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Chicago Makes Its Mark on Nashville

Chefs and restaurateurs are expanding their Chicago brands southward to Nashville. Although Nashville is roughly 450 miles South of Chicago, the two cities have never felt closer thanks to a recent uptick in restaurant expansions and chef movement. The draw for Chicago restaurants and bars to branch out to Nashville, essentially the closest Southern city […]

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Aug 29, 2017 04:25 AM
Weekly Planner: Happy Hour at Broken Shaker

Happy Hour at Broken Shaker New happy hours are a dime a dozen these days in Chicago, but the version taking place at the Broken Shaker may be the coolest (and most irreverent) yet. It’s called the “Happy Hipster,” and it’s a playful, nostalgia-inspired combo that features a secret recipe burger with fries and a domestic beer […]

The post Weekly Planner: Happy Hour at Broken Shaker appeared first on Dining Chicago.

Aug 28, 2017 12:18 AM
The Polenta Bar Brings a Taste of Northern Italy to the West Loop

In recent years, fast-casual dining has manifested in many different ways, in part triggered like a Domino effect by companies following the Chipotle model of customized food, quick service and quality ingredients. From noodles and salads, to Middle Eastern food and poké, Chicago’s fast-casual scene has a lot to choose from, but none are quite […]

The post The Polenta Bar Brings a Taste of Northern Italy to the West Loop appeared first on Dining Chicago.

Aug 23, 2017 06:06 PM

7 Restaurants For Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions in Chicago

It’s that time of year again, when resolutions mean people start flocking to gyms and replace their eggnog with salad. But resolving to eat healthier doesn’t automatically mean bland flavor and depressing food. Chicago’s dynamic dining scene is filled with delicious restaurants and cafes that just so happen to offer healthy alternatives aplenty. Here’s where to eat and drink with resolutions in mind:

 

Bad Hunter
Bad Hunter; photo by Anthony Tahlier

One of the hottest openings of 2016 is also one of the best places to keep vegetables at the center of your plate as you cling to your New Year’s resolutions. I’m talking about Bad Hunter, the West Loop newcomer with a mission to put produce front-and-center. It’s not meat-free, by any means, but rather uses meat as an accent on occasion, preferring to keep fruits and vegetables as the focal point in innovative new ways. Considering how unique and exciting the menus are here, it’ll be all too easy to maintain your resolution with dishes like roasted turnips with shoyu butter, maitake mushrooms a la plancha and sturgeon skewers with grilled little gem lettuce. Even the desserts put vegetables first, like a red curry squash tart with coconut cream and a sunchoke cake with poached pears and hazelnut anglaise. 

Owen + Alchemy is the ultimate place for maintaining resolutions deliciously. The juice bar and vegetarian haven in Logan Square features an alluring variety of fresh juices, smoothies, salads and vibrant bowls bursting with fruit, cashew milk, seeds and more. The handiwork of Anne Owen, O+A will have you forgetting all about pie with their cayenne-spiced apple juice and their luscious blueberry juice with basil. 

With a name like Little Beet Table, one can safely expect that vegetables take the spotlight at this Gold Coast newcomer. And indeed they do, in delicious ways. Like sweet pea guacamole, cauliflower hummus and charred broccoli with spicy carrot remoulade and carrot chips. There are beef and chicken dishes among the entrees, but they’re sourced responsibly and prepared in as wholesome a manner as possible, like a grass-fed beef burger or an herb-roasted chicken with honey-glazed carrots and yogurt ranch. 

A restaurant modeled after southern California clearly has healthier tendencies. At Lincoln Park’s Summer House Santa Monica, the beachy restaurant feels like an authentic West Coast vacation, complete with pristine, fresh food that the Golden State is known for, from ahi tuna tostadas and hamachi tartare to fresh Burrata, slow-poached scallops, grilled Atlantic salmon, vegetable tacos and much more. 

Another place offering a neoteric take on wholesome dining is Beatrix. All day long, the River North restaurant offers a cornucopia of internationally inspired dishes and drinks, ranging from over-the-top indulgent to mercifully nutritious, so there’s something for everyone (and every resolution). Fresh juices are a great option for kickstarting your menu, along with ten-grain oatmeal and shakshouka, a Middle Eastern dish consisting of spicy tomato sauce, poached eggs, kale, feta and warm naan. Lunch offers some of the best salads in town, turkey-sweet potato-greens “neatloaf” and a mushroom and quinoa burger. For dinner, cleaner options include the chili- and chocolate-glazed salmon or the wild mushroom braise, a plate of four different kinds of hearty mushrooms with cauliflower mash. 

Chicago’s first batch of Lyfe Kitchens are alive and kicking, all rife with nutritious fare. Vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are huge here throughout the day, and each item comes with calorie and sodium information, so customers know exactly what they’re getting into. Start your day with the morning tofu wrap or the farmers’ market egg white frittata, and later in the day move on to edamame hummus, kale Caesar salad, veggie burgers and quinoa crunch wraps. To drink, Lyfe Kitchen has a bevy of refreshing waters in flavors such as hibiscus-beet, ginger-mint-chia and cucumber-mint.

Rogers Park’s legendary Heartland Cafe has long been a Mecca of wholesome food on the far north side, renowned for its vegetarian dishes and cleaner substitutes for comfort foods such as burgers, sandwiches, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. All the comfort is there, just better for you. Heartland Cafe’s dishes include fritters smothered in vegan gravy, vegan buckwheat pancakes, pumpkin seed- and sunflower seed-flecked porridge, buffalo chili, vegan seitan French dip, turkey meatloaf, maple-glazed tofu and lots more. And even the mashed potatoes are healthier, made with mashed root vegetables instead of straight-up spuds. 


Lettuce Entertain You chef/partners Susan Weaver, John Chiakulas and Rita Dever alongside Lettuce executive partner Marc Jacobs opened their most eclectic restaurant to date in River North. Housed inside the...

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Rogers Park hippie institution has been serving "Good Wholesome Food for the Mind and Body!" for three decades.


Fresh from New York City, Little Beet Table is a vegetable-centric restaurant recently opened in the Gold Coast. By putting produce front-and-center, this entirely gluten-free restaurant proves the dexterity of...

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Wholesome vegetarian-friendly fare forms the foundation for Lyfe Kitchen, a California-based mini chain of quick service eateries. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering healthy choices throughout...

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Jared Van Camp, whose team is also behind Kinmont, Nellcote and Old Town Social, embarks upon his first vegetarian- and vegan-focused eatery. Owen + Alchemy aims to be a "modern...

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