Feast On The Cheap In Chicago

Two new spots for feasting on the cheap

Chicago's longest continuous street, Western Avenue, is disproportionally short on compelling restaurants.

Two recent additions are upping the edible credibility of the stretch between Wicker Park and Bucktown, sandwiching Belly Shack with two more inexpensive, flavorful options for lunch.

Hash: This tiny newcomer is long on diner-like charm. Classic corned-beef hash is joined by playful versions like the Humboldt, with black beans, chorizo and tomatillo salsa, and vegetarian chickpea hash with kale and paneer.

Top the bowl with one egg or two ($5.25 or $6.75, respectively) cooked any style, and sip Dark Matter coffee on the side. The shaved butternut squash salad with roasted cauliflower and curry dressing ($6) is a worthy break from home fries.

The Art of Chicken: Though it adheres to the standard grilled-chicken-joint menu rubric, this iteration stands out for its stylish design. The El Jefe marinated bird has a surprising and enticing sweetness to its golden skin; or opt for the herb-flecked Crazy Chico ($4.25 for a quarter bird).

Saucy macaroni and cheese ($1.90) is wan, but a hearty squeeze from the salsa verde bottle perks it up. Grab extra napkins before tackling corn on the cob ($2), here served elote-style: butter-soused, mayonnaise-slathered and sprinkled with chile powder and cheese.