Cheap Eats In Chicago, Illinois, Under 5 USD

cheap eats in chicago
Alyssandra Raiza
Alyssandra Raiza 
| 5 min read

Chicago is one of the largest and most popular cities in the US, drawing in an average of 58 million visitors, every year - this puts it as one of the most visited, second only to New York. As a financial, commercial, education, and technology hub, there is always something going on in Chicago that you wouldn’t want to miss. However, this doesn’t always mean that you have to break the bank to have a good time here. Traveling to the Windy City soon? Don’t miss out on some of the city’s best eats! Check out our picks for the best cheap eats in Chicago, Illinois, for under 5 USD.

1. Big & Little's

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Big & Little’s is a popular chain of restaurants in Chicago, with five locations across the city, known for their mouthwatering burgers, pizzas, and tacos! Some of their must-tries under 5.00 USD include their Mexican beef tacos, priced at just 3.29 USD (at their Wicker Park, Milwaukee Ave. store). Their cucumber and cilantro taco is also a great vegetarian alternative, priced at just 3.29 USD there. Their cheddar dog and grilled cheese are both guilty pleasures - priced at just 4.49 USD and 2.99 USD, respectively - and you’re sure to want more than just one!

Big & Little's

Opening/Closing Hours: 9:00 AM–10:00 PM, Sunday–Thursday; 9:00 AM - 12:00 AM, Friday - Saturday

Address: 1310 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Website: Big & Little’s

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2. Calumet Fisheries

Calumet Fisheries uses only the freshest seafood, smoked using natural wood at their smokehouse! Here, you can enjoy a pound of smoked heads and collars for just 4.99 USD, half a pound of smoked herring for just under 4.00 USD, and half a pound of smoked catfish at 4.99 USD! They offer a good number of a la carte meals, such as their clam strips, which you can enjoy at 4.99 USD per half order. If you have a little more to spare, you can also try a half order of their a la carte fish for 5.09 USD or their crab cakes at just 5.99 USD.

Calumet Fisheries

Opening/Closing Hours: 10:00 AM – 9:45 PM, Sunday – Wednesday; 9:00 AM – 9:30 PM, Thursday; 9:00 AM – 9:45 PM, Friday and Saturday

Address: 3259 E. 95th Street, Chicago, IL 60617

Website: Calumet Fisheries

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3. Ghareeb Nawaz

If you’re looking for hearty, healthy meals to enjoy during your stay in Chicago, Ghareeb Nawaz is your best bet. Their Chicken Biryani is priced at just 4.58 USD. You can also enjoy their tasty Hunter Beef Paratha for just 3.66 USD. If you do not eat meat, you can also enjoy a wide variety of food from their full vegan and vegetarian menus! Their Veggie Biryani is affordably priced at 3.66 USD, while their Aloo Palak Paratha, a hearty potato and spinach sandwich, costs just 2.00 USD. Their Veggie Thali is another good choice, served with a helping of rice, chapati, and four different kinds of veggie curry, for just 4.58 USD!

Ghareeb Nawaz

Opening/Closing Hours: 11:00 AM–11:00 PM, Monday–Sunday

Address: 2032 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL

Website: Ghareeb Nawaz

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4. Birrieria Zaragoza

Source: Photo by user used under CC BY 2.0

Birrieria Zaragoza is a family-run Mexican restaurant that serves some of the best tacos in the state! Made with handmade tortilla shells, lean and delicious goat meat, and 11 different spices, their tacos are definitely mouthwatering and should not be missed! You can try their Tace de Birria, priced at 3.75 USD, or their cheese quesadilla, for just 2.75 USD. You can also wash these down with their horchata, for 2.25 USD. For dessert, you can also indulge in their Flan, priced at just 3.75 USD.

Birrieria Zaragoza

Opening/Closing Hours: 10:00 AM–7:00 PM, Monday–Friday; 8:00 AM - 7:00PM, Saturdays; 8:00 AM - 4:00PM, Sundays

Address: 4852 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60632, USA

Website: Birrieria Zaragoza

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5. Gene & Jude's

Since the late 1940s, the iconic Gene and Jude’s has been serving up some of the best hot dogs in the country! Although their lines continue to be quite long, especially on busy weekends, their hot dogs are definitely worth the wait and should not be missed! You can start with their classic hot dog - topped with onions, mustard, and pepper, and served with a side of their delicious fries - for just 2.99 USD a pop. You can also try their double-dog, also served with a side of fries, priced at 3.75 USD. Wash it all down with a sweet and refreshing serving of their grape drink, for just 1.80 USD.

