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Lunch Under $5 [List]

Lunch Under $5 [List]
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  • Post #61 - September 18th, 2006, 1:53 pm
    Post #61 - September 18th, 2006, 1:53 pm Post #61 - September 18th, 2006, 1:53 pm
    Mama Falco's reopened in the Loop in the Marquette building lobby (no street access). Plates of pasta with meat or marinara sauce, bread and butter go for $4.40 including tax. Sliced pizza specials with pop also under $5. You can catch daily wing special at Harolds (on Wells between Madison and Washington) for under $5. Once a week Marquette Inn has a mac and cheese special too. PotBelly's has salads for $5 plus tax.
    Honey, people will eat anything. Hildegard the maid.
  • Post #62 - September 18th, 2006, 5:06 pm
    Post #62 - September 18th, 2006, 5:06 pm Post #62 - September 18th, 2006, 5:06 pm
    Ann Fisher wrote:Pan pizza, baked on a cookie sheet (or, more accurately, I suppose, a jelly roll or bun pan) and served in rectangles about 4X6 inches. So one piece really is a substantial serving and even Ed is full at two. Nice balance between sauce and cheese, not too much of either. Cheese more crunchy than gloppy. Crust well cooked, not crunchy, not doughy, but done. IIRC a cannoli is about 89 cents, and they have lots of other Italian desserts as well.
    And, as you observe, once you're at Johnny's or Gene and Jude's you're practically there.

    All right, so I got out there and filled up on west-side goodness for lunch today. The bad news is I found the pizza at Caputo's disappointing. (Sorry, Ann...) The good news is that it motivated me to try Johnnie's and Gene & Jude's all in a single trip -- resulting in one of the best lunches I've had in a long time. (Thanks, Ann!)

    I hope I didn't find the wrong pizza counter or anything, but I did buy a dollar slice of cheese pizza -- the sausage was a buck-twenty-five, if I recall correctly -- which was wrapped for me in aluminum foil by the worker at the counter (and which I had to take to the front to pay for). Unfortunately, by the time I finally got out to Melrose Park, about 2:10 or so, the decidedly wedge-sliced piece was merely mildly warm sitting under its dedicated heat lamp. At this stage, the inch-thick breading did nothing for me, and I came to the (I believe) reasonable conclusion that the cheese was the main reason for the pizza's being, and that it would be better evaluated after a short stint in an oven of some kind. I was also informed by the help that free cans of soda are only available on Saturdays and Sundays, while being regularly priced at 55 cents on weekdays.

    This encouraged me to use my previously produced map to find Johnnie's for some beef and Italian ice and, if necessary, make a follow-up jaunt up to Gene & Jude's as a freshly fried finisher. It somehow slipped my mind to order my combo juicy/dipped, but I survived and even had room to spare for a fry/wiener combo, too. Johnnie's would've fit under the $5 limit if I'd ordered a regular drink, but neither Johnnie's nor Gene & Jude's would qualify in the lunch poll as they were mainly comprised of either sandwiches or hot dogs. With that in mind, feel free to visit my personal blog for a few more details on my lunch break today as well as a brief overview of my foodie adventures this past weekend.

    Note to self: gotta hit Pita Inn for their lunch special this week (and, if at all possible, tomorrow). Time's a' wastin', folks: don't settle for overpriced food that doesn't taste great -- there's so much more to try out there! It's a lesson I'm gladly learning these days.

    Gratefully yours,
    Dan
  • Post #63 - September 18th, 2006, 9:00 pm
    Post #63 - September 18th, 2006, 9:00 pm Post #63 - September 18th, 2006, 9:00 pm
    I'm glad the trip was salvaged. At least you weren't out a lot of money. :D

    I did have second thoughts about whether I'd remembered the right shape of Caputo's pizza. Now we know why. (Not to mention that now we know why I can never remember people's faces!). But I'm sure mine was improved by eating it there--not to mention by my appreciation for the weekend special pricing!
  • Post #64 - September 18th, 2006, 9:55 pm
    Post #64 - September 18th, 2006, 9:55 pm Post #64 - September 18th, 2006, 9:55 pm
    Ann Fisher wrote:I'm glad the trip was salvaged. At least you weren't out a lot of money. :D

    In all, I spent $1.09 (for the slice) + $6.01 (for the combo and ice) + $1.94 (for the dog and fries) = $9.04 (including tax) for varied lunch periphernalia today. I would gladly spend it again, especially if said locations were up here on the north side. :)

    Ann Fisher wrote:I did have second thoughts about whether I'd remembered the right shape of Caputo's pizza. Now we know why. (Not to mention that now we know why I can never remember people's faces!). But I'm sure mine was improved by eating it there--not to mention by my appreciation for the weekend special pricing!

    I nuked that leftover slice of cheese pizza in the microwave just now, and it didn't turn out that bad with the cheese all warm and pliant. (With such a small amount of sauce, however, the cheese barely bubbled in the reheat.) When hot and fresh, I can imagine how the bready crust might complement the level of toppings, but I somehow longed for my favorite thin butter crust -- in a Reggio's frozen cheese pie -- in that moment of reconsideration. I'm still glad I went out and satisfied my curiosity, however, so thanks for the tip, anyway, Ann. 8)

    Not to go off on a wild tangent, but has anyone tried a "fresh" Reggio's pizza from one of their storefront outposts? I've passed one such location on the way home from the Bridgeport/Chinatown area a number of times, and I was wondering what frozen-pizza folks thought of the fares. (I also saw a pricey counter at O'Hare recently, but I was too scared of airport abominations -- meaning, terrible franchised renditions of original classics -- to pull the trigger then.)

