Togarashi fries and Belly Dog with kimchi salsa and egg noodles at Belly Shack
Belly Shack’s togarashi fries and Belly Dog with kimchi salsa and egg noodles


1912 North Western Avenue; 773-252-1414


Say what you will about the dark, metallic space or the impersonal counter service—there’s no denying Belly Shack’s relentless creativity. Take the lemongrass-tinged meatball sandwich with rice noodles and mint on a pita: It’s a big, crazy mess that looks like an admiral’s hat and may well be the most irresistible sandwich in Chicago. Few people other than Urbanbelly’s Bill Kim and Yvonne Cadiz-Kim could pull it off. The husband-wife team drew from their heritages (Korean and Puerto Rican) to create a one-of-a-kind menu that jumps from tostones and boricua to kimchi and kogi without once falling into the wide chasm between the two cuisines. Neat trick for a low-budget BYO whose menu rarely goes above $10.

TIP: Cross your fingers that the togarashi fries with curry mayo are a special.

PLUS: Read the review »



PRICE KEY: ¢ $10 to $19  $ $20 to $29   $$ $30 to $39  $$$ $40 to $49   $$$$ $50-plus
[Cost per person for dinner, excluding wine, tax, or tip]


Photograph: Anna Knott