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Affordable Eating in Chicago?

- Hye Sung

Recently I made a 4-day trip to Chicago and to be honest, I was a little bit nervous. I saved up some money for the trip and I was able to stay with a friend, avoiding the monstrous cost of staying at a hotel, but I know myself… and I really like food. I was thinking about all the gelato, pizza, panini[s], burritos, curries, etc., that I would be avoiding so that my wallet would not be completely emptied by the end of the trip. Straining myself to such a degree for four days seemed impossible. What was I supposed to eat–a bag of carrot sticks and a Capri Sun for lunch and a slice of mediocre pizza for dinner? In Chicago?!

Thankfully, I found some places that were delicious and affordable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These would have to be my top 3 favorite affordable and delicious eateries in Chicago.

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3) Medici on 57th, in Hyde Park, was a great find while I was on a morning walk. I didn’t realize I was hungry till I walked past the storefront and I shamelessly eye’d a customer’s fresh mozz sandwich. Sitting on ciabatta with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, some mixed greens and a fair drizzling of balsamic pesto dressing, I fell in love. The service was incredibly friendly, there was plenty of seating inside and outside, the food was fresh (the bread baked on site), it was affordable, they had a menu for every meal (including brunch), and there were gluten-free options for people who need that sort ofthing. Basically, this place was incredible.

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2) I ended up going to Falafel & Grill because everything in Wicker Park seemed to be a bit pricy and I was also being a bit indecisive and after 40 minutes of trying to figure out what to eat, I just decided to choose the closest restaurant. Thankfully, it was Falafel & Grill. Falafel shops are usually pretty safe places to dine at. There will be meat, pickles, maybe hummus or tzaziki sauce, and you probably can get some fries or chips. The chicken shawarma in this place, though, is more than some yummy meat. It was exceptional. Not only was the shawarma authentic, but the people who work there are friendly and seem to really enjoy their job.

Picture 21) Flash Taco in Wicker Park has a short, simple, and tasty menu. Though they offer quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, taco salads, nachos, breakfast plates, and huaraches, their taco menu includes only 6 different tacos, none more than $2.75. The food is cheap, yummy, and the service is both quick and friendly. I found myself at Flash Taco multiple times during my stay in Chicago, especially when I needed something to tide me over for the next meal.

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