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Karyn's Raw - Fresh Corner

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 25 reviews )
Contact 312-255-1590
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1901 N Halsted, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60614

All housed in one building, Karyn's operates a cooked food restaurant, a spa, and this raw food / fresh corner with salad bar and retail. Vegan except for honey. Extensive menu. Raw buffet Sunday morning. Mon-Sat 9:00am-9:00pm, Sun 9:00am-6:00pm

Category: Vegan-friendly, American, Raw, Take-out

Reviews (25)

First Review by JPOrchanian

Meh. - Edit

It's good, but not great for me. They have a LOT of faux meat products. Personally I'm not a fan of that. I just prefer real food, cooked well. Service is top notch though, and it really is a great place.

Pros: Service, Presentation, Atmosphere

Cons: Lots of faux meat


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Best in Chicago !!! - Edit

Vegan food on one side of the menu and raw on the other-- great international options. Restaurant, Bakery, food store attached to spa. Nice casual, friendly atmosohere. Service was fast, informative and attentive. I

Pros: Tons of options !!!, Very good service. , Great recipes,

Cons: none


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superb food - Edit

This is a great restaurant with great cooked and raw vegan menu options. The food was great and seasoned very well. I met Karyn Calabrese, the owner, who is a delightful person. She took the time to talk to me about several recipes and she was open and honest as she talked to all of those in my party. I am adding Karyn's to my favorites. The food was so delicious, I had to buy her cookbook! Another plus was that the staff had no problems with my many questions the ingredients in the menu and dessert (sigh!!!) selections. Karyn and her staff members are so personable and willing to assist you!
Updated from previous review on Saturday December 12, 2015

Pros: menu choices, atmosphere, staff friendliness and willingness to answer quest


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Best Raw Food, No Seriously-the Best! - Edit

I have been going to Karyn's since the 90's. Karyn is truly a pioneer in raw food and the vegan eating movement. If you've tried raw food before and hated it, you did not come to Karyn's. Karyn's IS raw food in its finest.
Watching the progression of this place, and tasting the menus, has been like experiencing the maturation of a fine artist.
The current menu has some great delights, like the tamales, ravioli, and pizza. Some of the old favorites are also still delicious, like the California rolls, buffet and nut butters. I do miss the old desserts, before agave was around, and it would be great if the herbal elixers came back, Beauty, and the Beast were our favorites.
One of the great opportunities here is a 5 day meal that you can pre-order and take home with you. If you've been wanting to kick start a healthy diet or cleanse this is a good starter. About a year ago, I tried the meal plan for a few months when I was stressed from moving, just to have some basic nutrition easily taken care of. On the meals I lost 12 lbs in a little over a week. (Which remained off).
Go to Karyn's if you're curious about raw food, or if you've been disappointed by others and you'd like to know what 'real' raw is all about.

Pros: Organic, Healthy, Taste

Cons: Coconut Oil, Agave


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LOVE IT! - Edit

I have only been to Karyn's 3 times over the past 6 years but each time has been wonderful! The selection of raw foods, supplements and other products is great. The first time I went I ate from the salad bar which was delicious. The other 2 times I splurged and ate at the adjoining restaurant. OMG! FABULOUS food. I went with family each time and we tasted or shared each others food. I wish I could live next door so I could go and eat there everyday.

Pros: Fabulous Food, Great variety of items in the store, Small parking lot available


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Empanadas & Tamales were amazing - Edit

OMG!! It had been years since I had an empanada or tamale that was vegan and RAW! Food was amazing, I hate Chicago and had to go there for work (blah!!!) but going to Karyn's made it all worth it.
Best empanada and tamale in the country for sure!!!


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Just What We Wanted - Edit

Me and my boyfriend have been to Karyn's a handful of times. We love it.
This time we ate at the restaurant. We split an appetizer and two entrees. The appetizer was raw crackers and four different kinds of raw cheeses. The entrees were the Wild Rice Medley and the Salmon Roll. I liked the Salmon Roll the best. It was like a sushi roll and I thought the flavors went well together. The rice dish was a little on the small side.
Any qualms I have I am fully ok with. Yeah, it costs more money. They have honey. Some portions are small. But the good definitely outweighs all that.
Lots of samples on the deli side!
I tried raw pizza, raw cheddar, raw pad thai AND raw soft serve! Strawberry and vanilla. Super yummy.
They have a lot of healthy stuff. A raw salad bar, too.
And kombucha.

If you are into raw food you should definitely go. Or are looking for a way to try all kinds of healthy food.

There's juice and smoothies.

Wow.

Pros: Healthy, Raw, Samples

Cons: Honey


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Delicious & fresh raw fare! - Edit

When we arrived at Karyn's Fresh Corner & Raw Cafe, which has recently re-opened in the Lincoln Park area after a fire, we discovered that in addition to having a small gourmet restaurant, they also have a little specialty grocery store with food bar. We slipped into the dining area, which was cozy and cleanly decorated.

