With the slogan “Meat Free Since ’83” The Chicago Diner has been a 100% vegetarian restaurant since the day of its inception. The Diner, as locals like to call it, offers a rotating menu, most of which (if not all) can be made vegan; with some items being gluten-free. Best known for their Radical Reuben™, The Diner has selections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, as well as various beverages for both children and adults alike. These folks also have a vegan bakery located above the restaurant, which creates cakes, cookies, muffins and various desserts for sale at the restaurant and various retailers such as Whole Foods.
Upon arrival, my friends and I noticed that The Diner was packed and in full swing. You know the place is popular when there is a waiting list on a Tuesday night! We put in our name and waited in the heated waiting area located behind the restaurant. To our surprise there was a plate of homemade Snickerdoodle cookies waiting for us to munch on! Wow, they were awesome. Soft and chewy, just what I like in a cookie. I had to resist the urge to grab the entire plate. It was tough, but somehow I managed. Meanwhile, we looked at menus and decided on what to order. After 5-10 minutes we were led back into the restaurant and seated in one of the booths.
My friends and I started with the Special Recipe “Wings” appetizer, opting for them to be coated in BBQ rather than Spicy Buffalo Style sauce. There were seven seitan “wings” which were accompanied by celery sticks and ranch dressing. The ranch was amazing (I could eat that stuff plain) and the “wings” were sweet, with a chewy, yet firm, almost crunchy texture. They were devoured in no time.
For my entree I chose the Pesto “Chicken” sandwich, with Macaroni & Cheeze as my side dish. I’m not sure what type of “cheese” was used in the macaroni but I feel it could have been better. It had more of a mild, subdued flavor (I could be biased because of my own recipe). It clearly wasn’t bad though because I ate it! The sandwich, however, was delicious. It consisted of breaded chicken-style seitan, roasted red bell pepper, melted vegan cheese, and arugula, topped with a concoction of pesto and ranch dressing, all on artisan flatbread. YUM. This sandwich is packed with flavor and offers both soft and crunchy textures, bursting with flavor. I would definitely order this again and recommend it to those who like pesto!
My friends ordered The Radical Reuben™ and The Titanic BLT Burger with sweet potato fries and black bean and corn salsa, respectively, as sides. Needless to say, both sandwiches were devoured with nothing left to take home. The reuben comes with thinly-sliced corn beef style seitan stacked high on marbled rye and topped with onions, peppers, sauerkraut, melted vegan cheese and then covered with vegan Thousand Island dressing. This sandwich is messy to say the least, but it is delicious and is sure to please even those whom eat meat! The Titanic BLT Burger consists of The Diner’s own burger patty topped with vegan bacon, french-fried onions, lettuce, tomato, and vegan BBQ mayonnaise. There is also the option to add cheese which I recommend. They don’t call this the Titalic BLT Burger for nothing. With so much flavor, this burger seems to be among the favorites. The addition of french-fried onions makes it outstanding and provides a nice crunch.
Polishing it all off (as if I needed the extra calories), I indulged in the Cookie Dough Peanut Butter shake which features Chicago’s own Temptation frozen dessert by Chicago Soydairy. This shake is AWESOME and with the combination of cookie dough AND peanut butter, it is very difficult to pass up! My friend enjoyed a slice of the Cookies & Cream cake which tasted fresh and had a pronounced vanilla flavor with crunchy cookie crumbs.
I recommend The Chicago Diner to everyone, whether you consider yourself to be omnivore or herbivore, as it offers many options to choose from and is decently priced. With generous portions, The Diner ensures you don’t leave hungry!
NOTE: Vegan Food Addict is in no way affiliated with The Chicago Diner. The views and opinions expressed herein are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect that of others.