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Henry's Swing Club
Henry's Swing Club
Marc Much

Where to Find Cheap Eats in River North

You don't need to spend all your dough on cover charges and vodka sodas.

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Henry's Swing Club
| Marc Much

Tourists, suburbanites and some city-dwellers flock to River North for a night out, but if you're going there you don't need to empty your bank account on a fancy dinner when you may already be shelling out cash for cover charges, shots, and vodka sodas. Here are 15 spots for affordable food to provide a base, fill your belly after hitting the dancefloor, and even places where you can eat cheaply in the same establishment you're reveling in. Listed in alphabetical order.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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BIG & little's

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The little well-known spot for burgers and fish tacos is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, perfect for a base for a night out. The samurai taco, which is made with fried whitefish jalapeños, lettuce, special sauce, "samurai sauce," lime juice and sesame seeds, comes in at $4.75. Menu items also include a pork belly po' boy for $8. [Photo: Facebook]

Celeste

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The swanky multi-level sophisticated spot is known for its cocktails, yet Celeste's standout bar bites, small plates and late night menu include a red lentil falafel for $8 and chicken liver pate for $7. The turn-of-the-century-themed bar is open late: Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 5 a.m., and food is available on the rooftop until 11. [Photo courtesy of Celeste]

Citizen Bar Chicago

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Check out the large outdoor area at the bro-tastic Citizen Bar for mac 'n cheese bites ($9) or ceviche ($9). There's also a "frostee" and fries, made with Nutella and vanilla ice cream, for $7. [Photo: Facebook]

Da Lobsta

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Serving lobster rolls for $12.95 and other casual seafood, Da Lobsta is BYOB and open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The location just north of the Hubbard Street strip makes it a good pre-partying eating option. [Photo: Facebook]

The Nutella bar at the massive Italian marketplace serves a variety of filled crepes from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, some for just $4.80. There are also Nutella with bread options available, or pane con Nutella. [Photo: Marc Much]

Green Door Tavern

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One of Chicago's oldest bars has a good late-night menu, serving affordable items including fried calamari ($10) and the "Uptown Loaded Fries" for $9. Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday, its a good option before or after a night out. [Photo: Yelp]

Henry's Swing Club

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One of the most casual and fun bars in River North, the DMK spot dishes out a treasure trove of sliders beginning at $2 and other cheap food items including the "Big Tamale" and "Big Pretzel" for $6 each. And with the dance hall-esque Rec Room opening downstairs, Henry's is a one-stop shop for a night out in the neighborhood. [Photo: Marc Much]

M Burger

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Need something fast or on-the-go? Try M Burger. The single M Burger at Lettuce Entertain You's fast-food burger chain is under $5, and its open until 9 p.m. on weeknights and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. [Photo: Facebook]

Portillo's Hot Dogs

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The large food hall-esque River North location of the iconic Chicago-style chain is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. Menu items include a hot dog for $2.75 and Italian beef for $5.69. There are also char-broiled burgers and chicken sandwiches, all under $10. Finish your Portillo's experience with a chocolate cake shake for $3.25. [Photo: Yelp]

Tallboy Taco

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Serving eight kinds of tacos on house-made tortillas for less than $5, the expansion of Nacional 27 won't empty your wallet: the beer-battered crispy fish taco is $3.50 or try the cowboy 12hr smoked brisket taco for $4. Open until midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. [Photo: Facebook]

The Doughnut Vault

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Brendan Sodikoff's acclaimed doughnut chain serves daily specials and opens at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Look for a variety of doughnut types including glazed (chestnut/vanilla/chocolate) and buttermilk old fashioned. Be sure to get there before they sell out. [Photo: Facebook]

The Franklin Room

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The swanky tavern's menu focuses on turn-of-the-century items items including including duck liver pate for $9 and chicken drumettes for $7. The duck noodle soup is $19, but big enough to share. Also, check out their $1 oysters, available from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It's open all day and has a massive whiskey selection, so you may not want to go out after you settle in. [Photo: Facebook]

