The Chicago Diner

The Chicago Diner

Eating Local in Chicago, IL 

When we first moved to Chicago a couple of years ago, we discovered a peculiar phenomenon. It often seemed as if - no matter where you were or who you were with - the second that someone in Chicago found out that you were vegan, they immediately followed up with, "Well, have you been to The Chicago Diner?" We quickly realized that this place seemed to be THE vegan restaurant in Chicago - and so not long afterward, we decided to that we absolutely needed to investigate - you know - for science! Not only did it live up to the hype - it blew us away! They have been in business since 1983, and their experience in what is a relatively recently-popular movement is clearly evident. Their plant-based meats are made in house, and they are absolutely phenomenal! They have a couple of locations, but we always hit up their Logan Square location (they just so happen to be located next door to one of Chicago's most iconic craft breweries - Revolution Brewing)!

They have an extensive menu of delicious diner-style foods,  some of our all time favorites being the Radical Ruben, the Cuban Sandwich, the Poutine, the Country Fried Steak, and (omg!) the Monte Cristo - but more about these later! They also have an amazing bakery that provides vegan cakes to dozens of Whole Foods Markets in 8 Midwestern states and several in Ontario, Canada! So even if you live in the Midwest but can't make it up to Chicago, check out their products by finding a Whole Foods that carries their cakes near you! 

Recently, we returned to The Chicago Diner for Sunday brunch, and we were not disappointed! We sampled the chicken fried steak (smothered in homestyle gravy - of course) and this sandwich called a Monte Cristo. I am racking my brain for a way to describe just how good this meal was, but honestly, I am at a loss for words. The country fried steak was the size of my head - and perfectly crispy! - and the peppery gravy made it feel like we were back home in the South. And the Monte Cristo... Imagine the best plant-based bacon you have ever had (but better!) smothered in a creole mustard and gooey, bubbly cheesy goodness and wedged between two fresh pieces of French toast. And I don't mean make-at-home french toast using whatever sandwich bread you happen to have on hand - I mean fluffy, fresh-off-the-griddle pillows of bread and cinnamon. No joke, I almost ordered a second sandwich to eat right then and there. 

And we would be amiss to talk about The Chicago Diner without mentioning their award-winning vegan milkshakes. They come in so many amazing flavors, and you can get them to go (trust us - you will be full)! While you really can't go wrong with any of the shakes, there are two we can't recommend enough - the chocolate chip cookie dough and the chocolate peanut butter! 

At The Chicago Diner, they are working magic with everything that they put their hand to! Whether you're a native Chicagoan or just visiting, you have to check this place out! There are so many amazing vegan places in Chicago, but you have to give props to The Chicago Diner as one of the original plant-based establishments in the city and probably the country! Their influence is evident, and we appreciate everything they have done to help establish the vegan movement that is sweeping the globe!