Native Foods Cafe - The Loop

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 58 reviews )
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312-332-6332
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218 S Clark St, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60604

Small chain of vegan restaurants originating from Southern California. Offers a menu of sandwiches, veggie burgers, bowls, salads, and others. Order at the counter and food is brought to your table. This one est. 2012. Open Mon-Sun 11:00am-9:00pm.

Category: Vegan, American, Fast food, Take-out, Catering, Fusion

Reviews (58)

First Review by SynthVegan

nice food, lacking flavour - Edit

lovely, spacious place with many many options on the menu!
had the soul bowl. nice mix of veg salad chicken sticks. especially the chicken was amazing. the rest was good, very fresh, but lacking a bit of flavour - which is weird as it came with both a bbq sauce and also some white dressing...

drinks are fantastic!!! there's different options of lemonade and iced tea. some unsweetened. free refills!!

service was excellent!

Pros: choice, drinks!!, service

Cons: lack of flavour

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A great all-around vegan option - Edit

I enjoyed several trips to this restaurant during a winter business trip to the city. A wide variety of items in something approaching a fast-food-type setup. I enjoyed the quality and healthfulness of the food, as well as the variety of flavors on the menu. A non-vegan colleague who joined me for one meal commented somewhat favorably. Finding this place made the trip much more enjoyable than another trip I took for the same conference some years ago. The OC Raw Chopper was among the salads I enjoyed. I look at the menu and am reminded that it is full of renditions of American comfort-food-type classics, reminiscent of a chain restaurant with a laminated menu somewhere on the road..

Pros: variety of serious, nutrient dense menu items, convenient hours compared to nearby alternatives

Cons: lack of dishes with fruit, berries, and melon

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Oh so good - Edit

I'm disappointed that I have to downgrade my rating a little bit. I went to Native Foods twice during a short visit to Chicago. The menu and restaurants was mostly the same as I remembered it, but the quality was not as good as I recall.

I ordered the chicken run ranch and the scorpion burger. A few small things about each:
The burgers had flavorless shredded iceberg lettuce that really didn't add much
The burgers would benefit from some tomato
The buns were crumbly and lacked flavor
The selection of sauces used to be extensive and exciting, but now it seems to mainly consist of standard Heinz bottles.

I admit that I'm being super nitpicky here, as the food and experience is still quite good overall. It's just that Native Foods used to be my favorite place for veggie burgers, but now I can think of many restaurants and food trucks around the country that do it a bit better.
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I love Native foods. Creative, compassionate, and scrumptious food. I really like the Scorpion Burger and the Chicken Run Ranch. In truth, everything is fantastic.

I was in Chicago for four days and I went to this location three times (and another location once). That just about says it all.

Updated from previous review on 2015-09-04

Pros: Everything is delicious, Great drinks, Great desserts

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Great place! - Edit

I go all the time and order the meatiest non-meat things on their menu, the hamburgers and the meatball sub are delicious.

Pros: Delicious food, They use "Ritual," the take-out app , Fast food

Cons: They need to be in more locations around the city!

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Great comfort food - Edit

Burgers, bowls and much more! If you like great vegan options, you will love this place

Pros: burger

Cons: none

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AMAZING - Edit

I have visited Native Foods Cafe two times, with family members who love meat. Not only did they enjoy the food, they suggested we come back again! We have tried the Chips and Salsa, the Native Nachos, Big Ol' Barbecue Burger, the Native Chicken, Bacon and Avo Club, the Portobello and Sausage Burger, and the Native Southwester Burger. Everything we have tried so far was DELICIOUS! I can't wait to come visit again and try other things!

Updated from previous review on 2016-06-23

Pros: EVERYTHING

Cons: none

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The Mcdonalds of Vegan Food, it should become the norm and replace Mcdonald's. - Edit

It reminds me of Mcdonald's in the way that its always consistent in quality and taste, which is a good thing. It's also because it's a chain thats sprinkled across the Chicago area and I've found in emergencies I'm always close to a Native Foods Cafe and my day is saved. Theres no guess work, its a fully vegan place with no worries of animal products. It fares well with everyone that I've made try, practically everything on the menu is delicious. Its expensive because its quality food, and I feel that the price is justified for what you're getting. It's so popular I rarely find a day where the place is empty unless you come in unusually early. Before I was vegan I was coming here because its delicious, not even realizing that what I was eating had no animal products. I come to this chain on the regular and always have a good experience.

