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Real Deal Hole-in-the-Wall
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  • Real Deal Hole-in-the-Wall

    Post #1 - June 3rd, 2008, 3:53 pm
    Post #1 - June 3rd, 2008, 3:53 pm Post #1 - June 3rd, 2008, 3:53 pm
    I'm looking for the best hole-in-the-wall places in Chicagoland. I'm talking about the places that you would drive by 100 times and never think to stop. The type of places that when you walk in you think to yourself "Are you sure this is the place?" Any neighborhood, any type of cuisine, just looking for the places that aren't picked up on in your typical Chicago restaurant guide. Thanks in advance.
  • Post #2 - June 3rd, 2008, 4:07 pm
    Post #2 - June 3rd, 2008, 4:07 pm Post #2 - June 3rd, 2008, 4:07 pm
    moss8418 wrote:Any neighborhood, any type of cuisine, just looking for the places that aren't picked up on in your typical Chicago restaurant guide.

    LTHForum Great Neighborhood Restaurant Awards is a good place to start.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #3 - June 3rd, 2008, 4:35 pm
    Post #3 - June 3rd, 2008, 4:35 pm Post #3 - June 3rd, 2008, 4:35 pm
    The back room in El Condor on Milwaukee (just south of Fullerton) fits the description, although I haven't been lately to confirm they still are offering the weekend lunch specials discussed at the above link.
    JiLS
  • Post #4 - June 3rd, 2008, 5:11 pm
    Post #4 - June 3rd, 2008, 5:11 pm Post #4 - June 3rd, 2008, 5:11 pm
    Perhaps taking your request too literally, have you considered:

    Francesco's Hole in the Wall
    254 Skokie Blvd.
    Northbrook, IL 60062
    847-272-0155
  • Post #5 - June 3rd, 2008, 9:01 pm
    Post #5 - June 3rd, 2008, 9:01 pm Post #5 - June 3rd, 2008, 9:01 pm
    Mr. D's Shish-Kabob
    6656 W Diversey Ave
    (between Natoma Ave & Normandy Ave)
    Chicago, IL 60707
    (773) 637-0042

    This place defines hole in the wall. Ugly outside. But it makes up for it by being just as ugly inside. But they have the best fries in the city. Menu selection is sparse. But Mike, his wife and their son turn out some great food.
  • Post #6 - June 4th, 2008, 12:22 am
    Post #6 - June 4th, 2008, 12:22 am Post #6 - June 4th, 2008, 12:22 am
    Moody's Pub
    5910 N. Broadway
    http://www.moodyspub.com/

    In addition to looking nothing like a pub from the outside, Moody's harbors one of the most attractive, quiet, shady, pleasant beer gardens in the city, and has pitchers of Berghoff Dark or house-made sangria for $9, the price of one glass of lesser beer (with tip) at some places downtown or at the ballparks. The burgers and fries can be excellent on good nights, and are always at least solid.

    I second the GNR list for other holes-in-the-wall, particularly Podhalanka, Healthy Food Lithuanian, Ed's Potstickers, and Cemitas Puebla, all of which are quite unassuming from the exterior.
  • Post #7 - June 4th, 2008, 9:44 am
    Post #7 - June 4th, 2008, 9:44 am Post #7 - June 4th, 2008, 9:44 am
    Santander wrote:Moody's Pub
    5910 N. Broadway
    http://www.moodyspub.com/

    In addition to looking nothing like a pub from the outside, Moody's harbors one of the most attractive, quiet, shady, pleasant beer gardens in the city, and has pitchers of Berghoff Dark or house-made sangria for $9, the price of one glass of lesser beer (with tip) at some places downtown or at the ballparks. The burgers and fries can be excellent on good nights, and are always at least solid.


    Apologies to Santander and other Moody's fans, but while I've been there only twice - both visits yielded abysmal, overcooked burgers on stale buns and greasy, limp fries. Our waitress both times was as attractive and statuesque as the beautiful trees adorning beer garden. Her service moved at tree-speed as well.

    My non-GNR real-deal pick might be CND Gyros
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #8 - June 4th, 2008, 12:19 pm
    Post #8 - June 4th, 2008, 12:19 pm Post #8 - June 4th, 2008, 12:19 pm
    Kennyz wrote:Apologies to Santander and other Moody's fans, but while I've been there only twice - both visits yielded abysmal, overcooked burgers on stale buns and greasy, limp fries.

    I know that my friend Gus, at GNR-recognized Wiener and Still Champion, uses burgers from the same source as Moody's, cooks them correctly, uses hand-knotted buns, and has great fries. Could definitely be consider a hole in the wall place.
  • Post #9 - June 4th, 2008, 2:41 pm
    Post #9 - June 4th, 2008, 2:41 pm Post #9 - June 4th, 2008, 2:41 pm
    El Cubanito. I've passed it on a number of occasions, and it's probably as close to a whole in the wall destination location you'll find with the best damn steak sandwich you'll eat in this town.

