Chi-town Cheap Eats

Stuff your face without emptying your wallet.

by Bo Suh

Northwesterners always hear Chicago is just a quick ‘L’ ride away. But where to begin? Luckily, we’ve compiled this list of cheap and delicious eats around the Windy City, recommended by BuzzFeed and tested by NBN, that aren’t too far from good ol’ Evanston.

The Bad Apple

4300 N. Lincoln Ave (Ravenswood)

Dish: Edmund Fig-Gerald Burger

Price: $11

If the restaurant in Bob’s Burgers had a real-life equivalent, it would be The Bad Apple. The menu is full of classic American burgers with a twist, like “The Wrath of Julia Child” and “The Land of the Brie.” Without losing the homey, welcoming atmosphere necessary for a good burger joint, The Bad Apple pays a lot of attention to detail, elevating it into a refined and gourmet must-go for lovers of all-American food.

Some of the combinations don’t sound like they would ever be assembled into burger form: The “Edmund Fig-Gerald” combines fig and bacon relish, goat cheese and smoked onion into a unique and tasty burger. Like most other burger joints, The Bad Apple offers a variety of seasonings to go along with its hand-cut fries, including minced garlic, Old Bay seasoning, truffle and spicy chipotle.

Antique Taco

1360 N. Milwaukee Ave (Wicker Park)

Dish: Crispy Fish Tacos

Price: $8

Antique Taco embodies Wicker Park’s love for a vintage aesthetic combined with modern sensibility. Everything from the typography on the menu to the mason jars by the water dispenser exudes a nostalgia for 20th-century America, despite the restaurant’s Mexican roots. The menu also reflects this Mexican-American blend: The tacos include complementary ingredients from both cuisines, such as steak and potato hash combined with cilantro and queso.

And it’s inexpensive – only one food item on the menu exceeds $10.


2940 N. Broadway Street (Lakeview)

Dish: Whole Jumbo Wings

Price: $8.95

There is something beautiful about eating Korean-fried chicken served by a bearded white guy while Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta” plays on the restaurant speakers. Could this be the American Dream? The embodiment of the melting pot?

Fried chicken was a popular dish among Korean Americans long before entering the mainstream, and Crisp continues that legacy with more of an American touch. With the exception of Buffalo sauce and Korean “burritos,” the menu remains traditionally Korean albeit with catchy dish names like “Seoul Sassy” chicken wings and the “Original Bad Boy Buddha” bowl. On each table was a container of Gochujang, Korean red pepper paste. The fridge also offers Milkis, a popular Korean cream soda.

The only drawback? The five wings were not filling enough – I left feeling like I could have eaten another serving.