with anything you choose. Sandwiches and sliders run $6-8 and the sides are just $3.
As far as tacos in Chicago are concerned, Antique Taco has some of the best of the best! For $7-9, you get two HUGE tacos with creative toppings, sauces, and more–filling and delish. I recommend the garlic shrimp tacos and the cumin lamb tacos. Of course, grab an order of the cheese curds as well–totally splitable between a few friends.
If you’ve been to the Lakeview/Lincoln Park area, no doubt you’ve spotted Crisp. This Korean BBQ hotspot offers some of the best chicken wings you could ask for. With a variety of sauces, huge portions, and the best part–a BYOB concept–Crisp has it all. Bowls and wings are under $10, and you’re almost guaranteed to have leftovers. Pro tip: they don’t care how many people are waiting in line, their register closes PROMPTLY at 9pm–no ifs, ands or buts! Get there early enough to place your order.
Yango’s Grill is a hidden gem in the East Lakeview neighborhood, and if you blink you might miss it! Located on Broadway at Clark and Diversey, this old-school grill has hot dogs, burgers, Italian beefs, gyros, and much more–all for less than $10! My fave is their cheeseburger and fries; perfectly charred and smoky with an enormous portion of crispy skinny fries (I mean, look at it…you can’t even SEE the burger).
Looking for a fantastic sandwich for under $10? Goddess and Grocer has you covered! From traditional BLTs to chicken clubs and everything in between, this small local chain (check out their sister concept, Goddess and the Baker!) is the perfect place to grab a delectable deli sammy and assorted desserts. Have a hankerin’ for a quick brunch? Goddess and Grocer offers some amazing breakfast sandwiches that will no doubt satisfy both the foodie and the hungover. Making plans for later in the evening? Pick up a bottle of wine or a craft 6-pack while you’re there!
Build. Your. Own. BURGER. Yup, seriously. Choose from a ton of combinations, from regular ground beef, to bison, to chicken and season it to your liking–all before topping it off with a variety of cheeses, veggies, and sauces! Prices hover at just under $10 to just over $10, depending on your meat choice and if you add additional toppings. Order at the counter and wait for your meal with a beverage–Butcher and the Burger is also BYOB!