Let's face it, going out to eat is a time-honored tradition that most people are unwilling (or unable) to give up. I know that we hear, "It's healthier to cook at home," all the time, but sometimes we just want/need to go out to eat. Sure, lots of restaurants have their "fit" or "light fare" menu areas, but at a lot of those places you are likely still getting some "dirty" foods (fillers) in your meals. Today's blog focuses on places that will serve you some delicious food that you don't need to worry about, because you KNOW that the restaurant is taking great care to serve you quality and healthy meals! In the case of the vegetarian restaurants, fear not! You don't have to be a vegetarian to totally love their food! Oh yeah, and they are all LOCAL to the Chicago area! So, start planning your next meal out and pick one of these delicious restaurants!
BLIND FAITH CAFE (Evanston)
Blind Faith is one of my favorite restaurants to eat at in Evanston. As their website boasts, "Our delicious vegetarian cuisine nurtures the body and contributes to a healthier and more sustainable environment." The atmosphere is comfortable, the food delicious, and if you stay for dessert you are in for a treat (get the chocolate peanut butter cake)! Heck, if you live within delivery area, you can actually have Blind Faith delivered (say what?)! Make sure you check their menu with the time of day you plan on going there, as it changes depending on what meal time it is (I learned this when I tried to order the grilled apple/brie sandwich at dinner... oops! But I LOVE that sandwich! *whine*). My only sad moment with Blind Faith is that my favorite dinner has been removed from the menu (please bring back the Shittake Walnut Loaf!). Parking is fairly easy, as you can park up to 2 hours without a permit on all local streets, and it's also conveniently located near the Purple Line Dempster station. So, why not have a little Blind Faith and give them a try? ;-)
KARYN'S (Chicago, multiple locations)
Karyn Calabrese is somewhat like a goddess, if you ask me. Granted, I have only been to Karyn's Cooked (on Wells St. in the Gallery District near the Chicago Brown Line station), but you can bet I will be trying ALL of her locations in the Chicago area (see below). I first stumbled upon Karyn's Cooked when I was working in the area. I was just getting into healthy eating at that time, so I decided to give her place a go. My eyes were opened to how truly delicious vegan eating could be! I'm serious! My favorite Sloppy Joe on this planet is a VEGAN Sloppy Joe! Who'd have thunk it? Her desserts are to die for, too! Besides just having amazingly delicious restaurants, she also offers classes and workshops to help you learn how to live a healthier life, beauty services, and home food delivery. If you have not checked out one of Karyn's locations, you need to! See below for the full list:
Karyn's Cooked - 738 N. Wells, St., Chicago, IL
Karyn's Raw - 1901 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL
Karyn's On Green - 130 S. Green St., Chicago IL
HEARTLAND CAFE (Rogers Park)
I was first introduced to Heartland back around 2005 (or so) when I was living in Rogers Park. The restaurant has a very hippie vibe to... meaning, it's comfortable, it's relaxed, it's peaceful, and, well, there's lots of peace, love and happiness to be had there. The restaurant has an amazingly large selection of food (my favorite still has to be the buffalo burger), and the bar has an equally large selection of brews! Whether you are going for a nice breakfast on a comfy outdoor patio, a beer in the evening (at the Buffalo Bar or The Red Line Tap), or some live music... this place has it all! Don't be looking for cushy comfy seats, though. This restaurant almost gives me a picnic feel, and I love it... especially in the summer time! Their menu has great vegetarian options, as well as a selection of free-range meats! So, hop off the Red Line at Morse and check them out :-)
THE CHICAGO DINER (Boystown)
It's been years since I've dined here, and I regret that! I was introduced to this restaurant back in the year 2000 when I was rooming with a vegan friend of mine. I went in thinking, as most meat-eaters do, that it was going to be bland and gross. Boy, did this restaurant prove me wrong! They have everything, from healthy veggie fare, to your favorite "comfort foods" served vegetarian style! Also, like Blind Faith and Karyn's, they have amazing desserts you'll crave at this diner! If you are heading to a Cubs game this summer, pop over to Halsted, first, and have dinner at this diner! You won't regret it (and then you don't have to eat crappy ballpark food)! Have a seitan burger, I DARE YOU! ;-)
PROTEIN BAR (Chicago, multiple locations)
I have not yet tried this restaurant, but I am mentioning them thanks to a glimmering review from a friend of mine. Besides, I need to visit a place that states, "Our mission is simple: provide active, on-the-go people with healthy, flavorful choices while having a positive impact on everyone we meet and in everything we do." If you have a review of this restaurant, please leave a comment below, because I want to know more about them! :-)
Know of any other healthy restaurants in Chicago? Leave a comment and let me know so that I can check them out! Also, if you have been to one of the restaurants above, feel free to leave your own review below (and share with your friends for your next healthy outing!).
Tags: Blind Faith Cafe, Boystown, chicago, evanston, healthy eating, Healthy Eating in Chicago, healthy food, Healthy Restaurants, Healthy Restaurants in Chicago, Healthy Restaurants near Chicago, Heartland Cafe, Karyn Calabrese, Karyn's, Karyn's Cooked, Karyn's on Green, Karyn's Raw, Protein Bar, Red Line Tap, Rogers Park, The Chicago Diner