The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

South Side Cheap Eats: Fogata Village's Lunch Buffet

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Oct 11, 2006 1:30PM

"You like taking pictures", the man asked, as we set to the task of chronicling this week's "cheap eats."

"Yes, sir", we answered.

"You with the city?"

"No, sir."

"You with the building commission?"

"No, sir."

"Then why are you taking pictures?"

"Because I like to take pictures of places that serve good food. You serve good food here?"

The man smiled and answered, "Yes, sir. I do"

The man is Agustin Bahena, whose family runs Fogata Village Restaurant, a Pilsen restaurant that proudly claims to specialize in both Mexican and Italian cuisine. And not in a pizza joint kind of way, either. We're talking healthy comfort food, like chiles rellenos and chicken parmigiana side-by-side on the menu. Glancing at the array of third-party political endorsements, neighborhood activist group announcements, and Socialist Party flyers in the windows, Chicagoist can completely understand why we were subject to the third degree, even if we weren't necessarily dressed to look like a city worker. We were in Pilsen to pick up some tres leches cakes at BomBon Bakery and were feeling a bit peckish, so we decided to skip the carnitas shops and try out Fogata Village, mainly out of curiosity. But we'd also heard that they had an excellent daily lunch buffet for $8.99 (from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.). When you're budgeting, $8.99 can go a long way.

It ain't bragging if you can back it up. With that in mind, Fogata Village delivers the goods. We filled our plate with chips, navy beans with ham chunks, rice, spicy tilapia nuggets, chicken breast patties, and fresh melon slices. This was complemented with a bowl of spicy chicken soup and one of the largest cappucinos we've ever had for two dollars. The layout of the floor is comfortable and inviting, with artwork adroning exposed brick walls, dark hardwood floors, and funky track lighting.


We had such a good experience at Fogata Village that we plan on returning for dinner very soon. Fogata Village is located at 1820 S. Ashland. They open at 8 a.m. daily, close at 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 10:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The phone number is 312-850-1702. If you take pictures, make sure you introduce yourself first.