We all know that sometimes, finding a healthy and affordable place to eat in Chicago can be harder than trying to find that French fry you dropped under your front seat while chomping down that "power lunch." Yup, that's it right next to that dusty M&M and crumpled up Coke can. You're welcome for that visual. Maybe this will help…
A few weeks back Pascale, Leo, and myself were strutting around Andersonville looking for a little "low budget" food. Yes, we do venture out of Uptown for the occasional bite, please do not tell. We bumped in to an old friend on the street who suggested we try Mista, which just happened to be a few doors down.
At first, the combination of "single friend"recommendation, Andersonville, and the word "Mista" conjured up images of white table cloths, wine glasses, and evil stares from non-breeders, but after a quick walk-by, then a slower walk by/glance in, and then finally a walk by/glance in/stop to read the menu, we realized Mista was exactly what we were looking for.
Mista is the perfect place for a quick, healthy, family friendly dinner at very reasonable cost. When you walk the first thing you notice is the cleanliness of the cozy space. All orders are placed at the counter with a helpful staff that is there to assist you with any menu questions. Mista uses only "fresh, organic, and natural ingredients" in their menu items. Leo, who's 5, ordered the regular cheese pizza ($4.45). While Leo told us pre-meal that he was going to "eat the whole thing" he only managed to eat half of the thin crust beauty. It was a valiant effort from the little guy and amazingly enough a short time later his stomach opened up to down a whole cannoli ($2.50). Funny how that works?!
Pascale and I continued our "post Europe diet" and opted for a couple of salads. Pascale had a Chicken Ceasar ($6.83) and I enjoyed a Broadway Salad ($6.65). Both were fresh and didn't last long in front of a couple of hungry dieters. I may or may not have eaten the napkin as well. Curse you diet!
I think the reason Mista is so welcoming to families is because its family owned by a large family - the Devinos. They put in the extra work to make their Chicago locations a pleasant experience for all. Who knows, maybe next time Leo will share that cannoli with the old man.
Mista has three Chicago locations in Lakeview, Andersonville, and the Loop. More at mistapizza.com
Ryan lives in Uptown with his wife, Pascale, and 5-year-old son, Leo, and works in Chicago as an actor and on-air host.
See more of Ryan's stories here.