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The Guide To A Better Lunch In The Loop

We get it, work can be “busy.” Staring at Excel spreadsheets takes up a lot of time during the day. But don’t cheat yourself when it comes to lunch, because you shouldn’t fall victim to the convenience of Subway and McDonald’s during the work week. You deserve better than that.

That’s why we want to highlight these 25 restaurants in the Loop for a quick lunch during the work week. Throw away that boring bologna sandwich you’re about to eat and get yourself to one of these places instead. Here's where to grab lunch in the Loop.

The Spots

1

Cafecito

Loop
26 E Congress Pkwy
8.0
MAP

Delicious Cuban style sandwiches in a casual take-out atmosphere. Get the cubano if you're looking to go all out, or a talapia sandwich to keep things a little healthier. Their Cuban coffee will have you bouncing off the walls the rest of the day at your desk. Take that, HR.

2

The Berghoff Restaurant

17 W. Adams St.
MAP

Do NOT sit down in the actual restaurant. Instead, do one of two things. 1. Head downstairs to the cafe and eat cafeteria lunchroom style, or 2. Our personal favorite, follow the old guys in suits to the express lunch sandwich stand in the main bar area. Get a corned beef or turkey sandwich with homemade chips and a pickle.

Photo: Facebook/Berghoff
3

Zenwich

206 W. Van Buren St.
MAP

The husband and wife duo here serves zenwiches – classic American sandwiches with Japanese flavor twists. How does that work? Korean cheese steak zenwich, that’s how. We love their spicy garlic shrimp zenwich too.

4

Farmer's Fridge

1151 S State St
MAP

Farmer’s Fridge is a salad vending machine company that serves fresh and healthy salads in plastic, recyclable mason jars. There's a few of them around, so find a location closest to you. The craziest part about it all? They are legitimately good. Seriously.

Photo: Farmer's Fridge
5

Chicken Planet

177 W. Van Buren St.
MAP

Chicken Planet might not look like much, but you’ll be amazed at the half chicken, pita, and a side deal for about $8. It kind of feels unfair to them, but we aren’t complaining.

6

Eastman Egg

Loop
23 North Upper Wacker Drive
7.4
MAP

Eastman is all about high quality breakfast sandwiches. They're not huge and a bit pricier as far as egg sandwiches go, but no doubt they're really good. If you're looking for something more substantive, Eastman also rolled out a quality burger that will more than fill you up. Get an egg on it.

7

Bombacigno's J & C Restaurant

558 W. Van Buren St.
MAP

Technically west of the river, but you won’t melt if you walk across the bridge. This old school joint is only open from 11am to 2pm during the week, so there's a small window, but it's worth it. We like to get the turkey on focaccia bread, but anything on the focaccia bread will work. No complaints about the hot meatball sub either.

8

U.B. Dogs

185 .N Franklin St.
MAP

Can’t find that classic Chicago dog you’ve been looking for in the Loop? U.B. is the answer to your prayers. Relish so green you’ll half expect it to turn into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Photo: Facebook/U.B. Dogs
9
MAP

Pastoral is the type of artisanal meat and cheese store you'd expect to see wandering down The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Go to either the Wabash and Lake location or the stand inside the French Market for simple but awesome sandwiches and salads.

10

Benjyehuda

Loop
212 W Van Buren St
7.9
MAP

There are a number of good fast-casual Mediterranean spots in the Loop, but we aren’t shy about the fact Benjyehuda is our favorite. Go with the chicken or steak schwarma in whatever format you prefer – salad, rice bowl, pita or flatbread sandwich. We demand you order the cheese fries even if you have a busy afternoon.

Photo: Facebook/Benjyehuda
11

Naf Naf Grill

309 W. Washington St.
MAP

Naf Naf is another player in the cheap eats Mediterranean game, and it's expanding fast. There are a couple locations already in the Loop alone. We are partial to Naf Naf when it comes to their falafal and pita, which is why we hit them up when that’s exactly what we want.

12

Brown Bag Seafood Co.

Loop
340 E Randolph St
7.1
MAP

Brown Bag is a great summer time lunch spot if you work anywhere near Michigan Avenue. The choose your own adventure style seafood menu with sandwiches, salads, bowls, and tacos is perfect for a light meal. You can also stare at the city and Millenium Park while you daydream about finding a better job.

