Restaurant Review: Native Foods

29 Aug

Native Foods Menu

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.

Saigon Roll

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.

Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger with Lemon Dill Potato Salad

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!

Chocolate Love Pie

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?


10 Responses to “Restaurant Review: Native Foods”

  1. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta August 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Native Foods is my favorite restaurant. Of course, here in the desert where I live, it is the only vegan restaurant, but it would still rank right up there no matter what. Unfortunately, the Palm Desert is closed until (supposedly and hopefully) they find a larger location and the Palm Springs restaurant is quite a drive, so I haven’t been there as frequently as I would like. I always recommend the OK Bacon Cheeseburger to my omni friends. It is a great intro. I also love the Yo Amigo salad and the Greek Gyro bowl, but I could happily nibble on almost anything on their menu. Now I’ve gone and made myself hungry!

    • megmeister August 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

      Hey Debbie! I’m so sorry to hear about the Palm Desert location is closed for now…I can only imagine the withdrawal you must be experiencing now. Have you found that your omni friends like the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger? I’ll have to try the Greek Gyro bowl…looks delicious!

      • Debbie @ Live from La Quinta August 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

        Definitely going through withdrawal. I even dedicated a blog post to pleading with NF to reopen (they have promised free lunch for a year if I find them the perfect location to lease :-). I have consoled myself my trying to recreate some of my favorites, some successfully, some not so much.

        Omnis definitely like the OBC. It’s so meaty and not just to those of us who have forgotten what ‘real’ meat tastes like!

      • megmeister August 30, 2011 at 7:29 am #

        Wow, get to crackin’ on finding them a location then! =P I’m glad you were able to recreate some of their dishes, that has got to help. And luckily you can still go there every once in a while.

  2. Lu September 1, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Meg, do you know if the Loop location is having a pre-grand opening party, too? I’ve missed both the other ones. 😦

    • megmeister September 1, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      Hey there! I’m assuming they will…sign up on their website and hopefully you can go to the Loop location!

  3. Amy Love September 3, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Those “Chicken Wings” are my favorite thing on planet earth! But please, I beg of you, ask for Chipotle Ranch next time to dip them in, you will not be sorry!

    • megmeister September 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

      Ooh, that sounds delicious! So they can mix their Chipotle AND ranch together? Or is that what their Chipotle sauce is?

      • Lindy November 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

        New blog follower here…(I work with your sister, and Michelle turned me on to your site.) Anyway, the chipotle sauce is DIVINE!!! I grab it as an extra often. I too went to the kickoff and I asked the waitstaff what his favorite was. He recommended the Chicken Run Ranch Burger, only he swaps out the ranch dressing for chipotle. Delish! And the sweet potato fries are tasty when dipped in it, too. (Ask for an extra side. They won’t charge, either.) I’ve tried the Oklahoma Burger, and that’s great too. (Those fried pickles! YUM!) 🙂

      • megmeister November 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

        Hi Lindy! So glad to see your comment! I totally agree about Native Foods. All of the foods you mentioned are delicious. I had the Chicken Run Ranch Burger the first time I went. SO GOOD. You’re lucky to work so close to a NF. =)

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