    REGGIO'S PIZZA
    UIC University Village
    Dine-In, carryout and delivery
    [url=http://maps.google.com/maps?oi=map&q=1339+S+Halsted,+Chicago,+IL+60607]1339 S. Halsted
    Chicago, IL 60607[/url]
    (Delivery within a 7 mile radius)
    Call (312) 455-1211 to place an order

    Anyone give this place a try... for lunch? I guess I should also mention that I regularly pick up frozen 18 oz.(?) Reggio's cheese pizzas for three bucks or less at Aldi or during a sale at Jewel or Dominick's, so that makes a possible candidate for the $5 rule. ;) Here's a 50-cent retail coupon if it helps any -- I had no idea they had one until now.

    Getting hungry again,
    Dan
  • Post #65 - September 18th, 2006, 10:05 pm
    Post #65 - September 18th, 2006, 10:05 pm Post #65 - September 18th, 2006, 10:05 pm
    I like both the thick, bready, cheesy, sausagey pizza at Caputo Cheese (when hot.. I've never eaten it any time except in the car after leaving the store) and the frozen reggios product -- one of the best frozen thinc rusts I've had.

    I'd completely forgotten about the reggio's at UIC, and I'll probably subject my wife to it at some point in the near future.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #66 - September 19th, 2006, 2:16 am
    Post #66 - September 19th, 2006, 2:16 am Post #66 - September 19th, 2006, 2:16 am
    gleam wrote:I like both the thick, bready, cheesy, sausagey pizza at Caputo Cheese (when hot.. I've never eaten it any time except in the car after leaving the store) and the frozen reggios product -- one of the best frozen thinc rusts I've had.

    I actually attempted that very thing with the slice from Caputo, but the cheese slice had been out too long for me to appreciate its merits; two bites and that was it for me. I wonder when the pizzas come out of the oven each day 'cuz I'd love to try their sausage (or cheese) at its best someday.

    gleam wrote:I'd completely forgotten about the reggio's at UIC, and I'll probably subject my wife to it at some point in the near future.

    I'm too wary of deep dish to try the frozen Reggio's product in that vein, but it's good to hear from another fan of the Reggio's thin-crust variety. (Yeah, I'm an unrepentant thin-crust lover.) At any rate, sausage used to be my favorite frozen topping, but then I grew weary of the meat's composition. Cheese now reigns supreme in my freezer. If you ever do hit the UIC Reggio's, please share your thoughts concerning the location and the pizza. I'd appreciate it ever so much.

    Thanks for the post, Ed,
    Dan
  • Post #67 - September 19th, 2006, 10:25 am
    Post #67 - September 19th, 2006, 10:25 am Post #67 - September 19th, 2006, 10:25 am
    Atino's lunch special, jumbo slice and a pop $3.79. Cut from an 18"x25" sheet pizza this is surprisingly good pizza. I believe Atino's slices are also sold from the Thunderbird catering roach coaches that roam the area at lunch time.
    Image

    Atino's Pizza (Next to Manny's on Jefferson)
    570 W. Roosevelt
    Chicago
    312 994 0800
  • Post #68 - September 19th, 2006, 4:12 pm
    Post #68 - September 19th, 2006, 4:12 pm Post #68 - September 19th, 2006, 4:12 pm
    JSM wrote:Atino's lunch special, jumbo slice and a pop $3.79. Cut from an 18"x25" sheet pizza this is surprisingly good pizza.

    Mmm... lookin' good... now that seems like more than an adequate excuse to go downtown. :)

    JSM wrote:I believe Atino's slices are also sold from the Thunderbird catering roach coaches that roam the area at lunch time.

    Okay, maybe a little less appetizing, but informative, nonetheless. Thanks for the great pic!

    --Dan
  • Post #69 - September 19th, 2006, 11:49 pm
    Post #69 - September 19th, 2006, 11:49 pm Post #69 - September 19th, 2006, 11:49 pm
    So this one misses the mark by a penny, but the regular gyros go for $5.00 at Cross-Rhodes, that wonderfully Greek-American joint in Evanston at 913 Chicago Avenue. (Check Cathy2's post from January for a more complete description of the gyros, fries, and other operational details.)

    I stopped by 15 minutes from closing tonight and ordered the standard gyros sandwich (as opposed to the $6.25 "king size" one) -- er, category disqualification here? -- with extra tsatziki sauce (55 cents), a half order of lemony Greek fries (a buck-thirty), and a dollar Sprite. Only one gyros cone was running so late at night, but I just wanted to sample the meat, so I wasn't overly concerned. A tip entered the picture, too, as my order was taken at my table, but the Vietnamese guys who served me were friendly and were perfectly willing to answer my questions about portion sizes. In the end, I was seriously full after finishing my meal.

    I believe Mr. Cross-Rhodes was running the operation while I was there as he stopped by several times to ask how my food was and to check up on me -- after joking about treating me like I'm in a real restaurant when I first came in. :roll: One funny thing was that both the Vietnamese guys and the proprietor (I believe this Hawaiian-shirt-wearing guy was Mr. Cross-Rhodes) asked what my country of origin was. I guess I might not look like a typical Korean, but I thought it interesting that they would ask; not many restaurant folks do. Of course, Mr. C-R also asked about my Northwestern sweater, so I figure he's just an inquisitive and social kind of guy.

