Native Foods, a California-based vegan food chain, has expanded to the Midwest! Word has it that the owners are originally from Chicago and are moving the chain’s headquarters here to the Windy City. In addition, they are opening 3 locations this year, right here in Chicago! The first location, which is officially open, is in the Wicker Park neighborhood, and the second and third locations will be in the Lakeview and Loop neighborhoods, slated to open this week.
On Saturday, my sister, Lauren, and I enjoyed a pre-grand opening meal at the Lakeview location. We were met with friendly service and smiling faces, and were offered samples of their Lavender Lemonade and Watermelon Fresca. Refreshing! We went up to the cashiers and ordered our meals along with appetizers, drinks and desserts. After being given our desserts, glasses for our drinks, and a number to place on our table, we grabbed a seat and waited for the remainder of our food to be brought out to us. Less than 5 minutes later, our table was filled with mouth-watering delights.
To start, we had the Native Chicken Wings and Saigon Roll. A personal favorite of mine, the chicken wings are served with your choice of buffalo sauce or ranch, and have a taste and texture very similar to that of real chicken. The Saigon Roll were good and contained lemongrass tofu along with other healthy goodies, and came with peanut sauce to dip them in.
Lauren and I both ordered the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger with a side of Lemon-Dill Potato Salad for our entrées. Must be a twin thing. All I can say is WOW. These burgers are DEELISH! More than you can put your mouth around, these bad boys are packed with Native Food’s homemade seitan and tofu bacon (which is super similar to mine) along with melted vegan cheddar (which I believe is Daiya), lettuce, onions, tomato and shredded carrots, then topped with BBQ sauce and little fried pickle slices, along with a side of ranch dressing. The Lemon-Dill Potato Salad was very good as well. The fresh dill was a great touch!
To go with our food we had the Native Iced Tea and Watermelon Fresca. Lauren enjoyed her tea, which was lightly sweetened with agave. The Watermelon Fresca was delicious and had little speckles of fresh mint. Great combination, especially on those hot days!
For dessert, we had the Cheesecake and Chocolate Love Pie. Both free of refined sugars (Bonus!), these treats were different in their own ways. I liked the cheesecake as it wasn’t too sweet but also not too sour, although I honestly think it could’ve used another pinch or two of sugar. The Chocolate Love Pie was also good, although to me, it was a tad bit too rich and sweet. I like how it was topped with almonds, though.
I highly recommend trying this place out, especially if you eat meat or are a vegetarian. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Much of the waitstaff aren’t vegan and I’ve heard from multiple people that they really enjoy the food.
So have you been to Native Foods? What did you think?