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Favorite quick and cheap lunch spots in the Loop

Favorite quick and cheap lunch spots in the Loop
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  • Favorite quick and cheap lunch spots in the Loop

    Post #1 - January 19th, 2011, 2:21 pm
    Post #1 - January 19th, 2011, 2:21 pm Post #1 - January 19th, 2011, 2:21 pm
    I think it'd be useful to have a thread where people list their 5 favorite spots for a quick (<30 mins) and cheap (<$10) lunch in the Loop. I know I'm always looking for new options to try.

    Here's my list

    Veggie combo at Oasis Cafe (21 N Wabash)
    Salads at Sopraffina Cafe (10 N Dearborn)
    Bowl of Ramen at Takashi or a Huarache at Frontera Fresca at Seven on State (111 N State St, Macy's)
    Half a Chicken at Chicken Planet (21 W Jackson)
    Cheeseburger or Chicago-style dog at Max's (20 E Adams)
  • Post #2 - January 19th, 2011, 3:38 pm
    Post #2 - January 19th, 2011, 3:38 pm Post #2 - January 19th, 2011, 3:38 pm
    Pasta at Tuscany Cafe (77 W. Wacker Dr.); adding a soda takes it over $10, but the standard items are around $8. And on Wednesdays you get a free desert.
    The Lamb Kabob at Oasis Cafe
    Tacos at Frontera Fresca on the 7th floor at Macy's
    Bao at Wow Bao (1 West Wacker Drive, but really at the corner of Lake and State); this is also great because you can adjust the amount you're ordering very easily - if I feel hungry I can get 5 bao instead of my normal 4.
    Scottsdale (Reuben) at Goodwins (175 N. Franklin). Lots of great sandwich options, just be prepared to stand in line.
    Chili 5 Ways at Rosebuds takeout counter (70 W. Madison St).

    More as I think of them!
    (I cheated - that was six!)
  • Post #3 - January 19th, 2011, 4:25 pm
    Post #3 - January 19th, 2011, 4:25 pm Post #3 - January 19th, 2011, 4:25 pm
    I will second Takashi.

    If you phone it in, a sandwich from Pastoral

    I wish they had plates, but the assortment of hot and cold foods at Delmonico (less than $8/pound).

    Portabella Sandwich with fries & Shake at Patty Burger

    Not exciting, but it's hot food, Flattop (1 trip & just Lake Michigan's finest & I think you squeak in under $10, I can't remember if that includes tax & tip).
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #4 - January 19th, 2011, 4:26 pm
    Post #4 - January 19th, 2011, 4:26 pm Post #4 - January 19th, 2011, 4:26 pm
    Daily special-Oasis- favorites here are Spinach soup and Moroccan Chicken
    Udon noodle soup spicy-Tokyo Lunch box
    Carved meat sandwich w two sides- Under 55
    grilled cheese w tomato soup-Cavanaugh's
    spicy fried rice with chicken-My Thai
  • Post #5 - January 19th, 2011, 4:27 pm
    Post #5 - January 19th, 2011, 4:27 pm Post #5 - January 19th, 2011, 4:27 pm
    Off the Tracks - Lake and Wells, anything is great, but they have a 2 vienna hot dog special with fries and a drink for $8
    Pastoral - in the french market, great salads and their Cali Chev is one of my favorite sandwiches which I have posted about before
    Blah
    Blah
    Blah

    Honestly I'm sick of everything else in the loop, been working here almost four full years and cannot take it anymore, so someone please post things on here.
  • Post #6 - January 19th, 2011, 4:46 pm
    Post #6 - January 19th, 2011, 4:46 pm Post #6 - January 19th, 2011, 4:46 pm
    Chicken with Mole (or the adobo chicken sandwich) at Pollito's (39 N. Wells)
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #7 - January 19th, 2011, 5:26 pm
    Post #7 - January 19th, 2011, 5:26 pm Post #7 - January 19th, 2011, 5:26 pm
    Did Estelle's, over on Lake & Franklin, close down? I had a hankering for a grubby burger & fries the other day, but the door was locked & lights were out. I was heartbroken.
    "I've always thought pastrami was the most sensuous of the salted cured meats."
  • Post #8 - January 19th, 2011, 5:41 pm
    Post #8 - January 19th, 2011, 5:41 pm Post #8 - January 19th, 2011, 5:41 pm
    I work near Jackson and Clark and pickings are really slim. I try to brown bag it because cheap options in the neighborhood make me sad.