    Nevertheless, I had a great time and enjoyed my meal (including the soda, which was dispensed with a straw in a tall yet slim glass). Should be even more fun at lunchtime. :P

    Filling my gyros quota for the week,
    Dan
  • Post #70 - September 20th, 2006, 12:12 am
    Post #70 - September 20th, 2006, 12:12 am Post #70 - September 20th, 2006, 12:12 am
    Bacci Pizza on Taylor.

    A slice (bigger than your head) and a liter of pop for a fin.

    Sure the crust is doughy and the cheese cheesy. But what the hey.

    Just close your eyes and imagine you are 20 and in college...

    Bacci Pizza
    2248 W. Taylor St.
  • Post #71 - September 20th, 2006, 2:17 am
    Post #71 - September 20th, 2006, 2:17 am Post #71 - September 20th, 2006, 2:17 am
    Since Evanston was mentioned, i have to say that i think the 1/3 lb char cheese burger, reg order of fries and a med drink combo meal we serve for $4.95, tax included, is quite the deal. The hotdog, fries, drink with a dipping dog corndog for $4.80 also isn't bad.

    Bacci has a few locations. Last time i went, a slice with a drink, free refills, was $3.75. As it was noted before, pizza not that good.
  • Post #72 - September 20th, 2006, 2:42 am
    Post #72 - September 20th, 2006, 2:42 am Post #72 - September 20th, 2006, 2:42 am
    gp60004 wrote:Since Evanston was mentioned, i have to say that i think the 1/3 lb char cheese burger, reg order of fries and a med drink combo meal we serve for $4.95, tax included, is quite the deal. The hotdog, fries, drink with a dipping dog corndog for $4.80 also isn't bad.

    Bacci has a few locations. Last time i went, a slice with a drink, free refills, was $3.75. As it was noted before, pizza not that good.

    Was those first two deals from an Evanston-area Bacci location, gp, or from another restaurant/chain? The 1/3-lb. char cheddar cheeseburger from Poochies in Skokie is pretty darned good ($3.60, I believe) -- would you say that burger is in the same league?

    Just curious,
    Dan
  • Post #73 - September 20th, 2006, 2:51 am
    Post #73 - September 20th, 2006, 2:51 am Post #73 - September 20th, 2006, 2:51 am
    Gus, not everyone knows your place. gp60004 was referring to:

    Wiener and Still Champion
    802 W. Dempster
    Evanston
    847-869-0100

    I don't know how the food compares to Poochie's, but I do know it's far better than it has a right to be.
  • Post #74 - September 20th, 2006, 3:04 am
    Post #74 - September 20th, 2006, 3:04 am Post #74 - September 20th, 2006, 3:04 am
    nr706 wrote:Gus, not everyone knows your place. gp60004 was referring to:

    Wiener and Still Champion
    802 W. Dempster
    Evanston
    847-869-0100

    I don't know how the food compares to Poochie's, but I do know it's far better than it has a right to be.

    Ah, thanks for the info! I'd seen a few mentions of Wiener and Still Champion on these boards recently and wondered where exactly it was. Maybe I'll have to make a trek out there in the near future to see what's up.

    Thanks again,
    Dan
  • Post #75 - September 20th, 2006, 9:50 am
    Post #75 - September 20th, 2006, 9:50 am Post #75 - September 20th, 2006, 9:50 am
    fastfoodsnob wrote:would you say that burger is in the same league?

    Just curious,
    Dan


    Well, I can tell you we use the same burger patty that Poochies uses but we upgraded our bun. It isn't the standard machine made sesame seed bun most places use but instead a hand formed knot roll.

    Make sure to specify doneness though. Most come out on the well done side.

    Same league? You would have to judge that for yourself. My opinion doesn't really count.
  • Post #76 - September 20th, 2006, 10:02 am
    Post #76 - September 20th, 2006, 10:02 am Post #76 - September 20th, 2006, 10:02 am
    Hopefully this will make up for all the times I have neglecteed to mention Weiner and still Champion:)

    My kids and I love this place, the corn dogs are the best in the area and I think the burgers are an excellent value, especially with the Merkts cheese. Great hand cut fries, generous sodas, and the kids like the hot dogs. I've only ever had a bite of a char dog but it was good.

    It's on my short list of good cheap places to eat.
  • Post #77 - September 20th, 2006, 12:34 pm
    Post #77 - September 20th, 2006, 12:34 pm Post #77 - September 20th, 2006, 12:34 pm
    gp60004 wrote:Well, I can tell you we use the same burger patty that Poochies uses but we upgraded our bun. It isn't the standard machine made sesame seed bun most places use but instead a hand formed knot roll.

    Make sure to specify doneness though. Most come out on the well done side.

    Same league? You would have to judge that for yourself. My opinion doesn't really count.

