11 Great Chicago Eats You Can Reach By Transit

Whether or not you believe in man-made climate change, we can all agree that our cities are terribly polluted.  Chicago is no exception.  Luckily, there is a very simply way you can reach a plethora of great Chicago eats and help save the environment at the same time.  Use our local mass transit!  I never tire of saying it and I won’t stop, until more of you “get on board.”  

 

Our cities do not need more cars on the road, belching out toxic fumes.  We do not need to hear more cars honking in obnoxious numbers.  We do not need more D.U.I.s!!!

 

Robert Kennedy said, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” The following is my most recent roundup of 11 great Chicago eats in different neighborhoods which you can reach by CTA trains and buses.

 

 

 

Feeding Off The Rails Chicago eats

 

 

 

This installment of my Feeding Off The Rails® blog is broken down by neighborhood.  Get ready to know Chicago a little bit better, while you do your part to save the planet and each other : )

 

 

River North

 

25 Degrees is a fabulous spot to get your burger, fries and beer fix.  Choose a high-top near the open window up front and watch the passersby on Clark St.  

 

 

 

25 Degrees in River North, Chicago

Loved this juicy tuna burger!

 

 

On my first visit here, I was extremely impressed with the juicy tuna steak burger which was cooked to a perfect medium-rare.  The sweet potato fries were addictive and they had a nice amount of salt.

 

 

 

25 Degrees burgers in Chicago

If you’re going to have the burger, commit to the fries!

 

 

Take the Red Line to the Chicago ‘L’ stop.  Then, walk 2 blocks west and 1/2 south to 25 Degrees. –   It’s also 3 blocks east of the Brown and Purple Line (Chicago ‘L” stop).   The #22 Clark bus stops here, too. – 736 N. Clark.

 

 

West Loop

 

Salero is a modern, Spanish restaurant on Chicago’s “restaurant row.”  Chef Aubin (Wood) never ceases to amaze me with his delicious and beautiful interpretations of Spanish cuisine. Check out this stunning, grilled sea bass with zucchini and tomato/rice croquettes!  It was such a light and lovely dish.  It brought back memories of my recent trip to Barcelona.

 

 

 

Salero Chicago eats

The stellar Spanish cuisine at Salero in Chicago

 

 

Salero is located one block south and two blocks west of the Clinton ‘L’ stop, along the Green and Pink Lines. – 621 W. Randolph.

 

 

Jupiter Outpost is one of my new, favorite places to get my caffeine fix.  It is so great that I need to add it to my existing list of Chicago’s coolest coffee spots.

 

 

 

Jupiter Outpost coffeehouse

 

 

Since Jupiter Outpost is not squeezed in next to the myriad of other Chicago eats in this neighborhood, it can be easy to miss.  

 

 

Jupiter Outpost Chicago

Local artists are featured at Jupiter Outpost coffeehouse.

 

 

There is a menu with breakfast and lunch offerings.  However, the star here is the Caffe Umbria roast which is used in the coffee drinks.  It’s one of the best roasts in Chicago and the good folks at Jupiter Outpost had me covered with a righteous mug of cafe americano.  Stop by and get your pulse pumping, while you ogle the work of local artists.

 

Jupiter Outpost is located 1 block north and 3 blocks west of the Morgan ‘L’ stop, along the Green and Pink Lines. – 1139 W. Fulton Market

 

 

The Market by Foxtrot is a quirky, little spot where you can grab some Bow Truss coffee drinks or shop for some wine, as well as some other odds and ends. 

 

 

 

The Market by Foxtrot's Americano

 

 

 

I stopped in recently to relax in the cozy sitting area with a living room feel.  I suspect I will be dropping by more often this winter.

 

 

 

The Market by Foxtrot in Chicago

Cozy coffee room 🙂

 

 

The Market by Foxtrot is located just 1 block west of the Morgan ‘L’ stop, along the Green and Pink Lines.  –  1019 W. Lake St.

 

 

 

Robert Kennedy quote Chicago Eats

 

 

 

Bridgeport

 

It’s no secret that Bridgeport is one of my favorite neighborhoods for Chicago eats like The Duck Inn.  It’s also home to one of the best spots for fresh, made-to-order, Mediterranean food in town, Zaytune.

 

 

 

Zaytune shrimp wrap Chicago Eats

 

 

 

Zaytune has been serving up house made falafel, hummus, meat and shrimp wraps and flat bread for several years now.  The food is not only fresh, it is super cheap.  So, if you are looking to save some money, this is the place for you!  I always love the grilled shrimp skewer wrap and the flavorful red pepper hummus.

 

 

 

Zaytune red pepper hummus Chicago Eats

 

 

 

You can take the #8 Halsted bus to 31st St. and walk 3 blocks west to Morgan St. – 3129 S. Morgan.

 

Pilsen

 

Pleasant House Pub (formerly Pleasant House Bakery) recently laid down new roots here, after it outgrew it’s quaint, little spot in Bridgeport..  

 

The owners are still serving up their savory Royal Pies (steak/ale, mushroom/kale and chicken balti), as well as some hearty sides and salads.  Now, they expanded to a larger space with a bar that embraces and evokes the spirit of traditional British pubs.  

 

 

 

Pleasant House Pub Chicago Eats

The savory Royal Pies at Pleasant House Pub are delicious!

 

 

The pub is serving imported British ales.  It stays open all day from lunch through dinner.  Just like British pubs, Pleasant House is a spot that encourages locals and visitors to stop by and spend the day.  Bring your laptop and get some work done.

 

I enjoyed the chicken balti pie for the very first time.  It came with a savory coriander chutney.  It was steaming hot, earthy and delicious.

