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Burrito Showdown

Drop the Chipotle and head to these winning Mexican eateries instead.
Thursday Mar 19, 2009.     By Alicia Eler
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Just because we're in a recession, it doesn't mean you should stock up on Spam, as CNN reports say many Americans have unfortunately already started doing. Drop the processed slop; you can still meet your nutritional needs on the cheap without sacrificing flavor. Our guide will tell you when, where and how to get the best cheap burritos in Chicago.

Taqueria El Chorrito
Whether it's 4 a.m. or 9 p.m., count on this easy-to-miss storefront gem for top-quality, inexpensive burritos. And since it's almost next-door to gay bars Jackhammer and Touche, chances are good that you'll get some eye candy with your eats. An old-fashioned, now-defunct, maroon-colored neon sign proclaiming "Hamburgers Chili" testifies to this space's food-service legacy. Burritos come out fresh, hot and packed with the usual goods. Add extra avocado if you want the full experience.

La Amistad
So long as Montrose Avenue isn't flooded with water—which it seems to be anytime more than three inches of rain falls—make this fast-service spot a North Side stop for lunch or dinner burritos. Paintings on the wall wax nostalgic about the old country, suggesting this place's down-to-earth values. Service is prompt: chips and a variety of salsas arrive at your table only moments after you sit down. Big windows make for perfect people-watching on this busy commercial strip. The laid-back atmosphere's all good, but it's the perfect toasty tortilla outer layer gives these burritos that extra oomph.

Perez Restaurant
Gallery-hopping on a Saturday afternoon is hard work. After you buy that work of art you've been eyeing for some time, spending money on an expensive dinner might not sound quite as appealing. That's where Perez comes in. Located around the corner from the Peoria Street and Washington Avenue galleries, this two-room restaurant offers friendly, speedy service for here or to go. Salsa comes by the bucketful, so don't be shy about spreading the spicy stuff all over your burrito.

Sure, burritos are great for lunch and dinner, but Michelle Fire's organic, locally focused brunch spot knows how to make 'em work for breakfast, too. Choose from one of six mouth-watering burritos that cater to the health-conscious crowd. We recommend the simple yet satisfying "numero cuatro," a flour tortilla loaded with organic beans, organic eggs, avocado and cheddar or Chihuahua cheese. Sure, $9.50 sounds like a lot for a burrito, but Tweet delivers good bang for you buck with heaping portions.

Didn't find a spot close to your 'hood? Check out our full directory of Mexican eateries.


Explore More

Bars & Clubs

Brand-New Bars

Brand-New Bars

Get divey on Grace; go downstairs at River North's Curio.

Food & Dining

New Restaurants

New Restaurants

Go Dutch at Vincent and satisfy a familiar sweet tooth at BomBon.

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