Vegan on The Magnificent Mile
The rise of veganism is swift. In the past year, it is estimated that U.S consumers spent $1.9 billion on plant based milks and $3.3 billion on plant based foods. It is no surprise that the food and restaurant industry has taken notice and is being more accommodating. Chicago is an increasingly huge vegan city and was voted the #7 vegan city in the country.
Still, finding quality food as a vegan can be difficult and calls for some research before you go out to eat. The Magnificent Mile is home to popular and award-winning restaurants, and I wanted to create a guide for all the top vegan spots to make it a little easier to enjoy. After doing tons of research, surprisingly, I’ve found that being vegan on The Mag Mile is easier than you think and restaurants have been increasingly adding vegan options and substitutes.
So, what are people eating in the #7 vegan city in the U.S?
Beatrix, an inviting neighborhood restaurant, consists of several parts including a sit-down restaurant, pastry & coffee bar, and bar. Whether you’re stopping at Beatrix for dinner or grabbing a quick breakfast at their coffee bar, there are delicious vegan options available all day. The staff is accommodating and understanding of all dietary restrictions, and they are willing to work with you and give you a detailed explanation of each of their menu items.
To start off your day the right way, the house made pastry & coffee bar offers a vegan chocolate chip cookie and a vegan apple slice muffin. It is hard to come across genuinely good quality vegan desserts and pastries, but this was amazing and well made. I visited later on, and started off with Hummus and Pita Bread as an appetizer, which was delicious. I then gave the Vegan Mushroom Risotto a try for dinner. It was a big portion size and filling.
Stan's Donuts & Coffee
Stan’s Donuts and Coffee serves handmade and exotic donuts made with high quality ingredients provided by Labriola. Labriola, a well-known Chicago baking company, has partnered with the founder of Stan’s, Stan Berman, in order to serve quality donuts made with high end bread products with a “Chicago Twist.”
Finding out that Stan’s had vegan donuts was news to me, and I just had to get the word out. They offer two different vegan flavors: Cinnamon Sugar and Sugar Glazed. Believe me when I tell you, they are delicious. I think it was one of the greatest quality and best tasting vegan donuts I’ve ever tried. Stan’s is a must-try during a Chicago visit, and it is amazing to see them being more inclusive of certain dietary restrictions.
M. Burger is Chicago’s very own handmade burger joint. With several convenient locations around The Magnificent Mile, M Burger is known for their delicious burgers, golden slim fries, and milkshakes. My favorite location to visit is the M. Burger located inside of Water Tower Place because nothing sounds better than a burger after spending the entire day shopping. They recently added a new item to their menu called “The Impossible Burger,” which is a 100% vegan burger. You wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between a burger made from meat and this Impossible Burger. It tastes the same, maybe even better. The next time your friends want to grab burgers for lunch, and instead of only being able to order fries, bring them to M. Burger so you can enjoy a delicious and handmade burger as well.
Protein Bar is a health based local chain that serves smoothies, salads, burritos, and more. The vegan options here are endless. My favorite part about this local chain is how well their menu is made. Each item on the menu contains a full list of all the ingredients, as well as a “Vegan” or “Can be made Vegan” title, which was super helpful and made the ordering process quick.
Chicago area Protein Bars have recently added beyond meat to their menu, which is another 100% vegan based meat. Their Spicy Korean and Beyond Chili are my favorite dishes on the menu.