The Pizza Window

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It's no secret that pizza makes for a delicious late night snack. Connected to the longtime neighborhood spot Boss Bar, the pickup window here is open till 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Pick from slices of cheese or pepperoni. [Photo: Yelp]

The bro-tastic sports lounge is open till 2 a.m. most nights and has daily specials that range from $7 burgers on Mondays to $6 grilled cheese and tomato soup on Fridays. You can even get $2 tacos on Tuesdays. [Photo: Yelp]

Check out Rick Bayless' always-busy Xoco for breakfast and pastry items in the morning, including churros for $1.60 each, and an array of affordable tortas and other items the rest of the day and evening. [Photo: Yelp]

BIG & little's

The little well-known spot for burgers and fish tacos is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, perfect for a base for a night out. The samurai taco, which is made with fried whitefish jalapeños, lettuce, special sauce, "samurai sauce," lime juice and sesame seeds, comes in at $4.75. Menu items also include a pork belly po' boy for $8. [Photo: Facebook]

Celeste

The swanky multi-level sophisticated spot is known for its cocktails, yet Celeste's standout bar bites, small plates and late night menu include a red lentil falafel for $8 and chicken liver pate for $7. The turn-of-the-century-themed bar is open late: Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 5 a.m., and food is available on the rooftop until 11. [Photo courtesy of Celeste]

Citizen Bar Chicago

Check out the large outdoor area at the bro-tastic Citizen Bar for mac 'n cheese bites ($9) or ceviche ($9). There's also a "frostee" and fries, made with Nutella and vanilla ice cream, for $7. [Photo: Facebook]

Da Lobsta

Serving lobster rolls for $12.95 and other casual seafood, Da Lobsta is BYOB and open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The location just north of the Hubbard Street strip makes it a good pre-partying eating option. [Photo: Facebook]

Eataly

The Nutella bar at the massive Italian marketplace serves a variety of filled crepes from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, some for just $4.80. There are also Nutella with bread options available, or pane con Nutella. [Photo: Marc Much]

Green Door Tavern

One of Chicago's oldest bars has a good late-night menu, serving affordable items including fried calamari ($10) and the "Uptown Loaded Fries" for $9. Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday, its a good option before or after a night out. [Photo: Yelp]

Henry's Swing Club

One of the most casual and fun bars in River North, the DMK spot dishes out a treasure trove of sliders beginning at $2 and other cheap food items including the "Big Tamale" and "Big Pretzel" for $6 each. And with the dance hall-esque Rec Room opening downstairs, Henry's is a one-stop shop for a night out in the neighborhood. [Photo: Marc Much]

M Burger

Need something fast or on-the-go? Try M Burger. The single M Burger at Lettuce Entertain You's fast-food burger chain is under $5, and its open until 9 p.m. on weeknights and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. [Photo: Facebook]

Portillo's Hot Dogs

The large food hall-esque River North location of the iconic Chicago-style chain is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. Menu items include a hot dog for $2.75 and Italian beef for $5.69. There are also char-broiled burgers and chicken sandwiches, all under $10. Finish your Portillo's experience with a chocolate cake shake for $3.25. [Photo: Yelp]

Tallboy Taco

Serving eight kinds of tacos on house-made tortillas for less than $5, the expansion of Nacional 27 won't empty your wallet: the beer-battered crispy fish taco is $3.50 or try the cowboy 12hr smoked brisket taco for $4. Open until midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. [Photo: Facebook]

The Doughnut Vault

Brendan Sodikoff's acclaimed doughnut chain serves daily specials and opens at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Look for a variety of doughnut types including glazed (chestnut/vanilla/chocolate) and buttermilk old fashioned. Be sure to get there before they sell out. [Photo: Facebook]

The Franklin Room

The swanky tavern's menu focuses on turn-of-the-century items items including including duck liver pate for $9 and chicken drumettes for $7. The duck noodle soup is $19, but big enough to share. Also, check out their $1 oysters, available from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It's open all day and has a massive whiskey selection, so you may not want to go out after you settle in. [Photo: Facebook]