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Sultan's Market
Sultan's Market
Flickr/Alfred Lul

Budget Bites: 12 Great Cheap Eats for $5 or Less in Chicago

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Sultan's Market
| Flickr/Alfred Lul

Chicago may not be the cheapest city around, but do enough digging and you'll find that there are still plenty of restaurants where you can afford a solid meal without selling your TV at a pawn shop. Several tried-and-true spots have been whipping up great eats for years, all while offering them for $5 or less. So grab an Abe Lincoln and change, and dine like a Ferrari owner at these 12 spots.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ghareeb Nawaz

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2032 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 761-5300
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Grab a cab on the far-north side of the city and ask the driver where they like to eat during their breaks—there’s a good chance that they’ll mention Ghareeb Nawaz. This 24-hour Indo-Pak eatery offers one of the best values in all of Chicago: a heaping mound of chicken biryani that can be a challenge to finish in one sitting, all for $3.99. [Photo courtesy of Ghareeb Nawaz]

2. Original Jimmy's Red Hots

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4000 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60651
(773) 384-9513
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Spot the angrily-scribbled “NO KETCHUP” sign upon entering and immediately realize that Jimmy’s Red Hots is an old-school Chicago joint of the finest variety. It’s been family-owned since 1954, and the perfectly-executed Depression dogs wrapped up in salty fries are downright addictive. An order will set you back just $2.75. [Photo: Facebook/Jimmy’s Red Hots]

3. Bari

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1120 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 666-0730
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Head to the back of this small Italian deli and usually you’ll find a few people in line waiting to order the crazy-good sub sandwiches. They’re made with coal-fired bread from the next-door D’Amato’s bakery, and the nine-inch Italian sausage sub is packed with fennel and sprinkled with chili flakes. It’s a steal at $5. [Photo: Facebook/Paul Ciavarelli]

4. Joong Boo Market

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3333 N Kimball Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 478-5566
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There are plenty of budget buys hidden within the aisles at Joong Boo Market, but some of the best can be found in the back at the small noodle-bar. A spicy, filling bowl of ramyun is just $3.50. Those who are really feeling like big spenders can also pick up a $2 kimchi-pork bun from the stand in the parking lot. [Photo: Facebook/Joong Boo Market]

5. Taste of Lebanon

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1509 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 334-1600
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This Andersonville favorite is a treasure trove of cheap eats, offering a variety of filling, vegetarian-friendly meals. The crispy falafel-wrap costs just $2.99, and the nicely spiced lentil soup is just $2.59. [Photo: Facebook/Nicole Del Rio]

6. The Art of Pizza

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3033 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 327-5600
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At just $3.66, the hot-and-ready stuffed-pizza slice at Art of Pizza isn’t priced like it’s one of the very best in Chicago. However, it totally is. Try one and see what all the fuss is about. [Photo: Facebook/Leigh Kelsey]

7. M Burger

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835 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 867-1549
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A Lettuce Entertain You venture, M Burger has quietly expanded to five Chicago-area locations by offering tasty, budget-friendly burgers. There’s a secret menu that curious diners will enjoy, but the classic cheeseburger is a great value at just $2.99. [Photo: Facebook/M Burger]

8. Reno

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2607 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 697-4234
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Patrons can hang out at this Logan Square spot from morning to night, ordering coffee in the morning, pizza for dinner, and a shot-and-beer at the bar for a nightcap. Start the day off right by opting for a wood-fired bagel ($2.25) available in flavors such as Old Bay or olive and herb, and add a cream-cheese schmear ($1) such as artichoke or sweet potato. [Photo: Facebook/Jim Luning]

9. Sultan's Market

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2057 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 235-3072
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This Wicker Park mainstay has been cooking up value-packed, vegetarian-friendly meals for twenty years now, and has plenty of staunch supporters. The falafel sandwich ($3.75) is one of the best in town, and a chicken shawarma wrap stuffed with hummus and Jerusalem salad will set you back a whopping $4.75. [Photo: Flickr/Alfred Lul]

10. La Casa Del Pueblo

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1834 S Blue Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 421-4664
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Not to be confused with the adjacent grocery store that shares its name, La Casa del Pueblo Taqueria offers homey, cafeteria-style dining and reasonable prices. The red-pork tamales here are a great value at $1 a pop, and those looking to share some with their amigos can pick up a dozen for $11. [Photo: Flickr/Daniel X. O’Neil]

11. Lawrence Fish Market

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3914 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 267-6838
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This simple to-go counter is a refreshing departure from the frills of downtown sushi lounges, but that doesn’t mean the sushi here isn’t top-notch. Lawrence Fish Market offers many rolls, such as salmon and avocado, that cost $3 or less—as well as $1 pieces of sushi such as marinated mackerel, shrimp, and super-white tuna. [Photo: Facebook/Devon Neff]

