Five Foodie Hot Spots in Under Five Minutes


Jack Pennington, Editor-in-Chief

With only 50 minutes for lunch, WY students have a limited number of restaurant options that won’t result in a tardy notice, or worse, Saturday school. For those of us without cars, hitting up Dunkin’ Donuts is convenient but can quickly become mundane. If you are hoping for a break from our cafeteria’s standard offerings, we’ve curated a list of five local eateries that you can walk to in five minutes or less. 


  1. Ricano’s Restaurant, 230 S. Ashland Ave. (walk time: 3min 10sec)

This hidden gem offers delicious casual Mexican dining at student-friendly prices. With tacos starting at $3.25, a smashburger w/fries going for $7.99, and chocolate cake for $3.95, students can truly indulge without breaking the bank. The staff is friendly and efficient and as an added bonus, the restaurant has a large patio secreted away in the back, making it the perfect place for a sunny lunchtime retreat.


  1. Café L’Appetito, 1258 W. Jackson (walk time: 5min 11sec) 

If you are looking to crush some “big city sandos”, this authentic Italian deli will not disappoint. Most of their grilled panini options hover around the $7 mark, soups and salads average $5-7 and a giant cookie finishes off lunch perfectly for only $2.95. All items are made to order, served fresh, and prepared quickly, making this little corner café worthy of the walk.


  1. Palace Grill, 1408 W. Madison (walk time: 4min 48sec)

For delicious, affordable, diner food, Palace Grill is the place to go. Comfort classics like a grilled cheese, 1/4lb burger, or BLT, served with fries and slaw, range from $7.25 to $8.50. For those seeking lighter fare, soup, side salad or sweet potato fries are all under $5. Grabbing a $4.95 milkshake for your walk back to campus will make your lunch truly indulgent. 


  1. Harold’s Chicken, 1501 W. Madison (walk time: 3min 37sec)

This no-fuss, counter-service place has some of the tastiest and most popular fried chicken in town. Daily lunch specials offer 4 wings, 3 tenders, or 3 perch filets with fries and slaw for $7. Sharable-sized appetizers like mushroom caps, cheese sticks or jalepeno poppers are $4.50 to $5 each. Meals are substantially portioned but if you have room for dessert, you can round out your lunch with a classic cheesecake for $3.50.


  1. La Lagartija Taqueria, 132 S. Ashland Ave. (walk time: 3min 25sec)

This small, cozy place has chicken, al pastor or chorizo tacos for $3.20 each. However, the true culinary find here, in my opinion, are the tamales. At only $2.70 each, they are flavorful, fresh and filling. The quesadillas are another excellent option with prices ranging from $4.25 to $5 each. The staff is speedy but friendly, and the reasonable prices combine perfectly to make this spot a student-favorite.


So take advantage of summer’s last, lingering rays of warmth to get out and explore some of the West Loop’s lunch options with your friends.