Chicago Diner, Meat Free Since ’83!

A couple of years ago, when Brandon and I first decided to wise up and start doing the whole vegan thing, we went on a mad hunt to find all of the most kick ass vegan places that we could. Since we were in Indianapolis, our choices were pretty limited. We had The Abbey or Three Sisters and that was about it. Never turning down an opportunity for a road trip, we decided that we would make a venture up the great land of Chicago and check out this little place called The Chicago Diner.

The Veggie Diner was established in 1983 and is pretty much an all vegan restaurant. When the owners began to create this little joint their goal was to create a welcoming atmosphere, where one can get a big helping of “comfort food“, but without the meat and guilt. They serve breakfast, lunch, and diner, and all items on the menu are things that most Americans are use to. There are things like, The Radical Reuben, BBQ Fib Rib Sandwich, Gyros, Black Bean Burger, Hummus Wraps, Biscuits and Gravy, French Toast, Chocolate Chip Pancakes, and the best of all, the dessert menu. Ranging from Monster (Chocolate Chocolate Chip) cookies and Chai Spice scones, to decadent Cocoa Mousse and Cookies & Cream cakes, Oh! but wait! they also have a nice selection of “milk”shakes using only the best and locally produced, Chicago Soy Dairy (luckily for me I can find the Cookie Dough flavor at my local Whole Foods).

Now at the Diner, I am sucker when it comes to the Black Bean Burger:Homemade burger, melted cheeze, lettuce, tomato, onion & creole mustard on a toasted harvest roll- add avocado with a nice side of ssweeeeett potato fries and you, my friend, will be in heaven too. B usually ops for the BBQ Fib Rib Sandwich: Hand carved seitan “ribs” in BBQ sauce topped with chopped lettuce, onions & tomato slices on a toasted hoagie bun, add some pesto veggies and we usually swap half way through.

(the vegan hot chocolate)

On our last trip up to the Diner, we went to celebrate our 5 year anniversary, so we were not holding back. Not eating a few meals before hand to make sure that we could make our mother’s proud by the food we would consume. We started with a new item that they just added to their menu for this fall season, FRIED RAVIOLI !

(the amazing fried ravioli!)

Black bean-cilantro raviolis with Guajillo sauce & sour cream. These Utopian like crunchy raviolis with black bean paste inside paired perfectly with the Guajillo sauce. Score 1 for us. Next I decided to go out on a limb and try another new item, the Shawarma. I couldn’t really pronounce it right, but I am sure the guy appreciated my efforts. This new entree was created with hummus, sliced gyro style seasoned seitan, fried cauliflower tossed in tahini sauce (right? you’re drooling now aren’t you?), on a toasted whole grain ciabatta & spicy harrisa. The weirdest combination I have ever scene on a menu, but it was fantastico too. Brandon stuck with the tried and true fib rib, and splurged with the vegan hot chocolate and soy whip. It was a very satisfying trip to the diner. Funny how seven hours in a car can be worth it when you are eating at this dive.

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