As an out-of-state and unfamiliar LUC student, stepping onto Loyola’s campus my freshman year made me a bit nervous…For my stomach. With unknown restaurants on every block I felt incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of choices. While I knew all my go-to’s at home, I had no idea where the closest ice cream shop was or where to find any Chicago-famous eateries.
I spent most weekends freshman year diving into Chicago’s food scene, spending all my extra cash and time on taste bud thrills. Chicago offers endless food and drink opportunities, but before you get ahead of yourself, here is a guide to get a head-start on navigating restaurants near both the downtown and lake shore campuses.
1. When you need a quick breakfast on a budget: Anne Sather
Dangerously close to campus, Anne Sather is a must-try. Be sure to get there early on weekends or be prepared to wait at least a good 30 minutes (don’t worry, the wait is so worth it).
What to order: The cinnamon rolls are a rich, hearty delight and will be granted to you as a side with any main dish. If you’re on a budget just stick to the rolls alone, they will cost you around $3 and you’ll be full (and happy) for hours.
Location: 3415 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657 (just a few blocks from the lake shore campus, next to Granville station)
2. When your parents come to visit and treat you to brunch: Revival Social Club
This modern venue will leave you feeling like a king or queen. Treat yourself and your fam to an upscale brunch.
What to order: Anything and everything because whatever you decide will be free and (most importantly) delicious. However, I would recommend a specialty coffee like this s’mores coffee and their monkey bread.
Location: 1133 W Granville Ave, Chicago, IL 60660 (next to the Granville station, and Anne Sather)
3. When you’re hangry at 2 am: Sam’s Chicken & Ribs
Sam’s has almost anything you could possibly be longing to snack on in the late hours of night. From Indian and Mexican food to sandwiches and fries, they have it all. Plus, they’re open until 4 am. Let’s face it, if you’re up any later than that, just wait an hour and go get yourself some breakfast.
What to order: Purely situational, if you crave it they got it. But it should be noted that their moz sticks are top notch.
Location: 1102 W Granville Ave, Chicago, IL 60660 (right across from the Granville station)
4. When you have a classy date: The Village
As part of The Italian Village, a historic building home to three Italian restaurants, The Village is part of the oldest Italian restaurant in Chicago. With white clothed tables and twinkling lights decor, you will feel as though you’re eating on a romantic hilltop restaurant in Italy. The staff will make you feel right at home and pamper you the entire meal.
What to order: As long as you don’t fill up too much on the free bread sticks and loaf bread, try a classic pasta dish like fettuccine alfredo or manicotti. Anything you order will leave you feeling refined and full.
Location: 71 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603 (located near the Monroe stop on the red line, only a few stops from the downtown campus)
5. When you want an exotic pancake: Sunny Side Up
This cute, upscale diner has a variety of breakfast favorites. However, check out an extra list of specialty pancakes to boost your breakfast.
What to order: Try one of their exotic pancakes like the red velvet, cinnamon roll, or confetti.
Location: 42 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611 (only about two blocks from the downtown campus)
6. When you’re craving classic, greasy American food: Portillo’s
If you’re living in Chicago and haven’t been to Portillo’s, you better get there fast. This was one thing I learned my first week at Loyola. From hot dogs to sandwiches, burgers, and fries, Portillo’s has any and all of your American-style cravings.
What to order: Order a Chicago hot dog, of course. Pair that with an order of cheese fries and have a chocolate cake shake for dessert.
Location: 100 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60610 (near the red line Grand station, a stop from the downtown campus)
7. When your Instagram needs a boost: Amorino Gelato
It’s almost too pretty to eat. You get to choose a bundle of flavors (don’t worry, they’ll give you samples) to be shaped into a beautiful gelato flower.
What to order: Pick out your favorite flavors and create the perfect flower, but don’t forget to color coordinate.
Location: 838 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610 (right across the street from Quinlan School of Business at the downtown campus)
8. When you feel like stuffing your face: Cheesie’s Pub & Grub
If you need a quick meal on your commute between campuses, stop by Cheesie’s for a specialty grilled cheese.
What to order: The mac grilled cheese sandwich is for you if you’re up for a challenge. With warm, gooey mac n cheese stuffed between two pieces of toast, matched with seasoned fries, prepare yourself for a major food baby.