    A hand-formed knot roll? Intriguing... if you're still open later tonight, I might have to stop by to check that out. (11-9 daily, right? Centerstage and metromix have different hours listed for an establishment running since 1975, as well as differing hours for Sunday afternoons.) When I went to Poochie's, I asked for medium or medium well, which is a pretty good indicator of a patty's quality for me. Might have to make two trips to really gauge both the burger and the dog/dipped combos, but I wouldn't consider that too much of a burden in the end. :)

    Love the specials,
    Dan
  • Post #78 - September 20th, 2006, 2:38 pm
    Post #78 - September 20th, 2006, 2:38 pm Post #78 - September 20th, 2006, 2:38 pm
    fastfoodsnob wrote:[11-9 daily[/url], right? Centerstage and metromix have different hours listed for an establishment running since 1975, as well as differing hours for Sunday afternoons.)


    yes...10:30 to 9 most days. Sunday til about 4.
  • Post #79 - September 20th, 2006, 4:02 pm
    Post #79 - September 20th, 2006, 4:02 pm Post #79 - September 20th, 2006, 4:02 pm
    c8w wrote:
    polster wrote:When I used to work in the area I used to go to Pita Inn for there lunch special which is $3.95 and has a lot food for the price.
    PITA INN (taken from their website) - http://www.pitainn.com/menu.html
    BUSINESS LUNCH SPECIAL (Mon-Fri: 11am-3pm)
    Combination of Shish Kabob, Kifta Kabob, Shawarma and Falafel served with rice pilaf, salad and our homemade pita bread. (Add chicken for $1.00) $3.95


    This would be my entry too, BTW - Pita Inn raised their prices about a year
    ago, but the one item on the menu that stayed the same price was this
    lunch special. It is a ridiculously popular item, and one of the best deals in
    Chicago with a huge amount of food (between 12 and 1, you have a huge
    wait for food at Pita Inn, unless you do a call-in-and-pick-up). Also, BTW,
    the "1 dollar for additional chicken" isnt worth it, usually - it is only "chicken
    tenders". If you want to add chicken shawarma, which is very good at
    Pita Inn, that would be well worth it - but would push you over the 5
    dollar limit for this thread. (In terms of quantity of food, that would probably
    be too much as well).

    Stopped by Pita Inn for the lunch special today, but the visit didn't turn out to be as special as I had hoped.

    First off, my order-number calling was botched, so an expected 5-15 minute wait turned into a 30-minute grind. No joke. Then, when I finally tore into the plate and pita offered (after apologies from the staff), the meat just wasn't as impressive as the food I'd had on previous visits. Maybe it was the lunchtime rush, or the effect of eating too much good food on Devon recently, but I found my plate lacking. Half the meat was overly chewy -- without being overcooked -- and almost everything seemed to require a dip in the hot sauce to add some extra flavor. Just not very special in my mind. (I never really liked the rice there, but I ate most of it with the sauce today because I was so hungry.)

    On a side note, there was a sign posted on the wall behind the order counter touting the $4.95 business lunch special with chicken tenders included. Surprised by this, I checked the take-out menus on offer and found the same $3.95 11-to-3 special as always. Thankfully, I was still able to order the special without the tenders for $4.30 with tax, but I did have to specify that I wanted my meal without the chicken.

    After the disappointment today, I'll probably have to check out the kebab places on Kedzie or the other "Mediterranean"-style restaurants on Dempster before giving Pita Inn a try again. (Check out this Skokie list for some possible options like Basha, Kabul House, and Larsa's on the same street.) I suppose the saving grace was that I didn't spend more than five dollars in the process. Hope your visits turn out better than mine.

    Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks,
    Dan
  • Post #80 - September 21st, 2006, 1:27 pm
    Post #80 - September 21st, 2006, 1:27 pm Post #80 - September 21st, 2006, 1:27 pm
    fastfoodsnob wrote:
    gp60004 wrote:Well, I can tell you we use the same burger patty that Poochies uses but we upgraded our bun. It isn't the standard machine made sesame seed bun most places use but instead a hand formed knot roll.

    Make sure to specify doneness though. Most come out on the well done side.

    Same league? You would have to judge that for yourself. My opinion doesn't really count.

    A hand-formed knot roll? Intriguing... if you're still open later tonight, I might have to stop by to check that out.... When I went to Poochie's, I asked for medium or medium well, which is a pretty good indicator of a patty's quality for me. Might have to make two trips to really gauge both the burger and the dog/dipped combos, but I wouldn't consider that too much of a burden in the end. :)

    Love the specials,
    Dan

    So I made the trip over to Wiener and Still Champion for lunch with my sister and her husband today. Gus was occupied elsewhere when I arrived, but he did tell the guys to be expecting me. Feeling quite honored, I knew I had to try both the cheddar-burger combo (the standard cheeseburger uses American cheese) as well as one of those much-discussed dipping dogs (which I only had to pay an extra dollar for when added to a combo meal). As noted earlier in this thread, double-dog (dipping or regular) and non-cheddar burger combo meals all fit under five dollars; I just like cheddar. :D

    I bit into my burger right after it came off the grill, leading to a juicy patty that I could immediately tell was not overcooked. If I can make a superficial comparison to Poochie's char cheddar cheeseburger, WaSC's version was just as tasty and dripped less grease. In fact, I don't remember much (if any) oil dropping on my hands as I ate, which is fairly remarkable in my mind. The knot roll was delicious, and the hot fries were an excellent complement to the savory sandwich. (The cheddar used was Merkt's, right?) Knowing I'd probably have space for that extra dipping dog later, I arranged to have it prepared after I finished my main course, and I most certainly did not regret ordering it. (The corn casing was very similar to corn meal/bread in texture and taste.) The only thing I missed was not ordering a regular hot dog, as my main purpose today was to evaluate the cheddar burger. I'll have to try one (or a few) on my next trip, of which you can be sure there'll be one (and likely many more after that).