We were the only ones there at the time, and a server came to our table right away with menus and water for the table. The water had been infused with cucumber slices, which was refreshing and always makes me feel like I'm sitting at a spa. The featured drink option of the day was coconut water, fresh from a young coconut and served in a wine glass.

For an appetizer, we ordered the cheese plate, which includes a variety of nut-based cheeses in different flavors alongside dehydrated crackers, dried fruit and nuts. We took turns sampling the different cheeses and then pressing them into the various toppings. We each attempted to pick our favorite, but that kept changing with each bite - sometimes it was the one with a prominent flavor of basil, then it would be the garlicky one, then the more spicy one... They gave a generous amount of each of the cheeses, and I had to remind myself that I still had a main course coming.

For the main course, I ordered the Pad Thai. I generally see kelp noodles or spiralized zucchini in raw noodle dishes, but for this entrée coconut meat was used. They cut the inner meat from a young coconut into long strips and tossed it in a creamy curry sauce with bean sprouts, peas, scallions, carrots, and marinated mushrooms. The sauce definitely had a spicy kick, and I liked the crunch of the bean sprouts against the softness of the coconut meat noodles.

My friend ordered the empanadas, which were made with flax and corn masa pastry dough and then stuffed with chorizo and served with raw chocolate mole and salsa verde. I stopped myself from reaching across with a fork to sample one of his empanadas, which he was clearly enjoying. Instead I asked if he'd have raw food again sometime, to which he said, "Well, if raw food is like this then I would."

If I lived in Chicago, all of Karyn's restaurants would definitely be in my regular rotation, including her raw cafe where I'd love to make it my mission to sample the menu from top to bottom (leaving out the menu items with honey, of course).

Pros: fresh, inventive, creative


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One of the best vegan restaurants in Chicago city - Edit

Food is very good, all vegan, creative cuisine. Large selection of vegan deserts. Moderate prices, seasonal outdoor seating, Service can be spotty at times depending upon the tenure of the wait staff, but generally good. Limited seating, recommend make reservations. Serves vegan brunch on weekends. Medium size restaurant, can be noisy when full. American and select ethnic menu. Serves wine and beer and juices.

Pros: All vegan, tasty , Good size servings

Cons: noisy when full


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Karyn's Fresh Corner - Edit

Karyn's Fresh Corner is where Karyn's Raw is located as well as the holistic wellness center, and a small market with a juice bar. The market has raw and organic products plus some of Karyn's food to-go. If you need some rather obscure raw items that you can't find at Whole Foods, this is the place to go (ex: detox items). They also have a raw salad bar and a juice/smoothie bar. It's a nice place to stop by for a quick pick-up lunch and an organic juice. The salad bar is $7.99 a pound or $12.95 for all-you-can-eat. I got the raw salad bar and a BLT sandwich (be warned, some of the breads the sandwiches are made of have honey in them, but they are marked). I have to say, I think I'm not a fan of raw sandwiches. I've had them from raw before and now from Karyn's and both times I have found them too acidic and just off tasting. I much preferred the raw salad and the juice. The juice was a lovely pick-me-up. I had the summer cooler, though the employee recommended the peaceful warrior.

For a complete review, please see my blog here: http://veganmiss.blogspot.com/2011/12/vegan-chicago-restaurant-review-of_05.html


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unfortunately one of the few raw options in chi - Edit

The raw buffet is generally a decent option given the lack of alternatives in Chicago, but it is limited in selection, generally repetitive, and many dishes are too vinegary or over-salted. And it's expensive. The prepared dishes available from the refrigerated display include some nicer options, but they are more expensive and generally not very filling. In addition to being a cafe, tbis is also a store for super-foods and health and beauty products -- almost all of them plastered with Karyn's name and with the price hiked up in comparison to the same product in a good health food store. The walls are plastered with everything that's ever been put in print about Karyn Calabrese -- she is constantly promoting herself -- which adds to the overall distastefulness of the place for me. Given few raw options in Chicago, I nevertheless find myself there fairly regularly when in Chicago, which is the most pathetic thing of all! What has made me permanently suspicious of Karyn's, however, is that she sells raw chocolate bars with her name on them that have sugar in them. I find that extremely offensive and misleading.

Pros: one of few raw food options

Cons: exploitatively expensive, obnoxiously self-promoting, food is nothing special

1 Response

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Sunday Brunch - Edit

I went for brunch on December 26, 2010.

My date and i were not given a menu, indication of price or how the restaurant operated. We finally guessed it was an open food bar. However, when we arrived to the buffet, a stuffy server appeared out of no where and handled the food himself (with tongs) onto our plates. This is a new technique for me and quite frankly, i don't like people, other than chefs, touching my food. This is was a turn off also because i have food sensitivities and I really only wanted a few items, not a bit of everything. I felt uncomfortable declining the dishes--was it allowed to take seconds of one course and not another? i was never told.

our plates were cleared and we were presented with a $60 bill for 2. That was for the buffet --if you can call it that--alone. no drinks were ordered.

