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Issue Date: November 2009

Cheap Eats: Chef's Choice

We asked some of our favorite chefs for some of their favorite cheap eats.

Edited by Beth Stallings; by Chuck Bowen, Jennifer Bowen, Katie Dragga, Christina Ipavec, Jason Lloyd, Brittany Moffat, Andy Netzel, Kim Schneider, Colleen Smitek, Beth Stallings, Erick Trickey, Michelle Venorsky and Jim Vickers

"Maha’s Falafil [at the West Side Market] is my favorite cheap eat. I love grabbing a falafel with pickled turnips, hot sauce and hummus on a Friday.”

Ben Bebenroth,
Spice of Life Catering

"The bar burger at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern. A regular, medium-sized bun, iceberg lettuce, pickles and American cheese — and just greasy enough. Served with fries, it is one of those great comfort throwbacks to what the original burger was all about.”

Steve Schimoler,
Crop Bistro & Bar

"One of my favorite cheap eats is from Villa Y Zapata on Madison Avenue. My favorite dish is chile rellenos because I love cheese, and it’s this gooey, ooey plate of beautiful red sauce, fabulous cheese-filled peppers, and it’s just decadent and gooey and bad for me.”

Heather Haviland,
Lucky’s Cafe / Vine & Bean Cafe

"Big Al’s Diner on Larchmere. It’s down and dirty, totally a real diner. Everything is made from scratch. My favorite dish is the corned beef hash and eggs — it’s 50/50 potatoes to corned beef with huge chunks of green peppers and caramelized onions. It’s almost obnoxious how big the dishes are.”

Michael Symon,
Lola / Lolita / Bar Symon

"My favorite cheap eat is kung pow beef from Szechwan Garden in Lakewood. Most Chinese food is made up of boring vegetables. This one is made with shaved beef, spicy chiles, peanuts and amazing kung pow sauce.”

Pete Joyce,
Bistro on Lincoln Park

"The sandwich counter at Mister Brisket on South Taylor. The pastrami sandwich could easily be the best sandwich in the city.”

Zack Bruell,
Parallax / Table 45 / L’Albatros

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