    Wiener and Still Champion is now firmly ensconced in my short list of must-eat joints in Evanston. Just don't keep it a secret for too much longer! A great experience and highly recommended.

    Wiener and Still Champion
    802 W. Dempster
    Evanston, IL 60202
    [Just west of the El, Sherman, and Chicago Ave. on Dempster]
    (847) 869-0100

    Thanks for the awesome food (and, yeah, I still paid for it),
    Dan

    P.S. Hope there's an official web site somewhere (coming soon?) that lists the menu items and such -- even in an incomplete state -- as that restaurant history on the back of the take-out menu's just beggin' to be posted somewhere online. The take-out menu's description of the salads as "Coming Summer 06" might need to be updated as we move into the fall as well. All in all, I was very happy with my experience, and it's always a good thing when relatives agree to willingly return to a fast-food outlet frequently in the future. Just make sure the credit card machine's in tip-top shape for plastic-carrying folks, too, 'cuz they need it! ("Major credit cards accepted with $8.00 minimum order.")
  • Post #81 - September 21st, 2006, 6:49 pm
    Post #81 - September 21st, 2006, 6:49 pm Post #81 - September 21st, 2006, 6:49 pm
    fastfoodsnob wrote:
    fastfoodsnob wrote:[Feeling quite honored, I knew I had to try both the cheddar-burger combo (the standard cheeseburger uses American cheese) as well as one of those much-discussed dipping dogs (which I only had to pay an extra dollar for when added to a combo meal). As noted earlier in this thread, double-dog (dipping or regular) and non-cheddar burger combo meals all fit under five dollars; I just like cheddar. :D

    I bit into my burger right after it came off the grill, leading to a juicy patty that I could immediately tell was not overcooked. If I can make a superficial comparison to Poochie's char cheddar cheeseburger, WaSC's version was just as tasty and dripped less grease. In fact, I don't remember much (if any) oil dropping on my hands as I ate, which is fairly remarkable in my mind. The knot roll was delicious, and the hot fries were an excellent complement to the savory sandwich. (The cheddar used was Merkt's, right?) Knowing I'd probably have space for that extra dipping dog later, I arranged to have it prepared after I finished my main course, and I most certainly did not regret ordering it. (The corn casing was very similar to corn meal/bread in texture and taste.) The only thing I missed was not ordering a regular hot dog, as my main purpose today was to evaluate the cheddar burger. I'll have to try one (or a few) on my next trip, of which you can be sure there'll be one (and likely many more after that).

    Wiener and Still Champion is now firmly ensconced in my short list of must-eat joints in Evanston. Just don't keep it a secret for too much longer! A great experience and highly recommended.

    Wiener and Still Champion
    802 W. Dempster
    Evanston, IL 60202
    [Just west of the El, Sherman, and Chicago Ave. on Dempster]
    (847) 869-0100

    Thanks for the awesome food (and, yeah, I still paid for it),
    Dan



    I too have stopped in very often at Weiner and Still Champion (even if
    Ive probably never mentioned it on here). A fine burger, and an excellent
    value IMHO - far better value than most around. I like the fries more than
    most too - though they arent perfect to me (I personally prefer ones
    with no skin, but fried hot - these are close, but not as great as, say,
    Top Notch's fries on the Southside IMHO. But very good and much
    more convenient, so this is my go-to fast-food place most of the
    time).

    Am also fond of the corndog - clearly the best value in Chicago Id
    say, only a buck with a value meal. Also, if you ever make it there
    on SUnday's, corn dogs are a buck apiece even without anything
    else - a couple corn dogs and the fresh fries makea pretty damn
    decent meal.

    It isnt, proibably, a destination place - the burgers at, say, Paradise
    Pup probably *are*, the fries at Top Notch are too IMHO. But this place
    does a fine burger and fries (and corn dog) with a very good value,
    and if youre in Evanston/Skokie or its environs, it is probably *the*
    go-to fast food place IMHO. (OK, the hot dogs at places like Poochie's
    are special too, but they dont have corn dogs there as Weiner and
    Still CHampion does, so... :-)

    c8w
  • Post #82 - September 21st, 2006, 6:59 pm
    Post #82 - September 21st, 2006, 6:59 pm Post #82 - September 21st, 2006, 6:59 pm
    fastfoodsnob wrote:[
    First off, my order-number calling was botched, so an expected 5-15 minute wait turned into a 30-minute grind. No joke. Then, when I finally tore into the plate and pita offered (after apologies from the staff), the meat just wasn't as impressive as the food I'd had on previous visits. Maybe it was the lunchtime rush, or the effect of eating too much good food on Devon recently, but I found my plate lacking. Half the meat was overly chewy -- without being overcooked -- and almost everything seemed to require a dip in the hot sauce to add some extra flavor. Just not very special in my mind. (I never really liked the rice there, but I ate most of it with the sauce today because I was so hungry.)

