After searching for cheap eats along the Red Line-serviced neighborhoods of Lincoln Park and Lakeview, we knew we had to finally give the Blue Liners some love.
Wicker Park is home to a satisfying mix of cuisines, including established stalwarts and an ever expanding list of new projects. Luckily, many of the places are focused on serving the neighborhood, meaning that finding a stunning, and affordable, meal is easy. It doesn't hurt that it's one of the most exciting places to grab a taco in the city.
The Dividing Line
Before we begin, we have to address the Wicker Park/Bucktown issue. We are very sensitive to neighborhood boundaries, but figuring out the official dividing line between Wicker Park and Bucktown was harder than we thought. Most sources claim that North Ave. is the line, but that leads to some confusion. Does that mean a restaurant on the south side of the street is in Wicker Park, while one on the north side is in Bucktown?
Confusing all of that is city of Chicago's official map. Neither Wicker Park or Bucktown stands alone as an official community area as defined by the city (Wicker Park is part of West Town, while Bucktown is with Logan Square), though both are recognized as neighborhoods. But unlike every other neighborhood map of Chicago we've ever consulted, the dividing line between the two is mostly Bloomingdale Ave, with some Churchill St thrown in for good measure.
In the end, we decided that everything on North Ave between Western and Ashland counted as Wicker Park. And don't worry, that leaves Bucktown with plenty of cheap eats options, which I'll explore very soon.
Like the previous cheap eats guides, there was a strict $10 maximum on the dishes, and tried to only include ones that could function as a meal. But we couldn't help but include a few sweets, which are clearly marked.
Click on the slideshow to check out our picks, or see the whole list below.
- Lamb and Beef Gyro at Covo Gyro Market
- 1/2 Mix Chicken Dinner at Harold's Chicken Shack
- German Shephard at The Haute & the Dog
- Mana Slider at Mana Food Bar
- Japchae at Tozi Korean BBQ
- Slice with Pepperoni at Santullo's
- Tri-Tip Sandwich from Lillie's Q
- Italian Beef at Jay's Beef
- Pork Carnitas at Antique Taco
- Papas con Rajas Taco at Big Star
- Al Pastor Taco at Tierra Caliente
- Cecina Taco at Carnicerias Guanajuato
- Buffalo Wings at The Fifty/50
- Croque Vert at Birchwood Kitchen
- Falafel Sandwich at Sultan's Market
- Beef Phở at Bon Bon Vietnamese Sandwich
- White Cheddar Chicharrones at Trenchermen
- Falafel Sandwich at Falafel & Grill
- Artichoke and Pepper Sandwich at Cipollina
- Italian Meatball Sub at Native Foods Café
- Avocado and Smoked Gouda Sandwich at Milk & Honey
- Eggplant Parmesan at Wicker Basket Cafe