    I'll occasionally go to Cafecito, BenjYehuda, I Dream of Falafel, Potbelly, and Chipotle. I'm a bit sick of all of them, though, so I rarely eat out. I've eliminated two other former "favorites" from my list because one gave me food poisoning and another sent my friend home with a big, live bug in her bag and didn't respond particularly well.

    I really want to like Hannah's Bretzel, and am happy that the second location is so close, but I haven't found a sandwich that justifies the price. I'm sure I'll keep trying given its proximity to my office.

    I've had great burgers at Marc Burger, but that's far enough from my office that I rarely go. If I worked closer, I'm sure I'd go to Macy's more often.

    Ronna
  • Post #9 - January 19th, 2011, 5:50 pm
    Post #9 - January 19th, 2011, 5:50 pm Post #9 - January 19th, 2011, 5:50 pm
    REB wrote:
    I've had great burgers at Marc Burger, but that's far enough from my office that I rarely go. If I worked closer, I'm sure I'd go to Macy's more often.

    Ronna


    2nd Best Milkshake in the city & I love their pickles & coleslaw, it's just that even the portabella sandwich with fries & shake come in over $10. Still Very, very good stuff.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #10 - January 19th, 2011, 8:32 pm
    Post #10 - January 19th, 2011, 8:32 pm Post #10 - January 19th, 2011, 8:32 pm
    I'll add Perry's Deli to the list - http://www.perrysdeli.com/
    “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”
    ― Mark Twain
  • Post #11 - January 20th, 2011, 2:01 pm
    Post #11 - January 20th, 2011, 2:01 pm Post #11 - January 20th, 2011, 2:01 pm
    Cafecito. It's kind of dismissed above but it's still my go-to place for a cheap quick lunch in the Loop. I wouldn't go there every day, but almost everything on their menu is worth a try, including their daily soups, My favorite sandwich there remains the Choripan.

    http://www.cafecitochicago.com/

    Also, in order to be inclusive, don't forget Harold's at 636 S. Wabash.
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #12 - January 24th, 2011, 4:42 pm
    Post #12 - January 24th, 2011, 4:42 pm Post #12 - January 24th, 2011, 4:42 pm
    The salt & pepper smelt (Tuesdays only) or the steamed fish (any day) at Market Creations in the Prudential Building.
    Image


    The sweet chili shrimp and avocado baguette at Pret A Manger.
  • Post #13 - January 24th, 2011, 5:57 pm
    Post #13 - January 24th, 2011, 5:57 pm Post #13 - January 24th, 2011, 5:57 pm
    jbw wrote:Cafecito. It's kind of dismissed above but it's still my go-to place for a cheap quick lunch in the Loop. I wouldn't go there every day, but almost everything on their menu is worth a try, including their daily soups, My favorite sandwich there remains the Choripan.

    http://www.cafecitochicago.com/


    No reason to dismiss Cafecito, still a great place for a sandwich (breakfast or lunch). Provoletta nad Criolla are standouts. And I would go there every day.

    And since I'm talking sandwiches, the halibut at Berghoff's is still great.

    As is Fontano's Pepper & Egg (Fridays during lent).
  • Post #14 - January 24th, 2011, 8:48 pm
    Post #14 - January 24th, 2011, 8:48 pm Post #14 - January 24th, 2011, 8:48 pm
    Ditto the two Market Creations near me at Madison and Wacker; the third floor of the Civic Opera House (nobody knows it's there), and inside the Sears "Willis" Tower. The Loop needs more NYC-style hot food takeouts (although they do have tables and chairs at the Civic Opera location.) I also like the Bon Appetit cafeteria on the mezz level (take the escalator) of the AT&T Center at Franklin and Monroe.
    >>Brent
    "Yankee bean soup, cole slaw and tuna surprise."
  • Post #15 - January 24th, 2011, 11:21 pm
    Post #15 - January 24th, 2011, 11:21 pm Post #15 - January 24th, 2011, 11:21 pm
    All of the lunch specials at Hong Kong Cafe in the Mallers Row building on Wabash. Choice of soup, choice of small appetizer and a very nice chinese lunch. All the tea you can drink if you stay in.