    On a side note, there was a sign posted on the wall behind the order counter touting the $4.95 business lunch special with chicken tenders included. Surprised by this, I checked the take-out menus on offer and found the same $3.95 11-to-3 special as always. Thankfully, I was still able to order the special without the tenders for $4.30 with tax, but I did have to specify that I wanted my meal without the chicken.

    Dan


    Huh. I had this a week ago, and while mine was ok, they didnt let me order
    this 3.95 special anymore! I asked them fora lunch speacial, and they just
    gave me the 4.95 with tenders instead! I shall make sure to specify like
    you the next time (I like their chicken shawarma a fair bit, but one piece of
    their chicken tenders alone are not worth an extra buck, for sure :-)

    As for the quality... Pita Inn sometimes gets variable when teh crowds are
    going crazy( as they often are at lunchtime), but most of the time Iam
    still very satisfied with what I get. Always call in ahead, BTW - its a mess
    if you dont. I dont even get an order num,ber when I call in, they just
    ask for the name, usually. And it remains an outstanding value in my
    mind.

    (Ive tried a couple of the Kedzie places in the past couple of weeks. Salaam
    was ok, good falafels and cheap too, and their shish taouk was outstanding
    on the day, but the general shawarma was very disappointing to me - and
    it was a touch more expensive than Pita Inn IMHO. Cafe Noor... I didnt care
    nearly as much for the soft-cooked fava-bean falafels, and while their
    meat quality was excellent, the flavour was lacking IMHO. And it didnt
    help with their white or hot sauces either, both very bland IMHO - and
    its also the first place that charged me extra for any sauces that they
    provided! To each his own, of course - and I personally still find that
    Pita Inn usually fits the bill for me quite well).

    c8w
  • Post #83 - September 21st, 2006, 8:14 pm
    Post #83 - September 21st, 2006, 8:14 pm Post #83 - September 21st, 2006, 8:14 pm
    c8w wrote:Am also fond of the corndog - clearly the best value in Chicago Id say, only a buck with a value meal.

    C8w,

    I'm a fan of Wiener and Still Champion's corn dogs as well. In fact, I even have a picture, imagine that. :)
    Image


    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #84 - September 21st, 2006, 10:04 pm
    Post #84 - September 21st, 2006, 10:04 pm Post #84 - September 21st, 2006, 10:04 pm
    c8w wrote:I too have stopped in very often at Weiner and Still Champion (even if
    Ive probably never mentioned it on here). A fine burger, and an excellent
    value IMHO - far better value than most around. I like the fries more than
    most too - though they arent perfect to me (I personally prefer ones
    with no skin, but fried hot - these are close, but not as great as, say,
    Top Notch's fries on the Southside IMHO. But very good and much
    more convenient, so this is my go-to fast-food place most of the
    time).

    I am so rarely on the South Side -- the farthest I usually get is somewhere around the Chinatown/UIC area -- that I can recognize what a great deal I've got with Poochie's and WaSC so close to my 'hood. (Methinks, though, that it's time to hit Al's again this weekend!) At any rate, I do like my fries hot (and I mean HOT), so maybe I'll have to hit up Top Notch next time I'm down by U of C. Recommendations are always welcome. :)

    c8w wrote:Am also fond of the corndog - clearly the best value in Chicago Id
    say, only a buck with a value meal. Also, if you ever make it there
    on SUnday's, corn dogs are a buck apiece even without anything
    else - a couple corn dogs and the fresh fries makea pretty damn
    decent meal.

    Ooh... nice tip on Sunday corn dogs! I'll have to tell my brother-in-law about 'em -- if this deal's still going on, that is -- so he can stop by for the dipping dogs and grab some fries for the kids. Gus, keep this deal comin'! :P

    c8w wrote:It isnt, proibably, a destination place - the burgers at, say, Paradise
    Pup probably *are*, the fries at Top Notch are too IMHO. But this place
    does a fine burger and fries (and corn dog) with a very good value,
    and if youre in Evanston/Skokie or its environs, it is probably *the*
    go-to fast food place IMHO. (OK, the hot dogs at places like Poochie's
    are special too, but they dont have corn dogs there as Weiner and
    Still CHampion does, so... :-)

    c8w

    I haven't had the fries at Top Notch, but the WaSC cheddar burger was pretty comparable to Poochie's cheddar char (cheese)burger in my mind. It's been a while since I've been to Paradise Pup, but the burger I had today left quite an impression with me. I guess that's all the more reason for me to check the big-P cheddar burgers out again -- for research purposes, mind you ;). Alas, the regular dogs might have to wait....

    I can taste 'em already,
    Dan
  • Post #85 - September 22nd, 2006, 9:18 am
    Post #85 - September 22nd, 2006, 9:18 am Post #85 - September 22nd, 2006, 9:18 am
    c8w wrote:
    fastfoodsnob wrote:...On a side note, there was a sign posted on the wall behind the order counter touting the $4.95 business lunch special with chicken tenders included. Surprised by this, I checked the take-out menus on offer and found the same $3.95 11-to-3 special as always. Thankfully, I was still able to order the special without the tenders for $4.30 with tax, but I did have to specify that I wanted my meal without the chicken.


