Food & Drink

The Ultimate Loop Lunch Guide

Published On 03/31/2014 Published On 03/31/2014
All Photos: Dennis Lee
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1. Naansense 171 N Wells, Chicago, IL 60606 (Loop)

This "fast-casual" Indian resto is more than just a clever play on words. It also serves a number of delicious and modern Indian dishes. But you gotta admit, the name is pretty sweet.

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2. Blackwood BBQ 305 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60606 (Loop)

Blackwood BBQ is like a cross between Chipotle and a smoked-meat palace, offering you the chance to customize your barbecue experience in the form of sandwiches, platters, and salads, all dressed with a wide variety of regional sauces, from the Alabama-style white sauce and spicy Kansas City blend to the signature hot and sweet Chicago sauce simmered with Old Style lager.

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3. Pierogi Heaven 329 S Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60606 (Loop)

Pierogi Heaven in the Loop is where to go to get some of the most authentic Polish food in Chicago. Whether you are looking for traditional meat-filled ones or vegetarian-friendly ones filled with potatoes, these pierogies, offered at six an order, are perfectly cooked to deliver a savory dining experience. If you're wanting something else than pierogies, you can order either stuffed cabbage or sausage. This no-frills counter-service location won't put you out very many bucks either, which will leave your tummy and wallet happy.

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4. Bar Pastoral 53 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601 (Loop)

Cheese lovers (so, everybody) get ready for your utopia! Bar Pastoral is adorned with cheeses sourced from across the globe and local independent farms so you can drop that Mini Babybel now. Wine, sandwiches, and select items are also served.

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5. Ba Le Bakery 5016 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Uptown)

Family-owned and serving up traditional preparations of classic Vietnamese eats, Ba Le is your go-to for noodle salads, banh mi, and more.

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6. BenjYehuda 10 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60602 (Loop)

Serving up killer falafel and chicken shawarma sandwiches with a crazy-wide array of add-ons like onions, hummus, Mediterranean pickles, and more, Benjyehuda delivers on its promise of bringing you "urban street food".

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7. Ronny's Original Chicago Steak House 100 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 (Loop)

This classic steakhouse was established in 1963 and hasn't wavered on its promise of bringing you delicious meaty eats at affordable prices. But they don't just stop at killer cuts of cow: Ronny's offers up a wide menu, from hot dogs to pizza.

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8. Fontano's Subs 332 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604 (Loop)

More than just a one of the best sandwich shops in Chicago, Fontano's serves up hot 'zas, delicious pasta bowls, and a number of sides and desserts.

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9. Cafecito 7 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60602 (Loop)

If you’re craving a taste of Cuba, look no further than Cafecito. This coffee and sandwich shop brings a bit of authentic Latin flair to The Loop, providing fresh, affordable eats like their award-winning Cubano and the fan favorite Chivito, a protein pick-me-up of steak, ham, bacon, fried egg, mozzarella, citrus mayo, and other fixings, served hot in a pressed hero. Whether you’re grabbing grub on your lunch break or swinging through for your daily café con leche, this casual spot has your commuting cravings covered.

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10. Chicken Planet 177 W Van Buren St, Chicago, IL 60605 (Loop)

Chicken Planet in the Loop is a bit of a dive, but that's what gives this delectable counter-service chicken house its charm. Lunch crowds get pretty massive, and for good reason: you can get a quarter chicken (with sides and a drink) for less than 10 dollars. You can even watch the cooks preparing massive chickens in the kitchen. If you're in a rush, your meal is served up in a styrofoam container, so it is as portable as it is delicious.

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11. Skrine Chops 400 S Financial Pl, Chicago, IL 60605 (Loop)

Located in the Loop, this eatery has a menu loaded with meaty options, including pork chops, steaks, ribs, sammies, and salads.

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12. Farmer's Fridge Kiosk in the Garvey Food Court 201 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60601 (Loop)

This Garvey Food Court vending machine brings a whole new meaning to eating all three meals out of a package. Its fresh, innovative, and healthy salads, breakfast parfaits, cauliflower fired rice, tofus, and chicken all come in a compact plastic jar, ready for your consumption. The packs are renewed every day, ensuring ultimate healthy freshness.

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13. Saucy Porka 400 S Financial Pl, Chicago, IL 60605 (Loop)

Saucy Porka blends Puerto Rican, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian cuisines. One of the children of this holiest of unions is called the baco -- a combination of a taco and a traditional steamed Chinese bao.

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14. Max's Take Out 20 E Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603 (Loop)

If you're in The Loop and looking for a classic Vienna hot dog, Polish sausage, or Italian beef sandwich -- Max's Take Out is there to comfort you.

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15. Harry's Sandwich Shop 336 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60604 (Loop)

Harry's is the place to grab toasted sandwiches made with love. Pro tip: don't skip breakfast -- grab one of their English muffin sandwiches and thank yourself for the rest of the day.