    Might be a little more than 30 minutes but I believe you can take out the specials too.
  • Post #16 - January 25th, 2011, 10:57 am
    Post #16 - January 25th, 2011, 10:57 am Post #16 - January 25th, 2011, 10:57 am
    For mexican food G&G on Adams east of State.
    For chinese-Hong Kong Chef on Wabash and Eat Drink -a trailor parked in a parking lot on Randolph just west of Wells.
    For sandwichs-Pastoral and Berghoff stand up bar.
    G&G has closed. There is one on Jefferson and Jackson.
    Hong Kong Chef has closed.
    Last edited by Elfin on January 17th, 2012, 10:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #17 - January 25th, 2011, 12:26 pm
    Post #17 - January 25th, 2011, 12:26 pm Post #17 - January 25th, 2011, 12:26 pm
    A few things I have been working on.

    French Market is rich in good lunch food:
    Pastoral: awesome sandwiches for $7-9 (try the Blue Pig and Fig)
    Saigon Sisters: Bahn Mi for $7-8 (I like the classic)
    Fumare: Montreal Smoked Hot Pastrami on rye with swiss (it's awesome)

    La Cocina: Al pastor tacos for $2 each (not on menu, you have to ask)
    they have several locations, I go to the one on Wells under the tracks

    Flacos Tacos: Fish taco for $2.25 each (do NOT get the al pastor there)

    Lunch Trucks (follow on twitter for locations)
    Meatyballs Mobile (Thai'd Balls recommended with Truffle dusted chips - $10)
    Gaztro wagon - been there just once...so hard to recommend anything really, but it's above average for sure.
    J&J Jerk Chicken (just the Jerk chicken - dont get anything else - $8 I think) you need to find their number and call to find out where they are.
  • Post #18 - January 14th, 2012, 12:18 pm
    Post #18 - January 14th, 2012, 12:18 pm Post #18 - January 14th, 2012, 12:18 pm
    Do any of these places have sit-down service?
  • Post #19 - January 14th, 2012, 12:45 pm
    Post #19 - January 14th, 2012, 12:45 pm Post #19 - January 14th, 2012, 12:45 pm
    Can you be more specific? Cavanaughs, My Thai, Millers, Pittsfield Cafe all do.
  • Post #20 - January 15th, 2012, 2:45 pm
    Post #20 - January 15th, 2012, 2:45 pm Post #20 - January 15th, 2012, 2:45 pm
    My favorite almost a hidden gem is the Stone Pot dolsot bibimbap at Delmonico's in the pedway by Illinois Center. The buffet is nothing special but the Korean section which makes the stone pot Bim Bim Bap does a great job and its very cheap for downtown standards. The dolsot bibimbap comes in stone serving plate which is very hot to the touch but makes the rice very crispy which adds to the texture of the dish.

    233 N Michigan Ave
    (between Lake St & Wacker Pl)
    Chicago, IL 60601
    (312) 228-0900
    delmonicochicago.com
  • Post #21 - January 16th, 2012, 10:14 am
    Post #21 - January 16th, 2012, 10:14 am Post #21 - January 16th, 2012, 10:14 am
    great stuff at the cellars cafe in the basement of the board of trade building. favorites are the soup esp. bean and chicken tortilla, cream of chicken, the eggplant parm, the meatloaf, mashed potato, mixed veggies. good pork tenderloin and fried chicken. Upstairs is sit down service at ceres restaurant. good salads, similar foods. legendary fish sandwiches.

    good burger at cavenaughs which is sit down.

    there is also a decent cafeteria in the old continental bank building which is bank of america
    now on clark and jackson. chicken planet on jackson...looks suspcious but is good.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #22 - January 16th, 2012, 2:14 pm
    Post #22 - January 16th, 2012, 2:14 pm Post #22 - January 16th, 2012, 2:14 pm
    DKoblesky wrote:Lunch Trucks (follow on twitter for locations)
    Meatyballs Mobile (Thai'd Balls recommended with Truffle dusted chips - $10)
    Gaztro wagon - been there just once...so hard to recommend anything really, but it's above average for sure.
    J&J Jerk Chicken (just the Jerk chicken - dont get anything else - $8 I think) you need to find their number and call to find out where they are.


