Logan Square cheap eats
We love the pie at Bang Bang, but we love the biscuits even more. For just a few bucks, get a fluffy biscuit topped with your choice of butters and jams. Or, get it with bacon, sausage, or gravy. Or pimento cheese. The options are endless, but every one is terrific.
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.
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.
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 saccharine horchata in Chicago. One thing you’d expect from a fancier taqueria that you don’t get here: inflated prices.
Making Parson's killer patio even better is a menu thick with affordable dishes. Bar snacks are mere dollars, cocktails are just $6–$8, and a burger sets you back $9.
This place is adorable, with tall mint green bar stools, lots of wood and windows for light, plus dishes served on mismatched china that you can’t help but photograph before diving in. The menu includes 21 sandwiches, divided into hot, cold, fried and grilled cheese sections. It’s a lot to choose from, but the clam belly is a good pick—clam bellies aren’t easy to find around Chicago, and the ones here come tucked into a batard with crisp strips of bacon, butter lettuce and a squiggle of zippy lemon aioli. The reuben has great flavor, with corned beef, muenster, bread and butter pickles and Russian dressing layered on rye bread, though the soggy bottom layer turned it into a fork and knife sandwich.
Owners and partners Adrienne Lo and Abraham Conlon of Fat Rice and the Ladies' Room opened up Fat Rice Bakery with a plethora of both savory and sweet Asian baked goods like coconut tarts, Chinese pig buns and Portuguese egg tarts. Coffee and milk tea are served while diners can grab a table and work or catch up with friends. In the evenings, your large group reservation at Fat Rice may just end up at a table in the bakery.
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.
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.
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.
Thai restaurants in Logan Square are a rarity, and good ones are even more rare. Owned and operated by the same folks who run Nori Sushi restaurants around Chicago, Trike offers up typical Thai fare that goes easy on your wallet. Skip the sushi and stick with noodle dishes like the spicy pad kee mao or the savory Bangkok beef noodle soup.
Conveniently located steps away from the California Blue Line stop, Taqueria Moran is usually packed with diners preparing for an evening out or recovering from the previous night. Affordable tacos and burritos are the house specialties, filled with delicious carne asada, carnitas or al pastor and accompanied by salsa and pickled carrots.