How could I forget the Pita Inn or Homers?
in Highland Park, Stash’s. Hot dog joint, to my taste not quite on the level of Michaels a block away, but still awfully good. Fries might be better than Michaels.
In Evanston or Wilmette (its right on the border), Sarkas. Great greasy breakfasts and grinders. Might be gone now, I know they had some problems.
in Wheeling, Bob Chinns Crab House. How is a $20+ per person crab/seafood house "roadfood"? Well, it just is. Simple, unfussy preparation, top-quality fresh stuff flown in every day, reasonable prices for the area, and an absolutely immense dining area that is the Chicago area’s largest. Like the midwest’s version of Boston’s Hilltop Steak House.
in Evanston, Davis St. Fishmarket. Another fish place, cheaper than Bob Chinns, again emphasis is on freshness, not fanciness. Good beer selection.
Chicago-area chain: Omegas. Greek/breakfast. Ridiculous portions. Huge baskets of bread to start. Very cheap.