    Huh. I had this a week ago, and while mine was ok, they didnt let me order
    this 3.95 special anymore! I asked them fora lunch speacial, and they just
    gave me the 4.95 with tenders instead! I shall make sure to specify like
    you the next time (I like their chicken shawarma a fair bit, but one piece of
    their chicken tenders alone are not worth an extra buck, for sure :-)

    Yeah, I was pretty freaked out by that big sign when I entered, especially because I only brought enough cash for the $3.95 special. (I forgot that they take credit.) So out of sheer necessity -- and my inherent cheapness -- I decided to ask whether the less expensive special could still be had. I had fond memories of the chicken shawarma as well, but I decided to let it be this time around as it would break the five-dollar barrier and I couldn't quite remember how much food came with the lunch deal (imagining I'd be too stuffed to appreciate everything if I ordered too much -- silly me). Then the fun (that is, the waiting) began.

    c8w wrote:As for the quality... Pita Inn sometimes gets variable when teh crowds are
    going crazy( as they often are at lunchtime), but most of the time Iam
    still very satisfied with what I get. Always call in ahead, BTW - its a mess
    if you dont. I dont even get an order num,ber when I call in, they just
    ask for the name, usually. And it remains an outstanding value in my
    mind.

    I tried to allow for some of that variability by arriving close to the end of the lunch-special period, around 2:45 or so. Calling ahead would have been wise, but I didn't want to chance getting lukewarm food, and a masochistic part of me just wanted to experience what the casual diner who decided to step in for lunch might feel like. (Okay, I was in a rush.) There is value in the business lunch special, but I felt like I got a lot less than usual the other day.

    c8w wrote:(Ive tried a couple of the Kedzie places in the past couple of weeks. Salaam
    was ok, good falafels and cheap too, and their shish taouk was outstanding
    on the day, but the general shawarma was very disappointing to me - and
    it was a touch more expensive than Pita Inn IMHO. Cafe Noor... I didnt care
    nearly as much for the soft-cooked fava-bean falafels, and while their
    meat quality was excellent, the flavour was lacking IMHO. And it didnt
    help with their white or hot sauces either, both very bland IMHO - and
    its also the first place that charged me extra for any sauces that they
    provided! To each his own, of course - and I personally still find that
    Pita Inn usually fits the bill for me quite well).

    c8w

    Salaam sounds interesting, but it would be tough to beat those lunch-special prices from Pita Inn. Cheap falafels are always welcome, however. As for Cafe Noor, is it related at all to City Noor? Oh, and if I recall correctly, the lunch special at Olive Mountain in Evanston is pretty good (and cheap) as well. Some have touted their chicken shawarma over those served at the Inn. If you can't make it for lunch, you gotta love their coupons for dinner. :P

    --Dan
  • Post #86 - September 22nd, 2006, 5:55 pm
    Post #86 - September 22nd, 2006, 5:55 pm Post #86 - September 22nd, 2006, 5:55 pm
    fastfoodsnob wrote:So this one misses the mark by a penny, but the regular gyros go for $5.00 at Cross-Rhodes, that wonderfully Greek-American joint in Evanston at 913 Chicago Avenue. (Check Cathy2's post from January for a more complete description of the gyros, fries, and other operational details.)

    ...

    Nevertheless, I had a great time and enjoyed my meal (including the soda, which was dispensed with a straw in a tall yet slim glass). Should be even more fun at lunchtime. :P

    On the advice of the delightfully named GreaseFreak.com -- which I learned about from an earlier LTH thread -- I checked out the gyros from Charcoal Delights (on Foster east of Kedzie) as well as a Polish from Wolfy's (on Peterson east of California) for a late lunch today.

    Charcoal Delights lived up to its GreaseFreak billing by delivering hot, tasty, and tender meat in a well-defined (and easy to hold) wrapper. The sandwich went for $4.50, but extra tsatziki sauce will cost ya 60 cents more, making the final total $5.56 with tax. While CD possibly had less gyros meat tucked away in its relatively neat wrapper (compared to Cross-Rhodes in Evanston, for instance), the meat strips themselves seemed to go down easier for me. Maybe they were cut thinner or roasted for less time, as I went to CD in the afternoon as opposed to late at night like C-R. At any rate, a great sub-five-buck meal.

    Of course, that wasn't the end of things. After grabbing a free iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts (available only today with a coupon while supplies last), I decided to stop by Wolfy's on the way home to check out one of their vaunted Polish sausages, which sell for roughly three bucks each. Prepared hot, this was some tasty meat that went along well with grilled onions, mustard, pickle slices, and tomatoes, though reading about recent Sox woes (in a handy copy of the Sun-Times) added a bittersweet tinge to my free coffee and pricey Polish. I'm glad I finally tried the sausage, though, because it was a delicious diversion from the overcast sky that loomed outside. Hope I can still hit up Express Grill and/or Original Jim's sometime tomorrow, but I sure had a great lunch today!

    Charcoal Delights
    3139 W. Foster Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60625
    (773) 583-0056

    And CD apparently has two suburban outposts (which I can't vouch for) at the following locations:

    1090 E. Oakton Street
    Des Plaines, IL 60018
    (847) 803-2777

    500 Center Street
    Grayslake, IL 60030
    (847) 543-9838

    Official Dunkin' Donuts store finder:
    https://www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus/store/Search.aspx

    Wolfy's
    2734 W. Peterson Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60659
    (773) 743-0270

    And I'm still full,
    Dan
  • Post #87 - September 22nd, 2006, 6:10 pm
    Post #87 - September 22nd, 2006, 6:10 pm Post #87 - September 22nd, 2006, 6:10 pm
    HI,

    Don't forget to weigh in: Which Polish is best: Jim's Original or Maxwell St Express?.

