Native Foods – Loop, Chicago

Native Foods - Chicago, IL
What I Ordered

Review By: Amy Leigh Abelson

“Welcome to Native Foods,” said the waitress. How I decided on the Chicken Run Ranch Burger, while I was greeted by fancy cupcake temptations behind the counter, I do not know, but it turned out to be a great choice.

After ordering, I was handed a plastic cup and pointed in the direction of the drinks. As soon as I reached my destination, I was immediately convinced that this place was going to be AWESOME. Aside from the standard soft drink selections, before me were drink options of the following: Lavender Lemonade, Iced Native Tea, and Watermelon Juice. WATERMELON JUICE?!

Let me ask you a question. Every restaurant serves orange juices, apple juices, cranberry juices, etc., which to me, are all clearly inferior juices to that of the watermelon. So, why is it that watermelon juice is so neglected? Well, have no fear, Native Foods is here, and leading a free-refill, low-calorie watermelon revolution.

I sat down with my much anticipated watermelon juice and was pleased by the homey yet spacious atmosphere. The food was brought to my table and I bit into the chicken sandwich. Un-REAL. The chicken was tender, juicy, melt-in-your- mouth perfection. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will ever compare to that ranch dressing. Ah, that ranch dressing. Sigh…

I’ve never like ranch dressing because it usually leaves a kind of fatty oil coating in your mouth. And, it also tends overpowers everything; you might as well just cut the middle man and only be eating ranch dressing.

In this case, I would have been happy to only eat that ranch dressing. Forever. With nothing else. I must have gotten up for more three or four times. And the waiters always knew what I was coming for too. Why else would their customers be getting up? Everybody wants more of their creamy, mild, sweet and savory, homemade ranch dressing. So, they’re always prepared.

Between the watermelon juice and the ranch, I had been very distracted and almost missed the writings on the walls. Everything written on the walls had to do with plant life, plant foods. Lovely quotes and photos of vegetarianism. And then I realized… NO. WAY. My chicken was a meatless chicken. And not just meatless, VEGAN. Native Foods is a vegan restaurant. How I missed this before, I have no idea, but they serve everything from roast beef, sausage, and burgers (all of which I’ve since tried and would never have known the difference) with entirely homemade plant-based ingredients.

To be perfectly honest, it was inspiring. Here’s a restaurant that has committed 100% to exactly what they want out of the quality of their food, and respect exactly what would please both customary meat eaters and vegans alike.

So needless to say, I feel this restaurant has earned its street cred and then some. I have become a returning customer and would recommend this place to anyone, regardless of their dietary needs (or biases).

Native Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

  • G.S.Free

    Wow, Watermelon Juice?! Meatless Chicken?! Vegan?! Hip-Hip Horay…I can’t wait to find this eatery.


    • 24 Dollar Burger

      Let us know what you think when you do! :)