Chicago: The Chicago Diner

8 05 2014

Next up in my series of Chicago eats is the Chicago Diner. Jon found this place for me; it’s a vegetarian restaurant all decked out like a 50’s diner serving all the good old-fashioned favorites, sans the meat. They’ve got it all: burgers, fries, sandwiches, Philly cheese steaks, meatloaf, and milkshakes, all with no meat products (and often completely vegan).

the radical reuben

the radical reuben

In addition to the regular “diner” foods, they do have other vegetarian fare such as salads and stir fries, though most of the expansive menu is comprised of basic foods our parents grew up with, only the meat portions are replaced with creative and flavorful non-meat substitutes such as seitan, tempeh, and tofu.

The place was packed as we arrived before the Cubs game — one of the three locations is just down the street from Wrigley Field. The wait wasn’t too bad, and before long we were jammed into a tiny table not six inches from the table next to us. The place is crowded and a bit chaotic, but the experience was totally fun.

chicago diner

And the food was good! I ordered the famous “Radical Reuben” ($11), which won the Vegetarian Times Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for “Best in the Midwest”, and is made with corned “beef” seitan, grilled onions, peppers, sauerkraut, vegan Thousand Island, and cheese (you can choose vegan cheese or regular) on marbled rye. Whew! It was intense.

sandwich

the radical reuben

reuben sandwich

inside the radical reuben

Jon ordered the Portabello Truffle Melt ($12) and a vegan chocolate peanut butter milkshake, both of which he was very happy with and looked amazing. Even the vegan shake was surprisingly delicious — sometimes that’s a hard thing to translate to a dairy-free option.

sandwich

portabello truffle melt

milkshake

vegan chocolate peanut butter milkshake

 

I loved this restaurant and would recommend it for vegetarians and non-veggies alike. Everything was very well executed and the meat-free menu has definitely been perfected in the 30 years since the restaurant opened. Plus, it’s not like it’s health food… you can get your fix of greasy spoon without soiling your conscience. Gotta love that, right?

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4 responses

8 05 2014
Ali O

I totally went here last time I was in Chicago – one of my most enjoyable meals !! Glad you liked it!

8 05 2014
broccoliandchocolate

Oh awesome! Glad you got to enjoy it too!

10 05 2014
Daddyo

Wow! that’s the most elaborate vegaterian restaurant menu I’ve ever heard of. But, how could a chocolate and peanut butter milkshake ever be nonvegetarian? Is it the dairy or non-dairy that makes it that?

10 05 2014
broccoliandchocolate

Yeah, dairy versus non-dairy makes it vegan or not. Vegan means no animal products of any kind, so takes cheese, milk , and eggs out of the equation. Still some yummy stuff though!

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