One day me and my friend were waiting past 30min for our food and the manager noticed us and came out and sincerely apologized for the wait and gave us our food for FREE. No charge. The company cares and has excellent ethics all around, for the animals and its customers.

Best drink is the lavender lemonade, absolutely obsessed with it. The handhelds and burgers are amazing. Make sure to make an account to gather points for free stuff and come in Wednesdays for Bogo days where a meal could be free or half price!

Pros: Consistent Quality and Taste, Ethical Staff, Clean

Cons: Sometimes Crowded, Native Oklahoma Classic = Bleh, Certain places don't have lavender lemonade

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Wow! Delicious!! - Edit

I've always wanted to try Native Foods but usually too rushed to get back on the train. It would've been worth the wait -for the next train, even if I would've missed it! I ordered a salad (Ensalada Azteca) and sandwich (chicken, bacon & avo club- all vegan of course) with a side of potato salad. Best vegan food I've had in a long time! I'm very excited about this place. It's fresh and portion size was perfect.

Pros: delicious, creative options, fresh, fast, friendly

Cons: none

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Best vegan place in the Loop - Edit

This Native Food café is very, very convenient since there are not many places where to eat vegan on the Loop. It is one of my favourite, it offers many vegan options, most of them are very tasty. Their desserts are also very good and prices are fair. I found that some burgers were a bit dry (more sauce would be great) but otherwise, the place is perfect. You are served quickly, the staff is friendly and you have room inside. My wish is that they open later! 9:00 pm is too early...

Pros: many choices, good food, nice place, great desserts, central location

Cons: some burgers may be a bit dry, closes too early

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Great selection of vegan meals - Edit

When we entered this place, we couldn't believe that everything was vegan - amazing selection from soups, salads, burgers, bowls and healthy drinka. The "meats" have a similar taste to real ones, so it felt funny eating bacon, chicken and the likes. The food is very tasty and I like how all the ingredients blend together. I especially liked the nachos (at least for 2!) and the Bangkok curry bowl.

Pros: Selection, Staff, Time to get the order

Cons: Size of portions are unpredictable

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Yum! - Edit

Delicious vegan food. My favorites are chicken, bacon and avocado club and the soul bowl. We go there quite often and accumulate points for doing so. Love it when they have bogo

Cons: Can be expensive

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Meh - Edit

We rushed right over here when we got to Chicago. The ordering is a little weird because stuff on a board lists 'favorite' items, but those are not priced and not on the menu. So, ?
But we got a chic'n avo bacon sandwich, it was pretty good. The fries came barely warm, and are pretty lame shoestring fries. Also, got a seitan sandwich that was mediocre. Their tofu bacon is not as tasty as the stuff I make at home. We got a cupcake with salted caramel frosting. The cake was good, the frosting didn't have any particular flavor and was too soft. The whole experience was just so mediocre.

Because of the location (the only veg place in the Loop) we went back there on our way out of town. We got the Buffalo Wings. They are tasty, but the texture is a little soft. My husband got the Gyro Salad Bowl; he liked it except the vegetables were in huge chunks and hard to cut even with a knife. It also had huge pieces of raw kale, which is pretty tough. I ordered the Meatball Bowl with Mango-Lime because it was the only one without kale. So they brought it out and it's loaded with raw kale. They seemed all surprised when I pointed this out, but were very nice and brought it back without the kale/salad (because the kale is already mixed in, they said). It was so much less food it was ridiculous. It looked like I had half the quinoa my husband got. However, the meatballs were fantastic and the flavors overall were great. Both visits, it took a surprisingly long time to get our food. It was a real mixed bag, disappointing since we were so psyched to get there.

Cons: Menu inaccuracy

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love this place so much!!! - Edit

Just arrived from NC and use this app to find this gem. I am so happy I found this place I am coming every day. There food is fresh, no GMOs and all vegan. They even have a lot of gluten free items which I need. I ordered so much because I couldn't decide. Definitely recommend this place. The tacos and kale cheese dip are so delicious.

