When it comes to local Chicago spots, Lyft driver Angelica is basically a human version of Yelp. A self-proclaimed foodie, she’s been to all the great hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and can tell you exactly which ones you need to visit, ASAP.
Angelica’s knowledge comes from nearly a decade of living in the Windy City, where she moved from Georgia to pursue a law degree. On top of being a full-time law student, she interns as a prosecutor for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In between studying and working, you can find her planning her upcoming wedding.
That type of busy schedule is sure to work up an appetite. Luckily, Angelica’s got you covered with her list of the best eats in the Windy City:
1. Cheesie's Pub & Grub - 958 W Belmont Ave.
Two words: Grilled. Cheese. You’ve probably seen the bright macaroni-and-cheese-colored storefront that is Cheesie’s Pub and Grub near the Belmont stop. Don’t wait any longer. They have a sandwich of chicken fingers on Texas toast with 3 cheeses, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, and bacon. You are welcome in advance.
2. Square Bar and Grill - 2849 W Belmont Ave.
Everyone knows its very famous neighbor Kumas Korner, but Square Bar and Grill has the best pulled pork this side of the Mason Dixon! It’s sweet and tangy tender pulled pork, grilled pineapple, cheese, and bacon all sitting on a pretzel roll. It’s called the Pulled Pork Paradise for a reason.
3. Krispy Krunchy Chicken - 1840 W Peterson Ave.
When it comes to holes-in-the-walls, this place takes the cake. Krispy Krunchy Chicken has the best fried chicken and honey butter biscuits in the city, period. What makes it a true gem is its location: inside of a gas station. Fill your stomach and your gas tank at the same time.
4. Pick Me Up Café - 3408 N Clark St.
Located on Clark Street, Pick Me Up Café is far from your typical Wrigleyville joint . Super eclectic and the best brunch spot in E. Lakeview, get huge portions for a good price. If you don’t have a nut allergy, try the Banana Nut French Toast or the Pecan Pancakes.
5. Papa Ray’s Wings and Pizza - 3208 N Pulaski Rd.
If you like hot wings, get ready for the best meal of your life. Papa Ray’s Wings and Pizza has the biggest, juiciest, wings in town. Seriously, game day is not the same without 25 of your closest friends, and Papa Ray’s. Plus, they deliver!
6. El Gordo Restaurant - 5746 W Belmont Ave.
If you’re ready to eat something positively gigantic, and you have $7, you can get yourself a steak burrito from El Gordo Restaurant. And for the pescetarian peeps, they have the hands down best fish tacos in the city for only $2.50.
7. Borinquen Lounge - 3811 N Western Ave.
I’m pretty sure that Oprah called this the best sandwich in Chicago. They make a Steak Jibarito with rice and beans for $7. A jibarito is Puerto Rican perfection — tender marinated steak, lettuce, tomato, and cheese all sandwiched between flattened fried plantains that have been smeared with garlic sauce. Like I said, Puerto Rican Perfection.
8. Crepe Bistro and Martini Bar - 186 N Wells St.
Sweet crepes, savory crepes, any kind of crepe you can dream of! This place is an adorable hidden gem in the Loop that you have probably walked by before. Don’t miss their incredible décor, lounge area with antique furniture, amazing crepes, and $5 martinis.
9. Batter and Berries - 2748 N Lincoln Ave.
Food so good it’s worth waiting in line for Sunday brunch. These people know how to do French toast. Imagine banana pudding French toast with bananas, caramel drizzle, and cookie crumbles. It tastes better than that in real life, trust me.
10. Uncle Remus - 4650 W North Ave.
There are a few locations around the west side of the city, but my personal favorite is the one inside of Wal-Mart on North Avenue. They put crispy fried chicken on top of fries and then smother it all in a sweet red sauce that will have you forgetting what your real uncle’s name is. The only uncle you will care about at that moment is Uncle Remus.
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