Pros: creative food

Cons: expensive


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Best Vegan Raw in Chicago - Edit

I refused to go to Kayrn's Raw for the longest time due to my first experience there. I had the ravioli and I didn't care for it - the sauce comes cold (room temperature would have been better) and has too many olives in it, but the nut paste within the ravioli was really good though. So I gave it another try a year later, but this time I got the pasta primavera...WOW! It's made with zucchini noodles (wow!) and pine nut sauce (delicious!) and you also get servings of other well prepared vegetables. All I have to say is that this dish is truly amazing and it has kept me coming back on a regular basis. My bf has enjoyed everything he's eaten from Kayrn's Raw as well.

Another thing to note, they have a deli/store connected (also Kayrn's) that carries all kinds of Vegan Raw foods. The Raw Mint Carob Cake is very good. I highly recommend Karyn's, not only is the food good, but the location is very nice. It's a great place to go for a nice dinner (great for dates), you can get dressed up nice if you want (but you're fine in your regular casual attire as well).


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A Raw Institution - Edit

If you are into eating raw, interested in learning more, or just curious, Karyn's is THE place to go. Karyn, herself, is an inspiration; and the cafe and restaurant are inspiring as well. There is so much to learn and experience upon every visit. Many uninformed people it is expensive, but if you have tried preparing raw organic food at home, you will quickly understand why the food is a couple dollars more than you might expect. I prefer the cafe side to the restaurant. The salad bar is a GREAT DEAL. You can have a super lunch or dinner for $5-$10 from the bar. The juices and smoothies are amazing. The desserts are out of this world even for those who enjoy any type of food. The raw granola bars are incredible and a meal in themselves. Try the kale chips too, yum! Karyn's changed my life, I highly recommend it. Don't forget your shot of wheatgrass!

Pros: healthy, inspiring, life changing

Cons: slow service


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Expensive - Edit

I've been to Karyn's Cooked before and liked it, so I decided to try this place. At the main restaurant, the prices were high and the portions were small. It just wasn't worth the money. I tried to eat at the attached cafe instead, but almost everything had honey listed as an ingredient.

Pros: Healthy food

Cons: Expensive, Small portions, Limited seating in cafe


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Try the desserts, brunch, and sandwichs. - Edit

I will go here once awhile when i am in the area. I recommend the sunday brunch, and go there hungry. It is a great deal for what you get and gives you a chance to try a little of everything! Including some desserts. When i eat at the restaurant side i enjoy their salads. I will go to their cafe most of the time. They have some great drinks, ice cream, desserts, and sandwiches. The cafe side will also save you some money since it's cheaper than eating at the restaurant.

Pros: Raw food, desserts, chioces

Cons: $$$, some dishes are too nut heavy


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Raw Sunday Brunch for energy - Edit

I visited Karyn's in April 08 on my first trip to Chicago. I thought it was a very nice interior and the staff was very friendly. I was not aware how much the brunch was going to cost until my bill came - I'm guessing they assumed everyone was a regular or my table was supposed to have a menu on it and it didn't. The food was very good and different for me, since I'd never had uncooked meals before. Most people assume raw vegan means you are just munching on raw vegetables and fruit. This place gives it a whole new meaning. I loved my meal and felt extremely energetic afterwards. I couldn't afford a $25 brunch every Sunday - but I don't live in Chicago anyway.

Pros: perfect for a date, delicious, store attached

Cons: Expensive


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Bad Experience - Edit

I used to go to Karyn's all the time in highschool when I had a lot of disposable income...it's expensive. This is the best raw food you will find however. It is just so delicious I didn't mind spending the money. The salad bar and Karyn's to go are a better deal and still delicious. However, the last time I went the manager was so rude to me I refuse to go back. I asked if they had any positions available, and she basically walked away from me. The service was also not good the last time I went, admittedly this was 3 years ago.

Pros: Excellent Food, Very Healthy, Almost Completely Vegan

Cons: Bad Service, Expensive, Rude Manager


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The Place to Go - Edit

My husband and I love this restaurant. We have learned a lot about raw foods through going to Karyn's often. Karyn, Bernie and the staff make us feel very welcome. I get there once a week at least. My husband goes more often because his schedule is different than mine. I'd love to go there daily. If it were near my job, I'd buy my lunch there every day.

Pros: overall healthy cuisine, wonderful atmosphere, good bargains on supplements & groceries

Cons: some foods too salty, some things too pricey


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Not for everyone - Edit

Well, I suppose if you are a die hard vegan raw foodist, this place will be wonderful for you. If you don't follow the raw food movement, then you may be a little dissapointed. There's just something about a place that claims to be "conscious dining" and then uses peacock feathers to decorate, packs your leftovers in two layers of thick plastic containers, and sells bottled water, that just does not sit well with me.

And when you call cold vegitable slices wrapped around nut paste "ravioli"...that just seems like false advertising.

Like I said, if it's your thing, then it's your thing. But if you are tryng to win converts from the meat intensive camp into the conscious eating camp, you might want to make a few other stops first. Some stops where they cook the food.

Cute little store attached to it, though.

Pros: Definately fresh, Classy atmosphere, tap water was good

Cons: Raw, used peacock feathers for decor, expensive


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