Logan Square has some of the best restaurants in the city, but dining in the neighborhood doesn't have to be pricey. Whether you want dirt cheap tacos, a killer Cuban sandwich, a slice of pie, or a bagel with an innovative spread, here's where to find cheap eats in Logan Square.
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Thanks to local design crew Alter Ego, this Logan Square pizza bar looks like the Mos Eisley cantina from Star Wars collided with the local transportation department—seat belts, CTA doors and all. Nobody expects great pizza from a bar, so while we’ve had good luck with the meatballs-and-giardiniera pizza, chalk up any gaffes to the Jameson on tap—a shot of the stuff with a PBR tall boy and a slice of pizza rings in at $7.50.
At this new spot, run by former coworkers at the Dill Pickle Food Co-op, you'll find fantastic bread, salads, sandwiches and more. Everything is made in-house, and sprouted rye transforms a smoked beet salad with shaved red onions into a surprisingly elegant dish for such a casual spot. At the counter, there’s a little case of pastries, like a perfect canele, its spongy center encased with a crunchy, caramelized exterior. You can buy pastries and bread to go, as well, and it’s not a bad idea to take a loaf home for dinner.
Welcome to the “Nine Levels of Hell”: poblano peppers, pepperoni, giardiniera, bacon, fresh garlic, jalapeño, sausage, red onion and banana peppers, together forming the “Inferno.” This pizza sounds terrifying, but, trust us, it won’t hurt. The heat’s present but mild-mannered, the thin crust is pleasantly chewy, and the thing is huge. The pizzas have more going for them than the bare room they’re served in, so do carryout or delivery, or resign yourself to the Tenth Level of Hell: eating greasy pizza on a paper plate while some kid bangs on a video game.
This Mexican mainstay has an amazing back patio; potent and fruity margaritas; sweet-as-pie servers; and decent dishes for a nice price. Favorites include tilapia tacos, inky black beans with perfect white rice, plantains with crispy edges and the giant red snapper with crispy coating. The potato tacos keep vegetarians happy, as does the ever-present owner, José, who’s quick to pour tequila shots for newcomers and old friends.
It seems counterintuitive, but trust us: You’re going to want to eat a sandwich as your entrée and then get a second sandwich for dessert. Start with one of the Cubanos—the crusty bread grilled to a flaky crunch, the pork and ham complemented by a healthy slathering of mustard—and wash it down with a coconut soda. But don’t fill up: If you don’t order the pan con timba—warm bread, mild slices of Swiss and a sweet center of guava—you’re missing the best part.
This small Italian grocery store has just about everything you need to cook a great pasta dinner, but it's hard to resist the made-to-order sandwiches offered at the deli counter. The best of the bunch is the All Italian, which features a generous portion of freshly sliced salami, mortadella and Krakus ham topped with a tangy, housemade dressing.
When a Topolobampo vet opens his own taqueria, you expect certain upgrades from a typical counter-service taco-slinger, and here, you get them: chunky guac dotted with pomegranate seeds accompanied by fresh-from-the-fryer chips sprinkled with sea salt; fish tacos with a perfectly fried filet, crunchy cabbage, fresh pico de gallo and a hint of serrano aioli; the most impossibly tender chunks of chicken in its pollo adobado taco; and maybe the least saccharin horchata in Chicago. One thing you’d expect from a fancier taqueria that you don’t get here: inflated prices.
The standing room only Red Hot Ranch has a menu that's just as spare as its interior. There's Depression Dogs, which are a stripped down version of the Chicago dog: there's mustard, onions, relish and sport peppers, plus a handful of fries, and paper bags of fried shrimp, which you can get with regular or spicy cocktail sauce. The fact that Red Hot Ranch is open till 4am on weeknights and 5am on weekends means it's your best bet for late-night food in the neighborhood.