The Chicago Diner
A Chicago couple shares their fresh new take on vegan food

New lifestyle trends and choices are constantly popping up all over the country and it can be hard to stick with them when cravings arise for unhealthy, high calorie comfort food. Up until recently, vegetarians and vegans have had to give up things like bacon cheeseburgers, hot wings, and tacos in order to stay on track. However, the increasingly popular Chicago Diner, which has locations on Halsted Street and Logan Square, has changed the way that vegans can eat, but more importantly, the way that meat-eaters view the vegan lifestyle. With menu options such as Chickun Ranch Salad, Country Fried StÓ•k, and Mac & Teese on the kid's menu, customers are able to stay inside of their culinary comfort zone, while branching out into the world of tofu, seitan, and vegan cheeses.

The Chicago Diner is owned by Mickey Hornick and "Chef Jo" Kaucher, who met through work at a former Chicago restaurant called, The Breadshop. Hornick originally changed to the vegan lifestyle due to health reasons and later developed an interest in creating tastier food options that even devoted meat-eaters would enjoy. The two have managed to overcome the opinions of competitors and maintain a successful business, which recently allowed them to open a second location in Logan Square. Since the opening of The Chicago Diner in 1983, Hornick and Kaucher's passion for the company and vegan cuisine shines through in their food and service.  

The staff members at both locations make the first experience at the restaurant comfortable and welcoming, as they guide customers and offer their personal menu favorites. The servers tend to be young and enthusiastic about the restaurant and its mission. Although it is often busy, the wait staff frequently checks back with each table to make sure everyone is satisfied. Both locations are situated in exciting neighborhoods and are open until 10pm on weekdays and Sundays and until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays which makes it the perfect dinner spot for nights out on the town. The atmosphere is small enough to give it a cozy feel, but large enough so that it doesn't feel cramped and overwhelmed by all the people.

Something that may come as a shock to some people about The Chicago Diner is that they have a wonderful bakery section with a wide array of options. Their website promises that the baked goods are made with all natural ingredients and they specialize in vegan and trans-fat free desserts including cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and even special order wedding cakes. The Chicago Diner is constantly coming out with new dessert items including their new Raspberry Mocha Cheezecake, which is—you guessed it—vegan! If this place is sounding too good to be true, they have won several awards from the Chicago Reader, Michelin Guide, VegNews Magazine, WGN TV, TLC and more. So whether your goal is to take on a new lifestyle, or you are just looking for a fun, new restaurant to try in the city, The Chicago Diner has what you need and offers affordable, family friendly prices!  

Check out their extensive vegan, vegetarian, and even gluten-free menu here.