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Aloha Wagon - Plate Lunch at Western & Ogden via Honolulu

Aloha Wagon - Plate Lunch at Western & Ogden via Honolulu
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  • Aloha Wagon - Plate Lunch at Western & Ogden via Honolulu

    Post #1 - November 2nd, 2017, 12:07 pm
    Post #1 - November 2nd, 2017, 12:07 pm Post #1 - November 2nd, 2017, 12:07 pm
    The building at the NE corner of Western and Ogden has been many things over the years. It recently welcomed a new tenant in the form of a plate lunch place. Thus doubling the number of Hawaiian restaurants in Chicago. When I drove by one day this past summer I noticed the coming soon sign with the hashtag #AlohaWagon and I looked it up on instagram. Turns out the people behind this place used to run a food truck of the same name in Honolulu. I browsed through their instagram page and noticed a post saying they were moving to Chicago. I was excited for their arrival.

    ImageWestern and Ogden

    They opened last month and me and my friend who spends time with family in Hawaii each year didn't wait long to go check it out. Happy to report they were doing good business when we arrived so I didn't get to chat it up with the couple behind this place. But I'm pretty sure he's from there and she's from around here. She works the front and he cooks it up. For now the menu is sandwiches and plate lunch. Browsing their insta page I noticed they ran tons of specials in Hawaii and they plan to do the same here. In the meantime the Plate Lunch is perfect. We got the mixed plate with BBQ Chicken and Kalua Pork as well as a Loco Moco. Even though I've never been to da islands my guy liked it alot and I thought it was on par with spots like Ono Kine Grindz in MKE. I'll be riding the Aloha Wagon all winter.

    ImagePlate Lunch (Mixed Plate / Loco Moco)

    Aloha Wagon
    1247 S Western Ave
    Chicago, IL 60608
    (312) 888-9613
  • Post #2 - November 2nd, 2017, 12:41 pm
    Post #2 - November 2nd, 2017, 12:41 pm Post #2 - November 2nd, 2017, 12:41 pm
    1) This is a very exciting development and I'm penciling it in for a visit ASAP to support my people.

    2) Thank you for not including all of the poke places or Mahalo as Hawaiian restaurants in the city. Not being sarcastic.
  • Post #3 - November 15th, 2017, 9:17 am
    Post #3 - November 15th, 2017, 9:17 am Post #3 - November 15th, 2017, 9:17 am
    This is some kama'aina-worthy stuff on Ogden:

    Image

    Deeper smoke flavor in the kalua pork and (unpictured) sausage-vegetable (sometimes called wedding) soup than the last five Chicago barbecue places I've tried, and the mixed plate composition is textbook, down to the piping fried-to-order mains melting the delicious mac salad. [Haven't personally run into craisins on Oahu but there are only so many hours in the day there].

    The pork gets a quick steam-up over a mound of fresh cabbage on the griddle before mixing, and the chicken katsu has a perfect tempura crunch and is served with a large container of floral katsu sauce. Kona coffee is brewed in small batches - the couple running the place clearly has a thing for quality control in the tiny kitchen. Not a place for eat-in, but a worthy Tardis to Waikiki.
  • Post #4 - November 15th, 2017, 4:31 pm
    Post #4 - November 15th, 2017, 4:31 pm Post #4 - November 15th, 2017, 4:31 pm
    That feels like a tough location to open a restaurant. I guess EL ideas did it though. . .
  • Post #5 - November 16th, 2017, 1:59 pm
    Post #5 - November 16th, 2017, 1:59 pm Post #5 - November 16th, 2017, 1:59 pm
    Santander's pic of the combo plate above sent me hightailing over there for lunch. And I had to order the same damn thing.

    That katsu, succulent chicken thigh encased in ethereal crisp, perfection. The sauce I received had an anise-y sweetness, but in color and predominate flavor, to me, it seemed to be doctored BBQ sauce.

    The kahlua pork was as smoky as advertised above. I get the gentle reheat on the mound of cabbage, to prevent drying out. Though chef then mixes it all together and I found myself picking through the vegetation for morsels of meat. I love cabbage though, so all good.

    Sides played their part. The medium grain rice was perfectly cooked just right sticky.

    The owners could not have been sweeter. I mentioned LTH, they seemed to be somewhat aware of an online buzz.

    I agree its a funny location, but I've been known to shoot down Ogden from West Town for Whities, its a pretty central-ish locale. And with prices that low– the combo, two meals worth, at $10.50, not to mention sammies and tacos in the $3-$5 price range– I can see my young friends from Pilsen cruising up Western. There was a steady stream of (pretty diverse) traffic at 1:30. And Louisa Chu just profiled them in the Trib today, so that should help.

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