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Where are Chicago-based chowhounds excited to eat on a weeknight?

mctucker | Apr 12, 201508:03 PM

I'm coming to Chicago for a week in May, and would love to find the local, interesting, and affordable food that local people are talking about - stuff that will give a unique read on Chicago, its upstart chefs, and its immigrants. I am happy spending $10 or $100 pp (food only), as long as it is not the same old stuff the fine dining places all seem to be serving. Why is everyone serving grilled octopus 1000 miles from the nearest natural octopus? I'm aware that Chicago is famous for deep dish and IBs (and will certainly have some), but I suspect that is not where you guys are meeting your friends for a new experience. What I really want is what Chicago is excited about right now. What is Chicago doing better than anywhere else?

Helpful details:
- Hotel in the south end of the Loop, but willing to take the EL
- Coming from San Francisco, so probably not interested in Mexican, as that is our bread and water out here; interested in any other cuisine, US or global

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