Monday, April 11, 2011

Where to Go if You're Looking for Vegetarian Options?

We don't talk about Vegetarian options in the South Loop very much (mostly because we enjoy some meat), but recently read a review on the Chicagoist talking about Hackney's Vegetarian options and their Black Bean Burger:
When it comes to cozy little chains with a neighborhood feel, Hackney's is one of those rare gems that really knows how to treat vegetarians. In fact, they offer 7 entrees specifically designed to please the meat-free crowd. One of those is their signature Black Bean Burger. It is a generously large patty of black beans and other veggies, served on your choice of rolls and piled high with lettuce, tomatoes, and onion. We say "other" because Hackney's is fairly tight-lipped about what else is in their recipe. Then again, it may have been that our server just was not sure. When it comes to dining however, we will take mystery over forgetfulness any day.
Anyway, what are some other favorite restaurants and Vegetarian dishes for those of you who prefer the vegetarian option in the South Loop? (image from chicagoist)


  1. I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 5 years and Hackney's is undoubtedly the best the sloop has to offer in way of meatless consumables. 11 City Diner can be a good meatless option also, as well as obviously any of the pizza joints. I'd say the only place vegetarians should watch out for is Bar Louie Dearborn Station. I know several vegetarians who've been served meat there by accident.

  2. Sweetwater has a good blackbean burger and sweet patatoe fries.

  3. Whole Foods is the only real option as far as I am concerned, if that even counts as a restaurant. What people fail to realize is that even when you order a veggie burger at a restaurant that also serves meat, is that those veggie burgers are being cooked on the same grill used to cook meat. You really think cooks use a separate spatula to cook with when they make your black bean burger? Unfortunately, any restaurant that is not 100% vegetarian, will cross "contaminate" all cruelty-free foods with the blood and fat from animal products. It's too bad we don't have places like The Chicago Diner or Handlebar Cafe out this way.

  4. Love this post! I've been vegetarian for most of my life and for the past 10 years in Chicago, I've been hoping this city would become more veg/sustainable friendly. We are slowly inching forward. I would add to this list: Flaco's (tamales, burritos, tacos, quesadillas), vegetable sushi at Oysy and South Coast, mushu tofu at Tamarind, curries at Ma & I, Giordano's special pizza, Gioco's ravioli and risotto, Opera used to have a great vegan menu (sigh), hopefully the new joint won't forget about us! However, the closest truly vegetarian/vegan restaurant is Karyn's on Green in Greektown. It's a short bike ride away and super delish!

  5. I was at Overflow Coffee Bar the other day. Their vegetarian sandwich is great for lunch. It's got hummus and avocado. Plus, the owners were telling me the greens are organic. They are looking to have more and more of their items be organic. They also have a sandwich on a croissant with peanut butter, banana and honey. I'm looking forward to trying that next time.

  6. Chicago Curry House anybody? Kind of surprising that vegetarians don't get in to Indian food more. It's mostly lentils, dal, chickpeas, etc. And delicious!

  7. I like the hummus wrap at Hackney's.

  8. Navigating the south loop as a vegan my favorites are

    Ma & I- not only the best food in the south loop but almost every dish has a meat free option. I recommend their sweet potato rolls, panang curry with tofu, and their noodle curry that is on the lunch menu. Their seaweed salad and house salad are also amazing. Warning though, this place is very addicting!

    the little branch-cute and adorable cafe, has a delicious veggie sandwich. There food is great but way over priced and the owner of the restaurant is a jerk (I seen her arguing with employees and customers every time I go in there. She really needs to lighten up) but I still keep coming back for that sandwich. Their smoothies can be made dairy free as well.

    flacos- I had them for the first time just a few days ago and it was delicious! Nothing better for a vegetarian than yummy black beans and rice with all the mexican toppings!

    Now for places I DO NOT recommend to my fellow veggie sloopers:
    Chicago Curry House- There food is good and yes a lot of it is vegetarian, but have you ever noticed their strange gender politics? I know that this is cultural and I shouldn't take it personally but whenever I go there its ladies second in every situation. They act as though my fiance will be ordering for me. Every question the waiter asks, "Can I get you anything else?" is directed straight towards him instead of us as a table. Its really weird. Am I imagining this or has anyone else experienced this? If not, I'd love to know so I can enjoy their indian food without feeling ignored.

    Eleven- They have meat hanging above the deli counter and piles of meat on every dish. There veggie options have been great but I always eat feeling a little grossed out by the table next to me.

    Chicago Fire House- not one vegetarian dish on there entire menu. Heh screw that place!

  9. Re: Curry House comment - it is a cultural thing in that it is about Respect for women not inequality (in not staring at someone's wife or girlfriend). Also, in most situations the man is the one paying (yes, the money is coming from the same account) and people order family style at Indian restaurants where you share 3-4 items. In that sense, the waiter is usually getting direction from 1person. If you go there without a Male you will see that they will pick up the clues about who is ordering and stick with it and not stare at you.


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