601 North McClurg Court
Chicago, IL 60611
The zero waste restaurant is as strict as a nun when it comes to sustainability, organic ingredients and being a good steward of the planet. That Local Root’s passion for real food comes in at an affordable price in such a tony neighborhood adds to its magic. Get lunch here (handcrafted soup du jour made with seasonal ingredients, pulled pork poutine, grass fed burger among the many options) and you’ll soon return for dinner and even brunch that has become quite the popular weekend event. Note that the names and distances of partner farms are at the top of the menu and go for any item that’s marked “hyper seasonal selection” and you can’t miss.
93 S. La Grange Road
La Grange, IL 60525
Prasino (translation – “green” in Greek) is not just eco-friendly – it’s eco-in-love from the food to kitchen facilities and the entire restaurant design. Diners, farmers, ranchers, vintners and brewers all win at prasino (yes, lower case “p”). The Contemporary American menu is all about farm-to-table ingredients whether you want breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks. One would expect indulgent selections like lamb spaghetti and short rib tacos to be full of flavor, but even guiltless items are super satisfying – try steel cut oatmeal, healthy French toast (multigrain bread, egg whites, cinnamon, nutmeg, berries), kale and spinach salad, quinoa tacos and grilled salmon.
2537 N. Kedzie Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60647
Winning organic items at this Logan Square restaurant include a classic breakfast burrito, flavorful Rushing Waters smoked trout scramble, cornmeal griddle cakes and the very popular Royale breakfast sandwich made with maple braised bacon, heirloom tomato, arugula, Fontina, a sunny side egg and celery leaf pesto on house-made focaccia. The international organic menu also offers fantastic cafe selections from Gunthorp Farm pan-roasted chicken and smoked quail to a turkey sandwich regulars cannot get enough of. The six-course vegetarian tasting menu is a treat for flesh abstainers.
Related: Chicago’s Best Mobile Food
1401 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
With a four-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association, Uncommon Ground’s newer location in Edgewater features the same high-quality, organic fare as its original outpost in Lakeview. Boasting the country’s first certified organic rooftop farm, the eatery grows herbs that find their way sprinkled on hand-cut frites as well as veggie-like organic greens, heirloom tomatoes, peppers and sweet corn peeking under cilantro-lime flank steak. Organic can be psychologically comforting knowing that you’re putting healthy stuff in the pie hole, however, the belly wins as well with dishes like macaroni and cheese made with organic shell pasta, Cedar Grove cheddar and Swiss and Prairie Pure butterkäse, bread crumbs.
Nana offers the triumvirate of “local, sustainable and organic” food that’s so satisfying you’ll wonder why you can’t eat here every week. The Bridgeport restaurant sources ingredients from more than 30 local farms and other suppliers and every last thing is made in-house from smoked meats and brined pickles and olives to the preserves you’re smearing on your biscuits. Regulars rave about the avocado fries, shrimp and oyster po’ boy, the perky Cubano sandwich and sinful elotes – grilled corn slathered with sour cream and Cojita cheese. Carve out some time on a Sunday for Nana’s family-style supper that includes fried chicken, cornbread, salad, mac ‘n’ cheese, veggies and dessert.
Related: Best Community Farms Near Chicago
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.