The Midwest isn’t exactly applauded as being a leader in heatlhy eating. Everytime I turn a corner, I run into a donut shop while getting hit in the face with a giant sausage. That may sound like a pleasant experience to some of you though, I don’t know.
I moved here a year ago, and while I only eat out once a month since going AIP Paleo, I did my fair share of restaurant dining last summer. I seriously spent hours Yelping and Urbanspooning “gluten free Chicago” until I was satisfied with my list of must-try’s. Chicago’s a beautiful city full of art, shopping, handsome gentlemen, and architecture. Truly one of America’s greatest, so come on down (or up or to the side) for a visit and make sure you check out some of these Paleo/GF- friendly restaurants.
Hands down favorite. Make a reservation 3-4 weeks in advance so you have the time to mentally prepare yourself for the best meal of your life. Plus it’s a hard joint to get into, so reservations are a must.
Atmosphere: Romantic, Upscale, Speakeasy Vibe, Open Bar Seating
Menu Items: Oysters, Steak (a must) with steak salt, bernaise & roasted tomatoes, baked sweet potato, baked white potato with house thick-cut bacon
Accomodations: When you make your reservation, let Amy know at least 24 hours in advance of any food allergies/intolerances and they will ensure your meal is clean as Jewish grandmother’s bathroom sink.
THE place in Chicago for a lettuce-wrapped grassfed burger that will leave you satisfied (yet still wanting more because they’re that damn good). Offers grassfed beef and unique cuts on rotation like duck and elk. Fries are a must if you’re willing to sacrifice your soy-free diet for a day.
Atmosphere: Casual, Fun, Awesome 90’s music, BYOB, Best for small groups
Menu Items: Lettuce-wrapped grassfed burger w/ fried egg, avocado and caramelized onions. Pick up some local Two Brothers Prairie Path Ale (gluten-free) before heading over for lunch or dinner.
Accomodations: Ask them to clean the grill for you or cook your burger in a separate pan.
You came to Chicago for some good arse BBQ, right? Probably not, but that’s what you’re gonna get. The line may be long but it goes quick and you get to chat with the friendliest Midwesterners at this humble BBQ hole in the wall.
Atmosphere: Casual, Indoor and Outdoor Seating, Counter Ordering
Menu Items: Rack of Ribs, Half Chicken, Bring your own BBQ sauce if you’re AIP
Accomodations: Email the Smoque guys 2 days before you plan to eat there. They will prepare your meat without the AIP-offending ingredients like red pepper and paprika and send it through the smoker without the sauce.
It’s like if Alton Brown + George Bryant had a restaurant baby. Flavor bombs, redonk desserts, and they treat you like family. Plus another BYOB. This place is new school Chicago – make a reservation weeks out.
Atmosphere:Tiny, homey, perfection for escaping winter for a few hours w/ a bottle or 3 of wine
Menu Items: smoked chicken thighs w/ almond butter & shaved brussel sprouts, bacon-wrapped and almond stuffed dates, pork belly anything
Accomodations: Takes great care to understand your allergies/intolerances and adapt menu items to suit your needs without compromising flavor. They’ll remember you next time too!
The only vegan food I’ve ever had that doesn’t make me miss my meat. Two locations downtown offer endless colorful and nutrient-dense clean eats. I can spend at least 30 minutes reading the brightly hued packages and trying to figure out how they made delicious as F lemon squares out of cashews and sea salt.
Atmosphere: Grab & Go, Female Overload
Menu Items: Collard Greens Burrito with cashew cream cheese, fresh coconut water, Kombucha, sprouted sunflower seed & maca energy bars, gluten-free desserts
Grange takes farm-to-table to the next level by making you feel like you’re eating just-picked raddichio in a barn. Big ol’ grassfed burgers (get it on the house salad), homemade pies (not GF) and ice cream (do it), and the friendliest servers.
Atmosphere: City ho-down, Yupster Hang-out (Yuppies + Hipsters)
Menu Items: Grassfed burgers & hotdogs with fried avocado and jalapeno jicama slaw
Accomodations: Well-versed in gluten-free & Paleo lingo. Be as demanding as you please.
The ugly sister of Paleo starches gets a makeover at this Lakeview empanada joint. Everything is gluten-free and they feature nitrate-free bacon, grassfed beef, and use ONLY coconut and olive oil in their products.
Atmosphere: Plain, Good for a quick lunch
Menu Items: Bacon, egg and cheese empanada, beef & cheddar empanada
Accomodations: You can’t do egg or dairy free here, so AIP need not apply.