 

Pleasant House Pub is located right along the #8 Halsted bus route.  You can connect for the bus at the Halsted ‘L’ stop, along the Orange Line. – 2119 S. Halsted

 

 

Noble Square

 

Mexique is a stellar Mexican restaurant with fare that showcases French influences.  The food is nothing short of brilliant.  You have Chef Gaytan to thank.

 

 

 

Mexique's mussels Chicago Eats

The wine at Mexique is excellent, too!

 

 

Mexique is often overlooked because it sits along a strip of Chicago Avenue on the west side which, sadly, does not see as much restaurant traffic as River North or the West Loop.  Don’t be so lazy that you miss out on some of the most flavorful and beautifully presented food in The Windy City!  It is hard to believe that Mexique only has one Michelin star!

 

 

 

Mexique in Noble Square

I could have used a straw to suck up the delicious sauce with these mussels!

 

 

 

I am still dreaming about the PEI mussels I enjoyed at Mexique.  The broth was an intoxicating blend of white wine, beurre blanc, saffron, chorizo and peppers.  The mussels were  sweet and tender.  I only needed a straw the finish off the broth 😉

 

 

 

Mexique's menus

Mahi Mahi with mole, blue corn tortilla, chorizo and beeans, avocado, roasted pineapple

 

 

 

Next up, I devoured the mahi mahi with house made mole, blue corn tortilla, chorizo and beans and roasted pineapple.  Wow!  Such a satisfying dish.  I washed it all down with a lovely rosé wine.

 

Take the #66 Chicago bus directly to Mexique.  Alternatively, you can walk the 7 short blocks west of the Chicago ‘L’ stop, along the Blue Line. – 1529 W. Chicago Ave.

 

 

South Loop

 

Tapas Valencia remains the best of Chicago eats in the South Loop.

 

This family owned and run Spanish restaurant has been serving up great food, drink and flamenco shows for the last 6 years.  Don’t miss out on this colorful spot.  Pro Tip:  Stop by early evenings for $3 and $4 tapas (bar menu only) and drink special during Happy Hour. 

 

 

 

Tapas Valencia in the South Loop

$3 and $4 tapas during Happy Hour at Tapas Valencia!

 

 

Tapas Valencia in Chicago

 

 

Take the #29 State or #62 Archer buses directly to Tapas Valencia.  It is just 3 blocks south of the Roosevelt ‘L’ stop, along the Red, Orange and Green Lines. – 1530 S. State St.

 

 

The Loop

 

Congratulations to Revival Food Hall for being the latest addition to Chicago’s Loop!  

 

This large, food hall is housed in a building designed by Daniel Burnham, one of Chicago’s most famous architects.  Here you can enjoy everything from baked goods to barbecue to fried chicken to booze and coffee.  

 

 

 

Revivial Food Hall in Chicago

Revival Food Hall in Chicago’s Loop

 

 

The coffee and bakery opens very early for the work crowd.  The other stations open for lunch and dinner.

 

I love the menu items at Aloha Poke Co. and the several local roasts at the coffee bar. 

 

 

 

Aloha Poke Co. at Revival Food Hall

The marinated Volcanic tofu at Aloha Poke Co.

 

 

Revival Food Hall is located 2 blocks west of the Monroe ‘L’ stop, along the Red Line.  The #22 Clark bus will stop here as well. – 125 S. Clark St.

 

 

Asado Coffee on Pickwick Place

 

Have I got a surprise for you!  If you are looking to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee in a hidden part of The Loop, Pickwick Place is where you will find it.  Blink and you’ll miss it.  Most locals work right by this secret treasure 🙂

 

Asado Coffee has been in business in this historic building at the end of any alley, since about a year ago.  Most alleys in Chicago are for keeping garbage off of the sidewalk, so most folks don’t bother with them.  That is why this coffee haven is so overlooked.

 

 

 

Asado Coffee Roasters in Chicago

Asado Coffee Roasters on Pickwick Place is located in one of the tiniest buildings in Chicago dating back to the 1800s.

 

 

The building is on record a being one of the tiniest in Chicago.  It dates back to the 1800s, shortly after the Great Chicago Fire!    The building was once a horse stable, among other things.

 

 

 

Pickwick Coffee Chicago

 

 

 

Today it is home to the smallest coffee take-away spot I’ve ever visited.  The alley (Pickwick Place) is still made of bricks.  There is a big, bright COFFEE sign to guide you to the door with a horse’s head on it.  The string of lights overhead and few cafe tables add to the European charm this of this place.

 

 

 

Asado Coffee on Pickwick Place

A taste of Europe in Chicago’s Loop. Who knew?!

 

 

So, if you are looking to have a moment of peace in this loud city or hide out from annoying co-workers, Asado Coffee on Pickwick Place is the spot for you!

 

Asado Coffee is located just 1 block south and 1/2 block west of the Adams/Wabash ‘L’ stop, along the Orange, Green, Brown and Purple Lines. – 22 E. Jackson Blvd.

 

 

Toni Pastisserie

 

This adorable, French cafe is an oasis just steps from Michigan Avenue, near Millennium Park.

 

Whether you are looking for quiche, croissant, pastries or coffee, I recommend you stop into the charming space here.

 

 

Toni Pastisserie in Chicago

Flattery or insult with my coffee?

 

 

Toni Pastisserie is located 1 block south and 1/2 block east of the Randolph/Wabash ‘L’ stop, along the Orange, Green, Brown and Purple LInes.  The #3 King Drive and #4 Cottage Grove buses stop nearby on Michigan Avenue. – 65 E. Washington St.

 

Are you still with me?  Great!  You are now fully equipped to grab these great Chicago eats using our trains and buses.  What are you waiting for?  Start your new life as a “mass transit foodie” today.  

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to these great Chicago eats.  Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!