Gluten Free Eating In Chicago: River North

Chicago’s River North neighborhood is one of my favorites — although it’s full of pricey restaurants with great vibes, it also has some affordable options — and a surprising scene for gluten free eating. Let me begin this blog with my most professional food blogger sounding summary:

Located right across from the Loop and bordering the Magnificent Mile, River North is a trendy and growing neighborhood that has become one of my go-to healthy eating areas of Chicago. I have also found it to be the easiest to navigate for gluten free eating. And since I'm artsy, I love the creative current running through River North, as many of its abandoned warehouses have converted to artist studios boasting a vibrant art and design scene.

That was way too stuffy for me. 

Breakfast, Snacks + Drinks

Hi-Vibe Organic Juicery {160 W KINZIE ST. CHICAGO, IL 60654}

I was so impressed with the selections at Hi-Vibe Juicery —offering organic, cold pressed juices, but so many other fabulous gluten free items right up my alley: acai & pitaya bowls, superfood smoothies, Bulletproof Coffee, chaga & matcha teas, grass-fed activated bone broth, and other healthy snacks.

Kill shot -perfect way to combat germs and pollution from walking around the city

Kill shot -perfect way to combat germs and pollution from walking around the city

My pick: the Dandy Detox juice was phenom, and grab a wellness shot to combat germs around the city. Note: although they have breakfast items, this is very much a grab-n-go place— it's tiny!

The aesthetic is clean and health conscious with inspirational signage and herb gardens. I would recommend just about anything on the perfectly labeled menu offering a wide array of gluten free, vegan, and nut free options.

Beatrix {519 N Clark St Chicago, IL 60654}

Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, and bakery items, Beatrix is a trendy spot for conversation and good eats on the healthier side. But, don’t fret, they also have an extensive cocktail menu. You can view their gluten free selections here.

Cafe Integral {located inside the Freehand Hotel 19 EAST OHIO ST, CHICAGO, IL}

The cafe + lounge, located inside a renovated 1920s Art Deco building turned Freehand Hotel, has a dreamy vibe - earthy and laid back. Cafe Integral offers some of Nicaragua's finest coffees— pour over + cold brews, local teas, and other beverages and breakfast + lunch selections made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

My pick: I just popped in for an afternoon snack and the matcha tea chia pudding with lavender honey was great!

Later on, hit up heir award winning bar- the Broken Shaker. And then if you drink too much, just stay the night at the hotel. Sounds like a plan to me!

Hash House A Go Go {1212 N State Parkway Chicago, Illinois 60610}

This farm fresh comfort food hot spot, will likely be packed whenever you visit. It's a casual, industrial diner vibe with natural light coming in through the skylights. {note: not safe for Celiacs}

I knew I had made the right decision when I saw Channing Tatum's stamp of approval on the wall.

Holy biscuits, Batman. Hash House is just insane. I have never missed bread in the four years I've been gluten free, with this brunch being the exception. The biscuits were the size of mini planets. Actually, everything is. The portions are everything that is wrong and wonderful about America. I had to take a picture of this biscuit before I gave it to someone else.

There are lots of gluten free options here, but you're safe with most of the scrambles and hashes.

My pick: OMG the avocado, applewood bacon, red onion, swiss hash was OFF THE CHARTS. Just get it. Also, I would steer clear of the potato wedges and just go for the garlic mashed to avoid frying.

For those not avoiding gluten— they are known for their sage fried chicken and waffles. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Their bloody marys are pretty legit as well, or so I hear.

Bombo Bar {832 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60607}

This is more of a snack place. Known for it's Instagram worthy creations, Bombo bar is actually a walk up window attached to Bar Siena. They offer fun and unique drinks and desserts such as gelato sandwiches, cooler chocolates, mini italian doughnuts, and coffee drinks. View the Bombo Bar menu here.  This is a fun place to take kids and adults alike — try the Matcha Made in Heaven — it’s vegan and can be made gluten free!


