Friday, August 5, 2011

Native Foods: Finally in Chicago!

When I left LA in 2003, I wasn't veg yet and hadn't yet experienced the magic that is Native Foods. But finally after months of anticipation they are now open for business in Chicago!

This is the Wicker Park location, with Lakeview (yay!) and South Loop locations coming soon. So the other day, I received an email that I was invited to their "VIP pre-opening party" the weekend before they open to the public on August 9th. The email was sent in the morning, but by the time I opened it that evening, there were no more available spots! Oh you can imagine my heartbreak. So I did what any vegan food-loving gal would do: I tweeted @nativefoodscafe and asked if there was any sort of waitlist I could add my name to. And much to my amazement, they were able to fit me in! 

My husband and son and I showed up for our "reservation" Friday at 2pm. The email invite said complimentary food/desserts, and I was under the impression there was to be a set menu of samples of appetizers, sandwiches and desserts that everyone would get to try a bit of. Which I was totally fine with because I was so excited to finally try Native Foods...but wow were we in for a surprise. 

We get in line and while we're sipping on Watermelon Fresca (a Native Foods specialty!) one of the employees lets us know that we can choose anything and everything we want (!!!) with the exception of beer and wine which was $2 and all the profits were going to a local animal charity. Oh my gosh it was tough to decide! Don't believe me? Click here for a look at their menu! So finally we decided to get the Native Nachos and Native Chicken Wings to start.

Native Nachos. Mmmmmm
Native Chicken Wings with Buffalo Sauce
 I enjoyed BOTH of these very much. Ryan liked the Wings better, and Julian didn't want any nachos but he LOVED the Wings (minus the sauce). So FYI: Wings are very kid-friendly!

After going back and forth a bit, we decided to order the Chicken Run Ranch Burger for Ryan, the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger for me, and a Freddie's Mac and Cheese from their "Kids Are Cool!' menu for Julian. 

Chicken Run Ranch Burger....other bun is under all the fixins!
Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger
Here's another view
Oh and by the way...those things stacked up on top of the burger? Battered and fried dill pickles! Those were delicious, I could eat just those with some dipping sauce!!

Freddie's Mac and Cheese
 Oh my gosh the food is wonderful! Overall I preferred the taste of the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger and the texture of the Chicken Run Ranch Burger, but they both blew me away. And don't even get me started on the Mac and Cheese. I contemplated stealing the bowl from Julian but then thought I'd look like a bad mom if my kid went hungry while I stuffed myself. 

Dessert? Don't mind if I do! 
 Ryan got a slice of the Chocolate Love Pie and Cheesecake to go and unfortunately I didn't get a picture of either one. Figures. (However, I tried the Chocolate Love Pie and it was YUM. And I gotta tell ya I don't like cheesecake so I didn't try it. Ryan said it was good though, for the record). BUT...I DID get pics of my choice(s): a Chocolate Cupcake and a Cardamom Rose Cupcake!
 Now again these were both delicious but I'm a chocolate lover at heart and they sure did me right with that cupcake!! I'll probably dream of that icing tonight, can't believe I just confessed that.

Local Happenings

They've got outdoor seating! Yes, there's more than one table.
My crazy kid.

After today, I am officially in love with Native Foods. Oh...and Ryan isn't even veg and he enjoyed his food, so bring your meat-eating friends and family and I'm sure they'll find something they'll love too! 

The staff was so nice and accommodating, the food was excellent, I loved the decor (elephants all over the women's bathroom!)....I would highly recommend Native Foods to anyone, veg or not! I will without a doubt be going back for more!!

Have you been to Native Foods? What are your fave foods from there??

Native Foods
1484 North Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, 60622
Song of the day: "Discotraxx", Ladytron 


  1. Oh MAN!!! I knew I should have called in sick and went to lunch with you!!!

  2. Great write-up! I had visitors in town this weekend so I missed it - I wish I thought about tweeting for extra passes :-(

    I sent my Omni-boyfriend to report back and he raved about it. I know I will be going very, very soon!

  3. Isn't Native Foods the best? I was so excited when I heard they were moving to Chicago. And with three locations? What a bounty! I love their food; there's something for everyone there. You ordered all of my favorites. (The Oklahoma cheeseburger is my favorite sandwich ever.) A Chicago road-trip is definitely in the plans for late summer or fall.

  4. Yay! You are lucky, too. My closest Native Foods doesn't serve fries or cupcakes! It's a shame.

  5. Hey! I just found your blog. Would you like to do a link exchange? :)