Editor's Note: Whether you're a tourist or an office worker in downtown Chicago, you can get sick of eating at chain restaurants all day. So we've started a series to get you the lowdown on where to find a great...
Lunch In The Loop, Chicago.Seriouseats.Com
Ever since I've started Lunch in the Loop, I've been moaning about not being able to find a good hot dog stand downtown. Most are imitators and flops, restaurants that seem like caricatures of real hot dog stands. But one day, as I moseyed down the street, looking for a new spot, I came across Devil Dawgs on State Street, and inside the deep and dark crevasses of my broken and black (hungry) heart, I felt hope.
Since Chuck's is on Michigan Avenue, tourist central, I thought a $14 hot dog was going to be a fancy interpretation, especially with that price. Turns out I was wrong. This footlong Vienna Beef hot dog is the real deal.
As someone who's been lurching through the Loop trying to find surprises and things for you to enjoy, Rudy's has shown me that, even when all of your hope is nearly gone, the impossible can be achieved. That's all thanks to the Chicago char-grilled salad topped with a hot dog.
My quest to find good pizza in the Loop has been kind of frustrating. Pizza should be a pretty great lunch food. But a lot of places in the Loop that struggle with the basics. Is Pat's Pizza on South Clark the place I'm looking for?
When in Rome, you must order triple decker sandwiches. That's the saying, right? Do they even serve triple decker sandwiches in Rome? I'm confused. Well, that is what you should do when you visit Perry's.
We all occasionally need a bit of fried chicken to get through the day. And you can find a ton of it at Harold's Chicken Shack, one of many locations in Chicago, in the southern part of the Loop.
While the onslaught of new ramen restaurants seems to have died down a bit lately, Ajida opened up quietly on Wells just over a month ago. I'm used to ramen stands being a little beat up and homey looking, but that's probably just the Asian romantic in me. Mostly because I am, in fact, Asian.
The Loop location is decorated like an amped up version of a Hollister store, with a kitschy beach shack feel to it. You have to see it to believe it—no, seriously, step in. It's kind of awesome.
If you're in the neighborhood, you should definitely swing by Naansense to catch one of the chicken or lamb naanwiches. They might make a naanbeliever out of you. See what I did there? No, I'm not proud of myself.
So, I basically found the greatest thing ever. It is a shining beacon in the depressing darkness of a food court, beaming brightly at my pale winter-stricken face. I mean, seriously. Behold the glory of the Farmer's Fridge!
As I passed by the food court near Clark & Lake again, I noticed a new bright green awning advertising a place called K-Kitchen, selling Korean food. "This is the food of my people!" I thought. "If I don't go in, I'll bring shame upon myself for not supporting my heritage." So I stepped in and I was suddenly reminded about why I never go in.
To be honest, the menu isn't that much different from La Cocina, but its interior does look different, with a sleeker urban feel to it. So you'll see burritos, tortas, enchiladas, that sort of thing on the menu.
Overall, I see Epic Burger as a place that offers a higher quality fast-food burger. The food tastes like it's just trying not to offend anyone, which isn't bad, but then you're just eating for the sake of living, right? But that turkey burger, that's the one you want.
Brunch is always served on the weekends, which makes me wonder—what do you call breakfast for lunch during the week? I vote we call it "blunch." Blunch still gets the point across, and at the same time, it isn't brunch. Let's make this happen. Blunch.
Lloyd's is nice, with white tablecloths and waitstaff. Fancy food for a fancy person. That's me! I'm as fancy as a can of Spam.
There are no shortage of places to eat in The Loop, but finding a great meal is surprisingly harder than you'd think. Every single one of those salad restaurants can't be good. Fortunately, for the past two years Dennis has been reporting back on all the great finds and places to avoid at all costs while downtown.
Mr. Submarine specializes in avant-garde one-bite lunches featuring exotic game meats. Naw, I'm just messing with you. They serve sub sandwiches. But not just any sub sandwiches, they serve really, really, cheap sub sandwiches.
Is it just me, or do a lot of restaurants that advertise healthy meals always reference California in some way? I mean, I get it, a lot of you are healthy, sun-kissed, and attractive, so your food probably has at least a little to do with it. And the avocado thing. There's a lot of avocados in California, but does every sandwich with an avocado in it belong to the state of California?
Sushi Sai doesn't have a street-facing sign, which makes it a little more secretive-looking. But once I stepped in, it turned out to be a typical sushi lunch bar, serving mostly sushi items and a few hot dishes.