Many of our guests over the years have been practicing vegans and find a variety of eateries that offer vegan items in our neighborhood. We have several Thai and Indian restaurants within walking distance that all have many vegan options. The Whole Foods Market at 3640 North Halsted Street has a great self serve hot food bar and large salad bar with lots of vegan items to try, as well as several counter service food bars that offer vegan fare, such as Asian rice bowls and cheeseless pizza. A good stop for a quick lunch, enjoy your selections at a table in a bright atrium that connects the market to the Center on Halsted. Further south on Halsted is one of Chicago’s best stop for vegetarians and vegans alike: The Chicago Diner. “Meat free since ‘83,” the diner specializes in meatless and vegan comfort food. I particularly like the Bi Bim Bap Korean style bowl entrée, and my husband, a confirmed carnivore, truly enjoys the “Meatloaf” dinner. If you plan to indulge, The Chicago Diner has great deserts and shakes. Expect a wait during peak hours at the small and popular spot. In the summer months the restaurant also offers outdoor seating. A separate gluten free menu is also available to customers.
The latest arrival on the Vegan seen in Lakeview is just around the corner from the Old Chicago Inn. Native Foods Café at 1023 Belmont Avenue, is one of a few wholly vegan restaurants in the city. Conceived by Chef Tanya Petrovna, this casual counter service café, offers an extensive menu with creative soups of the day, entrée size salads, “bowl” entrees with various global flavors (Greek, Moroccan, Asian) over assorted grains, sandwiches, pizzas and “Chef Tanya’s Favorites.” My favorites are probably the salads, I just feel so good about my lunch when I have one of Native Foods salads, especially the “Raw Chopper” which looks as good as it tastes with its angel hair beet spiraling atop seasonal greens and veggies, avocado, and sprouts. And my husband, the carnivore, his choice when I took him there: the Super Italian “Meatball” Sub of course! He couldn’t believe the ranch dressing was dairy-free. We both enjoy their agave lemonade. I can’t report on the desserts because I’m always too satisfied to indulge, but I’d be surprised if they we anything but delicious, given the rest of the tasty high quality fare. And if you’re visiting with children, Native Foods café even has a kids menu. Expect to spend around $10 – $16 for lunch and beverage. Native Foods is open from 11am until 10pm seven days a week.
So, vegan travelers, you can be assured of some good meals during your Chicago visit. And with advance notice, we are always happy to accommodate vegans with special options at breakfast like soy yogurts and rice milk. Just let us know when you are booking. Whenever possible we wish to be of service for guests with special dietary restrictions or needs.