    I'll add to this part - Pleasant House Bakery just started doing a lunch truck, and last Friday they were at Franklin and Randolph. Same pot pies as at the restaurant, for $8. They told me they were planning on making that a regualr Friday location but with it being as new as it is, best to check on twitter to be sure.
  • Post #23 - January 16th, 2012, 6:48 pm
    Post #23 - January 16th, 2012, 6:48 pm Post #23 - January 16th, 2012, 6:48 pm
    Meatyballs Mobile (Thai'd Balls recommended with Truffle dusted chips - $10)
    Gaztro wagon - been there just once...so hard to recommend anything really, but it's above average for sure.


    Both of these operations have ceased to be.
    Food & Flowers: Garden Myths Busted, by Linda Chalker-Scott of Washington State University; Seed-Saving 101; Beekeeping 101 with Joe Lamp'l

    http://sundevilpeg.tumblr.com/
  • Post #24 - January 18th, 2012, 2:45 pm
    Post #24 - January 18th, 2012, 2:45 pm Post #24 - January 18th, 2012, 2:45 pm
    - Grass-fed sirloin sandwich and/or vegetable barley soup from Hannah's Bretzel
    - Combo plate (gyro/chicken shawerma/falafel) from Taza
    - Chana masala plate from Curried
    - Banh mi from Saigon Sisters
    - Buffalo chicken/tofu burrito from Protein Bar
  • Post #25 - January 18th, 2012, 9:05 pm
    Post #25 - January 18th, 2012, 9:05 pm Post #25 - January 18th, 2012, 9:05 pm
    My usual indulgence on the days I don't bring lunch from home is the steak plate at Med Kitchen:

    http://medkitcheneatery.com/

    Killer orzo salad, garlicky yogurt...what's not to like?
  • Post #26 - January 18th, 2012, 10:09 pm
    Post #26 - January 18th, 2012, 10:09 pm Post #26 - January 18th, 2012, 10:09 pm
    Eva Luna wrote:My usual indulgence on the days I don't bring lunch from home is the steak plate at Med Kitchen:

    http://medkitcheneatery.com/

    Killer orzo salad, garlicky yogurt...what's not to like?


    Med Kitchen is very good as Roti. The Mediterranean chopped Chicken Salad at Roti is one of my go-to lunches.
  • Post #27 - January 18th, 2012, 10:20 pm
    Post #27 - January 18th, 2012, 10:20 pm Post #27 - January 18th, 2012, 10:20 pm
    zoid wrote:
    Eva Luna wrote:My usual indulgence on the days I don't bring lunch from home is the steak plate at Med Kitchen:

    http://medkitcheneatery.com/

    Killer orzo salad, garlicky yogurt...what's not to like?


    Med Kitchen is very good as Roti. The Mediterranean chopped Chicken Salad at Roti is one of my go-to lunches.


    I like Roti, too, but I am fairly sensitive to salt levels, and Roti is much saltier than Med Kitchen. (Which is why I generally bring my own lunch from home - at least I can control the salt levels.) It's not a health issue for me, but I hate feeling like all I want to do after lunch for the rest of the day is drink and pee.

    ETA: I wasn't going crazy - my typical sandwich order (chicken kabob w/eggplant, cabbage slaw, greens, and red pepper aioli) has 1555.6 mg of sodium according to the nutrition calculator on their website.
  • Post #28 - January 19th, 2012, 12:25 pm
    Post #28 - January 19th, 2012, 12:25 pm Post #28 - January 19th, 2012, 12:25 pm
    nicinchic -- by "sit down service" I mean a casual dining restaurant with table service. Thanks for your suggestions.
  • Post #29 - January 19th, 2012, 2:55 pm
    Post #29 - January 19th, 2012, 2:55 pm Post #29 - January 19th, 2012, 2:55 pm
    That part I understood, hence the reply on places I had suggested. I didn't know which restaurants you wanted to know about. There are many, many posts.
  • Post #30 - January 19th, 2012, 10:42 pm
    Post #30 - January 19th, 2012, 10:42 pm Post #30 - January 19th, 2012, 10:42 pm
    I know it has been mentioned - the falafel at the OAsis Cafe

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