12. Jeri's Grill

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4357 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 604-8775
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A classic greasy-spoon diner that’s open 24 hours, Jeri’s Grill offers plenty of hearty classics alongside a few curveballs like its Kit Kat pudding. The patty melt and fries is dependably tasty, and will set you back just $5.15. Yes, it’s worth the extra 15 cents. [Photo: Flickr/Andrew Seaman]

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1. Ghareeb Nawaz

2032 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

Grab a cab on the far-north side of the city and ask the driver where they like to eat during their breaks—there’s a good chance that they’ll mention Ghareeb Nawaz. This 24-hour Indo-Pak eatery offers one of the best values in all of Chicago: a heaping mound of chicken biryani that can be a challenge to finish in one sitting, all for $3.99. [Photo courtesy of Ghareeb Nawaz]

2032 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

2. Original Jimmy's Red Hots

4000 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60651

Spot the angrily-scribbled “NO KETCHUP” sign upon entering and immediately realize that Jimmy’s Red Hots is an old-school Chicago joint of the finest variety. It’s been family-owned since 1954, and the perfectly-executed Depression dogs wrapped up in salty fries are downright addictive. An order will set you back just $2.75. [Photo: Facebook/Jimmy’s Red Hots]

4000 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60651

3. Bari

1120 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Head to the back of this small Italian deli and usually you’ll find a few people in line waiting to order the crazy-good sub sandwiches. They’re made with coal-fired bread from the next-door D’Amato’s bakery, and the nine-inch Italian sausage sub is packed with fennel and sprinkled with chili flakes. It’s a steal at $5. [Photo: Facebook/Paul Ciavarelli]

1120 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

4. Joong Boo Market

3333 N Kimball Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

There are plenty of budget buys hidden within the aisles at Joong Boo Market, but some of the best can be found in the back at the small noodle-bar. A spicy, filling bowl of ramyun is just $3.50. Those who are really feeling like big spenders can also pick up a $2 kimchi-pork bun from the stand in the parking lot. [Photo: Facebook/Joong Boo Market]

3333 N Kimball Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

5. Taste of Lebanon

1509 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

This Andersonville favorite is a treasure trove of cheap eats, offering a variety of filling, vegetarian-friendly meals. The crispy falafel-wrap costs just $2.99, and the nicely spiced lentil soup is just $2.59. [Photo: Facebook/Nicole Del Rio]

1509 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

6. The Art of Pizza

3033 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

At just $3.66, the hot-and-ready stuffed-pizza slice at Art of Pizza isn’t priced like it’s one of the very best in Chicago. However, it totally is. Try one and see what all the fuss is about. [Photo: Facebook/Leigh Kelsey]

3033 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

7. M Burger

835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

A Lettuce Entertain You venture, M Burger has quietly expanded to five Chicago-area locations by offering tasty, budget-friendly burgers. There’s a secret menu that curious diners will enjoy, but the classic cheeseburger is a great value at just $2.99. [Photo: Facebook/M Burger]

835 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

8. Reno

2607 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Patrons can hang out at this Logan Square spot from morning to night, ordering coffee in the morning, pizza for dinner, and a shot-and-beer at the bar for a nightcap. Start the day off right by opting for a wood-fired bagel ($2.25) available in flavors such as Old Bay or olive and herb, and add a cream-cheese schmear ($1) such as artichoke or sweet potato. [Photo: Facebook/Jim Luning]

2607 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

9. Sultan's Market

2057 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

This Wicker Park mainstay has been cooking up value-packed, vegetarian-friendly meals for twenty years now, and has plenty of staunch supporters. The falafel sandwich ($3.75) is one of the best in town, and a chicken shawarma wrap stuffed with hummus and Jerusalem salad will set you back a whopping $4.75. [Photo: Flickr/Alfred Lul]

2057 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

10. La Casa Del Pueblo

1834 S Blue Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

Not to be confused with the adjacent grocery store that shares its name, La Casa del Pueblo Taqueria offers homey, cafeteria-style dining and reasonable prices. The red-pork tamales here are a great value at $1 a pop, and those looking to share some with their amigos can pick up a dozen for $11. [Photo: Flickr/Daniel X. O’Neil]

1834 S Blue Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60608

11. Lawrence Fish Market

3914 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

This simple to-go counter is a refreshing departure from the frills of downtown sushi lounges, but that doesn’t mean the sushi here isn’t top-notch. Lawrence Fish Market offers many rolls, such as salmon and avocado, that cost $3 or less—as well as $1 pieces of sushi such as marinated mackerel, shrimp, and super-white tuna. [Photo: Facebook/Devon Neff]

3914 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

12. Jeri's Grill

4357 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

A classic greasy-spoon diner that’s open 24 hours, Jeri’s Grill offers plenty of hearty classics alongside a few curveballs like its Kit Kat pudding. The patty melt and fries is dependably tasty, and will set you back just $5.15. Yes, it’s worth the extra 15 cents. [Photo: Flickr/Andrew Seaman]

4357 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

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