Gene & Jude's

Opening/Closing Hours: 10:30 AM - 1:00 AM, Sunday-Thursday; 10:30 AM - 2:00 AM, Friday and Saturday

Address: 2720 N. River Road, River Grove, IL

Website: Gene & Jude’s

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6. Fabulous Freddie's

Fabulous Freddie’s serves tasty and affordable Italian fare, made with the freshest ingredients! Although their larger, more popular dishes cost more than 5.00 USD, there are plenty of delicious snacks you can enjoy here for less. Their all-beef hot dogs are priced at just 4.75 USD, and their addictive fries and tots are just 3.95 USD per serving. If you have a little more to spare, you can also enjoy their Mac n Cheese bites for just 5.05 USD or their polish and chili dogs for 5.95 USD each.

Fabulous Freddie's

Opening/Closing Hours: 9:00 AM - 12:00 AM, Sunday - Thursday; 9:00 AM - 1:00 AM, Friday and Saturday

Address: 701 W 31st Street, Chicago, IL

Website: Fabulous Freddie’s

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7. Chi Cafe

cheap eats in chicago | chi cafe
Source: instagram

If you’re looking for the perfect hangover cure or midnight snack, Chi Cafe has just what you need! Chi Cafe offers delicious, budget-friendly Chinese meals. Try their deep-fried tofu for just 4.95 USD, or their Beef Satay at just 4.95 USD for four pieces. If you want something warm and comforting, you can have a bowl of their won ton, egg drop, and chicken corn soups for 2.90 USD for a small serving. If you have a little more to spare, you can also enjoy a hearty bowl of their congee for just 5.75 USD - you can even choose from sliced beef, salty chicken, seafood, and many more flavors.

Chi Cafe

Opening/Closing Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:00 AM, Sunday-Thursday; Open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays

Address: 2160 South Archer Avenue Chicago,IL 60616

Website: Chi Cafe

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8. Cemitas Puebla

Cemitas Puebla aims to bring the vibrant and fascinating culture of Puebla, Mexico, to life through their food! Their menu offers plenty of options, all of which are also quite affordable! You can have one of their delicious chalupas for just 4.95 USD. You can also enjoy a quesadilla, a Taco Arabe, or a Taco Government Precioso for just 3.95 USD each. You can also try their Taco Chorizo, Taco Veggie, or their Taco Al Pastor, which are all priced at just 2.95 USD each.

Cemitas Puebla

Opening/Closing Hours: 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Sunnday - Thursday; 11:00 AM - 10:30 PM, Fridays and Saturdays

Address: 817 West Fulton Market

Website: Cemitas Puebla

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9. Lem's Bar-B-Q

It's that time again! We've got Lem's Bbq and four other drool-worthy BBQ spots tonight. Any guesses where we might be headed?

Posted by Chicago's Best TV on Sunday, 20 September 2015

First opened in the 1950s, Lem’s Bar-B-Q is best known for their juicy rib tips and hot links. Here, you can enjoy delicious ribs, fried chicken, and fried shrimp at affordable prices. For 5.00 USD or less, you can enjoy their fried chicken breast (for just 3.00 USD), three pieces of chicken wings (which are priced at just 4.20 USD), and their chicken liver or gizzards - both of which cost 5.00 USD. You can also pair these with a serving of their addictive fries for just 1.50 USD or their signature seasoning for just 5.25 USD!

Lem's Bar-B-Q

Opening/Closing Hours: 1:00 PM - 1:00 AM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays; 1:00 PM - 3:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays

Address: 311 E. 75th Street, Chicago, IL. 60619

Website: Lem’s Bar-B-Q

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10. Small Cheval

Small Cheval Burger
Source: Photo by Flickr user Lou Stejskal used under CC BY 2.0

Although their food menu is quite simple - burgers for about 8.00 to 9.00 USD - Small Cheval offers a wide selection of beverages, for you to pair their juicy burgers with! You can enjoy some PBR or Urban Chestnut beer for just 4.00 USD each. You can also have a shot of Malort for the same price. If you’re looking for something more indulgent to go with your burger, you can enjoy a tall glass of chocolate or vanilla milkshake for just 3.95 USD - then have a shot a Bailey’s added for just another 4.00 USD.

Small Cheval

Opening/Closing Hours: 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM, Monday to Saturday; 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Sundays

Address: 1732 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Website: Small Cheval

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Good food for less, in Chicago

With so many places to choose from, you don’t have to spend much to enjoy good eats in the Windy City. These awesome restaurants are sure to satisfy any cravings you may have, for much less than you may expect.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Aly is an ever-curious wanderer who enjoys constantly learning and exploring the world. With more than five years of experience as a travel writer based in Manila, she enjoys writing about her...Read more

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