    FFS - you really are on a under $5 tear!

    Barnaby's Pizza in Northbrook, and probably other locations, has a number of under $5 specials. Unfortunately it does not include their excellent cornmeal crust pizza.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #88 - September 22nd, 2006, 6:46 pm
    Post #88 - September 22nd, 2006, 6:46 pm Post #88 - September 22nd, 2006, 6:46 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,

    Don't forget to weigh in: Which Polish is best: Jim's Original or Maxwell St Express?.

    That thread on Jim's and Maxwell St. Express (along with Rene G's excellent sunrise-backed pics) actually inspired me to make the detour to South Union Street/Avenue this weekend. Knowing I'd be in the neighborhood, I couldn't lose the opportunity to try the best Polish in the city, especially after the great experience I had today at Wolfy's (which was a lot closer to home). I'm just afraid I'll be as disappointed with Jim's Original as some other posters in that thread. ("Moldy"??)

    Cathy2 wrote:FFS - you really are on a under $5 tear!

    Yeah, I recently decided to eat as well as I can these days -- not only on my personal budget, but also to finally get to all those places I promised myself I would try over the past few years, but never got around to checking out. I'm afraid I might be hijacking this thread in the name of cheap (but good) fast food, but I suppose it's hard to expect any less from someone who's chosen a username like mine. :)

    Cathy2 wrote:Barnaby's Pizza in Northbrook, and probably other locations, has a number of under $5 specials. Unfortunately it does not include their excellent cornmeal crust pizza.

    No pizza (by the slice) special at Barnaby's? Gah! (Here's one page of a Barnaby's menu I found at Ylunch via Google.) If anyone has any sub-five-dollar pizza offerings to recommend, I'd be ever so grateful for your favorites, as they'll probably ease my quest for the perfect pizza by the slice (which just so happens to fit in quite nicely with the topic of this thread). I'm thinking of hitting Gigio's up in Evanston next for some New York-style thin crust... of course, slit and sold by the slice. Lunch has never been so exciting (at least for me)!

    Gigio's Pizzeria in Evanston
    1001 Davis
    Evanston, IL 60201
    (847) 328-0990
    http://gigiospizzeriaevanston.com/

    ...Maybe also available in Chicago?
    Gigio's Pizzeria in Chicago
    4643 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
    (773) 271-2273
    http://www.planet99.com/chicago/restaurants/1302.html

    Living in anticipation,
    Dan
  • Post #89 - September 23rd, 2006, 2:38 am
    Post #89 - September 23rd, 2006, 2:38 am Post #89 - September 23rd, 2006, 2:38 am
    Kabob2 3104 West Devon Avenue

    Has a $4.59 mixed grill lunch special until 3pm.

    You get a lot of different meat with this special: a kefta sausage roll, some grilled chicken, a bit of shaved shwarma, and some surprisingly good steak slices. It comes with some basic salad and pita, and a huge mound of yellow rice. No charge for a really good tahini sauce on the side but you have to ask for it.

    It is a bit of an odd place in that you order at the counter and get your combo when it is ready; nothing else on the menu really appeals to me in terms of price or amazing quality. The value is in the variety of meats in the lunch combo. I think it is actually an assyrian place since it does have the giveaway potato chop on the menu. They also have parking which around Devon is a deal in itself, and therefore a lot of cops eat there.

    It isn't going to force you to have a paradigm shift in your notion of middle eastern eating, but it is a lot of chow for the money; it is a lot better and about 1/3 cheaper than the mixed grill special at the better known Sinbad's on Belmont.
  • Post #90 - September 24th, 2006, 12:03 am
    Post #90 - September 24th, 2006, 12:03 am Post #90 - September 24th, 2006, 12:03 am
    fastfoodsnob wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,

    Don't forget to weigh in: Which Polish is best: Jim's Original or Maxwell St Express?.

    That thread on Jim's and Maxwell St. Express (along with Rene G's excellent sunrise-backed pics) actually inspired me to make the detour to South Union Street/Avenue this weekend. Knowing I'd be in the neighborhood, I couldn't lose the opportunity to try the best Polish in the city, especially after the great experience I had today at Wolfy's (which was a lot closer to home). I'm just afraid I'll be as disappointed with Jim's Original as some other posters in that thread. ("Moldy"??)

    I made the trip down south to the Bridgeport/UIC neighborhood Saturday, which meant Polish and fries from Jim's Original and Maxwell Express (aka Express Grill) as well as a big beef from Al's hot and dipped. The full -- and by that I mean long -- report can be found at the end of the Jim's or Express thread. All I'll say here is that both sausages were excellent, and that Express won by a small margin in my book. (For now...) It felt like everyone came out a winner that day, though repeating the experiment -- with the requisite peer review -- will most definitely need to be carried out. (Thankfully easily accomplished with $2.60 sausage-and-fry sets. :))

    I also managed to squeeze in that big beef from Al's for lunch that same day. If you buy the smaller-sized Italian beef from the menu, you can grab some of the best beef in the city for under five bucks, and slightly go over the five-dollar limit by adding peppers hot or sweet. Definitely worth the trip down there, for lunch or whenever. (Closed Sundays on Taylor Street during the winter.)

    --Dan

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