Roti Modern Mediterranean {multiple locations}

It's basically the Chipotle of Mediterranean food and I can't get enough. Also, you can get alcohol at most locations, the price point is super affordable, and it's fast casual. Perfect for a fast lunch or dinner.

this is what i got. and whatever it was, it was amazing.

this is what i got. and whatever it was, it was amazing.

You basically go through the line and choose a pita, wrap, or salad, or rice bowl. Then you customize it with toppings and proteins. The only issue is you'll want everything. So I suggest just getting the bowl, or you won't be able to fit your mouth around it. Here is the menu so you can see what's up.

credit: food network

credit: food network

Lyfe Kitchen {413 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654}

Self described as a "flexitarian" restaurant, catering to a variety of diets and allergy restrictions, you would have to be absolutely ridiculous if you couldn't find something to eat at Lyfe Kitchen. Mostly a lunch spot, they also offer a smattering of smoothies and juice elixirs. And desserts!

The aesthetic is clean and health conscious with inspirational signage and herb gardens. I would recommend just about anything on the perfectly labeled menu offering a wide array of gluten free, vegan, and nut free options.

Little Goat Diner {820 W RANDOLPH ST. CHICAGO, IL 60607}

Little Goat Diner is a breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee spot with a mod-retro vibe and I was so extremely impressed with the level of gluten-friendliness there. They had their own separate menu that listed gluten sensitive or strictly gluten free items.

The best thing about Chicago is you never know how you're gonna fit your food in your mouth, particularly at this place.

My pick: I ordered the Los Drowned, a sandwich with braised beef on havarti with pickled peppers/onions, slaw, guacamole, cilantro --to make it gluten free they put it on large masa chips which were phenomenal! We also got the smoke fries, and delicate squash side dishes (OMG!) GET THAT if it's in season.

Barrio {65 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654}

Located in the same building as Sienna Tavern, Barrio Chicago offers both indoor and outdoor seating with an amazingly cozy, dimly lit, chic vibe. You can always expect great music and fabulous food from “Top Chef” alum, Chef Katsuji Tanab. The menu focuses on shared plates, local + organic ingredients, and gluten friendly/paleo options.

For starters, get the queso fundido (comes with homemade heirloom blue corn tortillas) and if you have gluten eaters they should try the legendary poblano cornbread! I’m not a huge fan of the chips (too hard), so I avoid the guacamole, personally.

My pick: You can’t go wrong with the street tacos. I always get the chicken al pastor and they are perfection. My husband always orders the skirt steak or pork belly.

The only downside is the way your hands look afterwards, hah!

Wildfire {159 W. Erie Chicago, IL} 

Wildfire is a dark and cozy steakhouse — perfect date night spot— with Italian music playing and those cute little mini lamps on the tables. So, in my book, they're already #winning.

This would be a place for both gluten sensitive and Celiacs with a GIGANTIC gluten free menu you can check out here. I have never seen quite a large selection of gluten free items, nor such attentive waiters. As soon as I requested a gluten free menu, he brought me out some special bread. #points

credit: wildfire

credit: wildfire

My pick: I ordered the Moroccan chicken skewers appetizer and the lemon pepper chicken for dinner with grilled balsamic veggies. Both were fabulous! They also wayyyy overdo it on the portion sizes, so I would definitely just stick to dinner next time.

Eataly {43 East Ohio Street | Chicago, Illinois}

YOU'VE GOT TO GO TO EATALY—a 50,000 sq. foot multilevel Italian market with various restaurants, a gelato station, a coffee bar, a wine bar, a pizzeria, and a Nutella bar. You heard me. Their pastas, breads, and mozzarella are made fresh daily, which elevates their food to a whole new level of awesomeness. Click here to view all the different eateries.

My pick: a gluten free crust with basil pesto sauce, fresh mozz, and tomatoes. Stratiatella gelato (try a few for sure).

LOOK at how happy this pizza made me.

LOOK at how happy this pizza made me.

These little specialty italian desserts are nicely labeled and almost always gluten free.

most of the handmade desserts are gluten free!

most of the handmade desserts are gluten free!

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