Location: 958 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (off the Belmont red line stop)
9. When you have a sweet tooth for ice cream: Lickity Split Frozen Custard & Sweets
Having not only frozen custard, but baked goods, candies, and specialty sodas, Lickity Split is any sweet tooth’s heaven on earth. It’s walking distance from campus, which makes it a simple reward for hard studying during finals week.
What to order: If you’re having trouble deciding between a cupcake and a concrete, have the best of both worlds with a Crazy Cake. They’ll blend a cupcake of your choice from the display case with frozen custard and top it with rainbow sprinkles.
Location: 6056 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60660 (a quick walk from the lake shore campus)
10. When you’re craving pizza but don’t want deep dish *gasp*: Bar Toma
For all the deep dish haters out there, Bar Toma is here to rescue you. This pizzeria with modern flare has a variety of hand-tossed crust pizzas.
What to order: Try one of their signature pizzas like the margherita.
Location: 110 E Pearson St, Chicago, IL 60611 ( a short walk from the water tower campus)
11. When you’re trying to find that perfect burger: bopNgrill
You don’t have to walk far from campus to get a classic burger. And if you feel daring, try their other Asian-inspired burgers and dishes.
What to order: Build your own or try the kimchi or the bNg burger.
Location: 6604 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60626 (near the lake shore campus and the Loyola red line stop)
12. When you need a lot of options: Grand Lux Café
If you’re with a group who can’t decide what they want, or you aren’t sure yourself what you’re craving, the Grand Lux Cafe is the place for you. They have a huge menu and you’re sure to find something that’ll float your boat there.
What to order: The macaroni & cheese skillet is a must-try for an appetizer and the Pasta Telephono is a tasty meal.
Location: At Ontario, 600 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 6061 (a few blocks from the downtown campus)
13. When you want a unique atmosphere: Thai Spice
Have you ever sat on the floor at a restaurant? Well if you want to try it, Thai Spice gives you that option. This small and close to campus restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere and tasty Thai food.
What to order: I like to special order the Vegetarian Curry Sauce and pair it with shrimp and white rice, but I hear the Pad Thai is pretty bomb too.
Location: 1320 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60660 ( a short walk from the lake shore campus)
14. When you want to spice things up: The Little India
This Indian restaurant is a few short train stops away from the lake shore campus and will add some serious heat to your palette. Order any main dish and your server will ask for your desired level of spice.
What to order: Chicken tikka masala with garlic naan. Words cannot describe.
Location: 1109 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60660 (off the Bryn Mawr red line stop)
15. When you need your taco fix: Velvet Taco
The Velvet Taco’s casual and edgy atmosphere is much like their tacos. They offer an array of specialty tacos including three different types of meat, and fish and vegetarian options.
What to order: If you’re willing to try unusual takes on the traditional taco try the spicy tikka chicken or the shrimp and grits. And be sure to get their red curry coconut queso as a side.
Location: 1110 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610 ( around a five block walk from the water tower campus)
16.When you need somewhere to spend Thirsty Thursday: Bar 63
Decked out in maroon and gold, Bar 63 is close to campus and a hot spot for students. Even some Greek life organizations use Bar 63 to host their mixers.
What to order: Check out the daily drink specials.
Location: 6341 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660 (as close to campus as you can get)
17. When you’re longing for classic Chicago deep dish pizza: Giordano’s
As classic as it gets, Giordano’s has the Chicago deep dish you crave when you can’t even look at other foods. Just be sure you have plenty of time for them to cook up your perfect pie.
What to order: Deep dish—with your favorite toppings, of course.
Location: 6836 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60626 (a short walk from the lake shore campus)
18. When you’re hungry for something healthy: Lyfe Kitchen
Have you been eating too much dorm food? Do you want to eat out, but not feel gross after your meal? Try Lyfe Kitchen for a light lunch or dinner. With so many menu options, Lyfe Kitchen provides a lot of your favorite dishes and snacks, made a little healthier than usual. If you’re on a vegan or gluten-free diet, this is a great spot for you.
What to order: Try one of their light flatbreads or customize a yummy, healthy salad.
Location: 259 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611 (near the water tower campus)