• