Named a "favorite new restaurant" and "favorite vegetarian restaurant" in 2009 by the readers of Milwaukee magazine, Café Manna churns out a full range of vegetarian options. The three-star green-certified restaurant's menu lists plenty of gluten-free, raw, and vegan items. Tasty beginnings include locally crafted artisan cheeses served aside cool, plump berries ($13) and exotic sandwiches such as the savory portobello and eggplant indulgence topped in roasted peppers, caramelized onions, house-made pesto, creamy feta, and goat cheese on toasted rosemary-olive bread ($11). Green gorgers can wash nutrient-rich nibbles down with a sip of organic beer or wine from the drink menu and can answer the sweet, sweet siren song of the gluten-free, raw, and vegan chocolate berry tart ($9).
Jennifer Nowicki really loves produce; she's named her third restaurant Verduras, the Spanish word for vegetables. The completely vegetarian menu employs ingredients such as grapefruit, beets, and teriyaki-infused carrots to insulate sandwiches, salads, and soups, many of which are also vegan or gluten free. However, the ever-shifting curls of steam that tickle the hardwood floors, exposed rafters, and large windows hint at Verduras' primary focus: teas from all across the globe. Beneath the ivory-hued exposed bricks, white, green, rooibos, and local Rishi teas steep in hot water, filling mugs with the flavors of wild rose, hibiscus, or chai. The floral aromas of darjeeling fill the air as patrons gaze at the art on the walls, rendered in crisp black and white like a zebra’s yearbook page.
Food for people, not for profit! The Riverwest Co-op Café menu is vegan/vegetarian made-to-order sandwiches, soups, desserts, and smoothies, using organic and locally grown produce whenever possible. Fresh vegan and vegetarian bakery (cookies, chocolates, breads) made daily. The Co-op Café takes great pride in using predomi
Every month, Sweet Tomatoes rolls out a new roster of fresh-made eats—including many vegetarian and gluten-free selections—in its wholesome buffet. Simmering soups bubble with vegetables and savory chicken, alongside tossed salads tumbling with crisp produce, much like an Ent in a washing machine. On Sunday mornings, plates fill with comforting breakfast classics such as belgian waffles and scrambled eggs.
Expressly Leslie Café, born from a Woodstock Farmers Market concession trailer, was named one of the best vegetarian dining spots by readers of the Northwest Herald. The menu brims with Middle Eastern specialties such as falafel, hummus, and pita pocket sandwiches, along with salads hailing from Morocco, Israeli, and Egypt. All these dishes are freshly made in the restaurant without additives, high fructose corn syrup, or Spam-filled Twinkies. You can follow owner Leslie Cook's thoughts on vegetarianism, cooking with wholesome ingredients, and current events in the world of nutrition on her blog.
Time Out Chicago Kids raves about the strawberry lemonade flavor. Chicago magazine claims the "coconut tastes fresh from the tree." And Michael Mednick, owner and founder of Anthony's Italian Ice, which has been open for more than 20 years, knows exactly why. After a stint selling name-brand ices, an unsatisfied Mednick decided to test his Italian ice-making talents by tossing fresh fruits into an old ice-making machine. A series of trials, errors, and brain freezes finally led Mednick to the sweet spot he holds today: manning his own Southport store, where he churns out 25 decadent Italian ice flavors⎯such as lemon, mango, and peach⎯from scratch.
Though Italian ice is Anthony’s big draw, the shop also purveys smooth ice cream produced by fellow Chicago shop Bobtail, and offsets dessert appetites with Italian beef sandwiches, locally made soups, and Chicago-style hot dogs.