    El Cubanito
    2555 N Pulaski Rd
    Chicago, IL 60639
    Phone: (773) 235-2555
  • Post #10 - June 4th, 2008, 2:50 pm
    Post #10 - June 4th, 2008, 2:50 pm Post #10 - June 4th, 2008, 2:50 pm
    agree w. El Cubanito, i actually went there for like the 3rd/4th time the other day and wasnt' paying extremely close attention and drove right past it.lol

    Also, Taqueria Puebla, which has a (recently resurrected) thread below, including pics of the place and food. Awesome place, i went there today!
    Never miss an opportunity to shut the Fv3k up!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Post #11 - June 4th, 2008, 8:48 pm
    Post #11 - June 4th, 2008, 8:48 pm Post #11 - June 4th, 2008, 8:48 pm
    midas wrote:Mr. D's Shish-Kabob
    6656 W Diversey Ave
    (between Natoma Ave & Normandy Ave)
    Chicago, IL 60707
    (773) 637-0042

    This place defines hole in the wall. Ugly outside. But it makes up for it by being just as ugly inside. But they have the best fries in the city. Menu selection is sparse. But Mike, his wife and their son turn out some great food.


    Totally agree on this one, great Steak Sandwich, my favorite chili in the city and those fries are the best.
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #12 - June 6th, 2008, 9:56 am
    Post #12 - June 6th, 2008, 9:56 am Post #12 - June 6th, 2008, 9:56 am
    There's a light green, shack-like building at 2134 W. Cermak. No signage. Mexican food. I haven't tried it yet, but it's on the list...
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #13 - June 12th, 2008, 10:22 am
    Post #13 - June 12th, 2008, 10:22 am Post #13 - June 12th, 2008, 10:22 am
    Let's give this interesting thread a bump. My go-to hole in the wall is Taqueria Super Burrito, a place most of you have probably blazed by 50x without noticing, at the corner of Western & LeMoyne (I think - 1 block S. of North & Western on the west side of Western). This is a modest family-run taqueria (3 generations at work!) that stays open until 1 most nights. If you stop in after 10 chances are you'll find them either having a relaxed meal or obsessively cleaning & mopping. The menu consists of mostly familiar items, but almost everything is very well done (and, I believe, homemade daily). The carne asada is my neighborhood favorite, with the exception of the quite dissimilar Pasadita - the steak torta con todos is a beautifully constructed sandwich, fresh bread, fresh accompaniments, and juicy but usually not drippy steak. Burritos, of course, are good too. You can get a chile relleno burrito (that one gets drippy), or al pastor (which, frankly is hit-or-miss - sometimes deeply flavorful, other times mediocre.) Other standouts include chicken enchiladas ($1.50 each, served with a mild red sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, & sour cream), and fantastic gorditas. The homemade red salsa is excellent and unusual, with lots of chile flavor. I've also seen but not tried a good-looking chicken in green sauce and menudo (seems to be the owner's preferred dinners). I don't think they're hurting due to take-out business from the hospital across the street, but still - give them a try. Good people, good food, cheap, quick, and convenient. (Despite the room's casual air, table service is friendly and considerate.) While I'm nattering on, let me also mention La Isla, the Puerto Rican restaurant at North & Campbell that took over from the venerable Ibis. Very friendly people, good Puerto Rican dishes, cheap, comfortable, and quick. They always seem surprised to have "outsiders" walking through the door, but they'll only make you feel welcome. There aren't a lot of other options in this corner of Humboldt Park (oh, excuse me, the realtors are calling it West Bucktown now) so these places save my bacon frequently.
  • Post #14 - June 12th, 2008, 12:39 pm
    Post #14 - June 12th, 2008, 12:39 pm Post #14 - June 12th, 2008, 12:39 pm
    Some people are defining "hole in the wall" in a new way, for me. Moody's, Weiner and Still Champion? Really? I think the Cuban joint on Pulaski qualifies, though.
  • Post #15 - June 12th, 2008, 2:24 pm
    Post #15 - June 12th, 2008, 2:24 pm Post #15 - June 12th, 2008, 2:24 pm
    I guess I don't understand your definition of "hole-in-the-wall." Would Francesco's Hole in the Wall not qualify as a "hole-in-the-wall" by your definition?
  • Post #16 - June 15th, 2008, 10:16 am
    Post #16 - June 15th, 2008, 10:16 am Post #16 - June 15th, 2008, 10:16 am
    Has anyone been to Pakistan BBQ places on Devon? Either:

    Khan BBQ
    2401 W Devon Ave

    Ghareeb Nawaz
    2032 W. Devon Ave

    A friend told me these would definately qualify
  • Post #17 - June 15th, 2008, 10:27 am
    Post #17 - June 15th, 2008, 10:27 am Post #17 - June 15th, 2008, 10:27 am
    moss8418 wrote:Has anyone been to Pakistan BBQ places on Devon?


    Are you making fun of us? :)

    Not only is Khan one of the LTHForum designated Great Neighborhood Restaurants, but it's also one of the most discussed, and most frequented restaurants on the board. Ghareeb Nawaz is another favorite as is Sabri Nehari, among others.

    The search function will turn up a lot of info on those places.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #18 - June 15th, 2008, 10:32 am
    Post #18 - June 15th, 2008, 10:32 am Post #18 - June 15th, 2008, 10:32 am
    Y'know, sometimes I don't respond to posts, because they're just too easy. Yes, a few LTHers have been to Khan BBQ and Ghareeb Nawaz.
    Not sure either would qualify as a hole in the wall, by your initial definition.

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