Our Community Spotlights feature all the wonderful food, nightlife, and local businesses found in proximity to Douglass Park, home to Riot Fest. Join us throughout the year as the Riot Fest staff recommends their favorite spots in the neighborhood on a continuing basis—in hopes that you’ll make a stop in the neighborhood before, during, and well after the fest concludes.
This community spotlight is in celebration of May’s AAPI History Month. To learn more about AAPI History Month, read here.
Aloha Wagon is a charming and unique eatery in the heart of Chicago, owned by Richard Manongdo, who started his business ten years ago with just a wagon.
Since then, his restaurant has blossomed. They’ve been featured on Chicago Today and recently celebrated their 10th year anniversary on May 1st. After gaining a strong following in the local area of Ogden and 18th Street, he opened his current location at 2023 S Western Ave, where he has been for almost two years.
Richard’s passion for cooking runs in the family, as both of his parents are chefs. He was raised in Hawaii, O‘ahu, and the influence of his upbringing can be seen in his menu offerings. His hot teas, Hawaiian Islands Tea, are also a local business found in O’ahu.
Their menu features a variety of dishes, from beach buns to tacos, but the most famous item is the Spam loco moco Plate. It consists of grilled Spam, a tantalizing homemade brown gravy, and two eggs over easy. I tried the Aloha Burger, which is a house specialty that comes with grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce, lettuce, tomato, mustard, and mayo. The burger was absolutely delicious, and the teriyaki sauce added a unique and flavorful twist.
The exterior of the restaurant is hard to miss, with its bright blue and yellow accents and sea turtle silhouettes on the windows. This decor creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for all patrons, which is only enhanced by the inspirational quotes and colorful sea turtle motifs inside.
Aloha Wagon is a great spot for a casual date night or catching up with friends over a tasty meal. I definitely have my eye on their spicy pork, for my next visit. The food and ambiance of Aloha Wagon make it a true hidden gem for Hawaiian fare in the Chicago community.
2023 S Western
Chicago, IL 60608
Mon – Fri 11 AM – 6 PM
Sat 11 AM to 3 PM