I spend about 12 hours downtown every week day, and I’ve never been good at planning ahead and packing a lunch, so I’m often faced with the challenge of finding food that’s healthy and affordable in the South Loop. It’s harder than you might think. If I were part of the 1% (or maybe even 15%), I’d feast on a variety of ethnic cuisines and gourmet dishes: French omelets for breakfast, sushi for lunch and a nice steak dinner before heading off to night class. But since I’m a regular college kid who can barely scrape up enough change to do laundry, my options include whatever slightly legitimate food I can find in the vending machines, and anything on a Dollar Value menu that isn’t made out of mystery meat, a.k.a. salad.
Sometimes, salad doesn’t cut it. Luckily, Cafecito, the best Cuban sandwich joint I’ve ever come across, is right across the street from the WCRX studio. I start almost every day with a cup …ok…a few cups of their fantastic coffee. This is rocket fuel. No messing around. They’ve also got a list of specialty beverages including lattes, smoothies and South American specialties, all of which pair off nicely with a freshly prepared egg sandwich or a tasty guava pastry. For lunch, I recommend the Guava-Q pressed sandwich, or a cup of Cuban black bean soup. When the foundation of a sandwich is crispy with perfectly pressed Cuban bread, it’s going to be delicious no matter what else is included.
Cafecito uses quality meats, cheeses and vegetables, seasoned perfectly. Each sandwich is prepared to order, so you might have to wait a few minutes, but I guarantee it’s worth it.
As far as price goes, you won’t have to spend more than 6 dollars to fill up. So if you find yourself in the South Loop around lunchtime, check out Cafecito. The food is great, the atmosphere is exciting, and you’ll be supporting a local business owned by a Columbia College Chicago graduate.