Even in a metropolitan foodie mecca like Chicago, the Midwestern meat-and-potatoes stereotype is hard to shake. Especially compared to more beachy cities like Miami and LA, Chicago’s vegan scene has been slow in catching on, but recently the city has seen a huge uptick in meatless options that are refreshingly free of meat substitutes and more focused on fresh produce. These new vegan restaurants and menu items are further proof that dishes need not contain meat (or potatoes) to be delicious and satisfying.
This Downtown hot spot recently implemented a “You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan” series, which showcases a different vegan dish each week. With an emphasis on reimagined classics, Hub 51 has cooked up vegan chili, fried rice and sloppy joes, the latter swapping out the beef for roasted red peppers, jalapeños and onions simmered with black beans and tomatoes. The restaurant also added a new veggie burger, dubbed the anti-burger. It comes with American cheese by default but can easily be made without it. The patty incorporates quinoa, lentils, farro, chickpeas, caramelized onions, white miso, cumin and shiitake mushrooms, which altogether form a nutty, mildly spicy burger.