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A good $10 lunch isn’t hard to find in Chicago, but a great $10 lunch? That requires a little searching. Whether you’re in town to wander through museums, hit the stores on the Mag Mile or go on a river tour, we’ve rounded up 10 spots to find a great lunch for $10 or less. Hot dogs, barbecue, poke—Chicago has it all.

RELATED: These are America’s most underrated food cities

Photo courtesy of @kendricksamuel

U.B. Dogs
What’s a visit to Chicago without sampling a Chicago hot dog? At U.B. Dogs, just across the River from the House of Blues, you can devour the delicacy, which comes topped with a squiggle of mustard, onion, emerald green relish, tomatoes, a pickle spear, a couple of sport peppers and a sprinkle of celery salt, for just $3.50. If you’re ravenous, the two-dog special is just $9.75 and comes with perfectly crisp, salted fries and a soda.

Photo courtesy of @nannasee

Saucy Porka
Finish off a tour of the Harold Washington Library with lunch at Saucy Porka, where Latin flavors make their way into bao buns, like sofrito-marinated shrimp with mojo garlic slaw, or miso-braised short ribs with pineapple salsa. At $2–$3 a pop, you can mix and match bao for a filling meal.

Photo courtesy of @emidinic

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine
Before an afternoon in Millennium Park spent posing and taking selfies under the city’s famed Bean sculpture, head to Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, located a few blocks away, to pick up a picnic lunch. The tiny shop has plenty of fancy snacks, cheese and wine, but they also have affordable sandwiches, like the BTA, housemade prosciutto bacon layered with tomatoes, avocado and greens for $7.

Photo courtesy of @hungerlusts

Revival Food Hall
After soaring 103 stories in the air at the Willis Tower Skydeck, come back to earth and head to Revival Food Hall, which features 15 vendors. Swing by Union Square, where a thick slice of crispy-edged Detroit-style pie with sausage, red onion and green pepper sets you back $9; a spicy jalapeno-cheddar sausage sandwich at Smoque is $7; and a pair of earthy mushroom tacos with guacamole and queso is $9 at Antique Taco.

Photo courtesy of @rockngbb

Chicago French Market
Stroll along the River to the French Market, which features rows of food stalls. Chicago’s poke obsession began with Aloha Poke, which offers an eight-ounce bowl for $7.50. Try a housemade creation like the Crunch, salmon, tuna or tofu with jalapeno, cucumber, edamame, and spicy aioli, or build-your-own bowl. For something heartier, Fumare Meats, a Montreal smoked meat stand, serves a $10 smoked pastrami on rye.

Photo courtesy of @fashion4supper

3 Greens Market
The Au Cheval burger is one of Chicago’s cult-classic burgers, but you don’t have time to wait for a table if you’re going to be sightseeing in the Loop. Head to 3 Greens Market in River North instead for a Small Cheval Burger, a slightly smaller version that includes the same pickles, well-seasoned patty and squishy bun for $9.

Photo courtesy of @princessaponee

M Burger
You’ll work up an appetite after a morning spent shopping and hauling bags down the Mag Mile, so pop into a nearby location of M Burger for lunch. The burgers, like the $4.50 classic cheeseburger, with LTO and special sauce, can’t be beat, but make sure to ask about the secret shake—the ultra-creamy $3.50 shakes, in flavors like chocolate-peanut butter, peppermint and espresso, are a must-order for dessert.

ALSO: Order that with a side of CheapCash—just book a flight to earn instantly towards a hotel!

After a morning spent admiring the masterworks at the Art Institute, stroll 10 minutes to another Chicago gem—Cafecito. The tiny café serves a textbook Cubano, with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard for $6. If your energy is flagging, throw back a $2 double Cuban espresso, stirred with sugar.

Photo courtesy of @kingdavidgui

Pierogi Heaven
Just a short walk from the River Walk, you’ll find Pierogi Heaven, a casual spot that focuses on—what else?—pierogi. A plate of nine dumplings is less than $9, and you can choose from fillings like meat and spinach, potato and cheddar, or sauerkraut and mushrooms, all topped with fried onions, crumbled bacon and dollops of sour cream.

Photo courtesy of @dining_with_demitria

Blackwood BBQ
For a hearty lunch break during a busy day of sightseeing, barbecue fits the bill. Try Blackwood, with three Chicago locations, including one on the Mag Mile. Order up a mustard-brined pulled pork sandwich on a brioche bun clocks in at less than $8, so round out your meal with a $2 side of mac and cheese or a creamy elote corn salad.



Tagged: Chicago

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Amy Cavanaugh

Amy Cavanaugh

Amy is Senior Editor at Plate Magazine, where she covers chefs and bartenders across the country. Based in Chicago, she has also written for Time Out Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Serious Eats and Saveur.

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