Cheap Eats We Love in Chicago's Wicker Park

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

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.

The Picks

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.