13

Pierogi Heaven

329 S. Franklin St.
MAP

Pierogi Heaven has you covered for when you’re sitting at your desk and a pierogi craving suddenly takes over. And if that never happens, try Pierogi Heaven anyway - meat pierogis, cheese pierogis, veggie pierogis, and even fruit-filled ones. It’s all good and an outside the box meal.

14

Be Leaf Salad

29 N Wacker Dr
MAP

Have you noticed how hard it is to get a basic salad around here for a reasonable price? Harder than it should be. We know there are a number of chains around that try and serve this need, but none of them make us that excited. Be Leaf is a good option when you want basic greens, and it's always healthy, filling, and reasonably priced. Try the falafel-osophy, a sweet potato falafel salad with feta, dates, tabbouleh, and more.

15

CBA Steamwiches

11 N. Wells St.
MAP

Let’s be clear that CBA doesn’t have real bagels in the lox and cream cheese sense. But that’s not the intention. The bagels are meant for steamed sandwiches with virtually endless toppings, and the whole bagel steamwich situation works surprisingly well.

16

Habanero Baja Grill

2 N Riverside Plz
MAP

Looking for an afternoon taco fix? Habanero is the spot. Mix it up with chicken, steak, barbacoa, baja fish, or mojo shrimp.

17

Luke's Lobster

Loop
134 N LaSalle St
6.9
MAP

We don’t think the Chicago Luke’s is as good as its New York counterparts, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat there if you’re craving a lobster roll. If you can’t fight the feeling, Luke’s is still your best bet for a quick lobster roll option in the Loop.

18

Fontano's Subs

332 S. Michigan Ave.
MAP

Fontano’s is one of our personal favorites for a quick sandwich. It must have been a favorite of some others too, because Fontano’s traded in their hole-in-the wall space on Jackson for some nicer digs on Michigan Ave. The sandwiches are still great, and that’s all that counts. Make sure to top whatever you're eating with mass quantities of giardiniera.

19

Fumaré

Loop
131 N Clinton St #14
7.9
MAP

The Montreal style smoked pastrami sandwich at Fumare is legit one of the best sandwiches in town. They serve other really good deli sandwiches too, but the smoked pastrami is what you want.

20

Saucy Porka

400 S. Financial Pl.
MAP

According to the people at Saucy Porka, Bao + Taco = Baco. The Saucy Porka is a mix of Asian and Latin cooking roots, and you don’t have to be Einstein to realize it’s a beautiful equation.

21

Blackwood BBQ

28 S. Clinton St.
MAP

Barbecue isn’t normally in our lunch repertoire, but maybe it is for you. If so, check out one of the few Blackwood BBQ's around. You can overdo it with pulled pork, macaroni, and cornbread, or be a bit more practical and get some pulled chicken over a salad.

22

Naansense

113 S. Clinton St.
MAP

Naansense is Americanized Indian food. There’s nothing wrong with that, just don’t go around telling people you love Indian food and use Naansense as an example of why. That being said, you can’t go wrong with a chicken tikka or vindaloo naanwich.

23

Aloha Poke Co.

Chicago French Market Suite #19, 131 N Clinton St
MAP

It was only a matter of time before the poke craze reached Chicago. And Aloha Poke set the bar high for it's competitors that are no doubt on the way. You'll spend more on lunch here than you will on a Potbelly sandwich, but the abundance of fresh tuna, salmon, and other ingredients is worth it.

24

Venice Café

500 W Monroe St
MAP

Sometimes you just need the options of a giant Italian menu to help get you through the day. Pizza, pasta, calzone, or maybe a meatball sub? If you find yourself in this situation, then check out the longstanding Venice Cafe on Monroe. If you work in or near the Sears Tower and are real busy (lazy), there's another location inside the building too.

25

Oasis Cafe

21 N Wabash Ave Ste 11
MAP

Unless you're regularly shopping for diamond necklaces and engagement rings, it's easy to miss Oasis Cafe. That's because it's hiding in the back of an actual jewelry store on Jeweler's Row, the small stretch of Wabash under the L in the Loop. Indulge inMediterranean food like hummus, kebabs, and schwarma. It only costs about $10 for lunch, so you can save up for some bling later.

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