Pros: vegan, gluten free, fresh

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amazing so yummy !!! - Edit

So good ! I ate there 5 times in a row and loved everything I had especially the sliders and the child cheese fries with the cashew cheese !!!!!!!!!! And the peanut butter parfait

Pros: fast , quick service, very nice staff

Cons: a little pricey and they need to do breakfast !!

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Great Food, Fast and Friendly Service - Edit

Their chicken sandwiches are great. Loved the lemongrass broccoli and nachos, too.

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So so good! - Edit

Lots of variety and ethnic food choices!

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Very, very good!!! - Edit

I was there (and in the second restaurant next to Hyde Park) a few times now and it was always very, very good! We ate tree different burgers, the soul bowl and the chili fries and we loved it. The food is not very expensive (but more than in Europe or in Vienna (where I live), but it was ok and a menu is a lot,so you don't need more than that. The drinks are very good, because there a not typical for a burger restaurant - there are different ice teas without sugar and in exotic flavours like lavender. All in all I would always go there again (and I will)!

Cons: very tasty burger, awesome chili fries, inexpensive

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Great! - Edit

Wide variety, very tasty and friendly staff. We really enjoyed our meal and will come back again.

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Hope to visit again to try some more menu items - Edit

Wide selection, we really enjoyed the wrap, burger, peanut butter parfait we ordered. Nice to have some unusual but tasty lemonades to choose from too.

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offers something others don't - Edit

Really good, like every other Native Foods Cafe - BUT they had "Double Delight Chocolate Brownies" there!! WOW! They were soooo good :) I miss them already!

Amazing service (high praise for Cristina!)

Native Foods is the place to go.

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A Little Slice of Heaven! - Edit

This restaurant gave me EXACTLY what I needed in a world where professional events are catered with foods that don't cater to vegans. The Thai Meatball Earthbowl and crispy sweet potato fries left me satiated and satisfied! The carrot cream cupcake made with almond milk was the perfect succulent finish! This place gave me life!

Pros: 100% Plant Based, SEVERAL vegan options

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Tasty and Centrally Located - Edit

I think this is a five star restaurant for what it is - a vegan chain in a very central location. Everything I've tried here was delicious and the service really friendly. I do agree with one of the other reviewers who points out there are more unique vegan restaurants to be found in Chicago. For a quick lunch this location of Native foods is great, but I probably wouldn't go for dinner, as there is vegan food with more complex flavors to be had at other restaurants. That being said, you might try to get here a bit early for lunch, because it gets really crowded!

Pros: Location, Tasty Food, Quick Service

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so delish! - Edit

The Kung Pao Bowl is so good, I could eat it everyday. My kids love to eat here too!

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quality fast food done right - Edit

Excellent. We eat at this location a couple of times while in town. Friendly staff and lots of seating. They even have a large harvest style table to accommodate large groups.

I like that there is lots of options on the menu. You can get something like the ranch burger and fries if you are feeling more like a filling treat meal. You can also get the tacos or a huge salad if you are feeling like something lighter and healthier.

Love all the teas and the fresh watermelon juice and lemonade. Free refills too! And lots of desserts and cookies to go (handy to grab a couple of you are traveling like we were).
We'll defiantly be back next time we're in town!

Pros: great variety, filling tasty food, healthy fresh options

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Best vegan food in the Loop! - Edit

And I also think the Loop location of Native Foods is the best in Chicago. Their sauces and dips are out of control - chipotle and Ensalada Azteca all the way!

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Wow! Delicious Vegan Offerings!! Great Price! - Edit

I had one of the best vegan meals ever at Native Foods... Wow!

Native Foods may look like a quick-foods' place since patrons order at the counter, however, the food is top-notch. Their menu is filled with delicious vegetable offerings, wonderful healthy sauces, kale and tempeh dishes, salads, wraps, and soups.

Obviously, others feel the same way. This place was packed during the rush hour. Luckily, I was able to find a table.

The food was fresh and sooo delicious! I can't wait to go back.

Pros: Yummy food - the best!, Great creativity & variety in their menu, Fairly priced

Cons: Noisy and croweded during the lunch hour

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A great lunch or weekend spot! - Edit

The food is always really good and consistent, which is important when it comes to vegan food. The chipotle sauce is the best thing they have and I have and will slather it on just about anything!

Pros: consistency, good quality

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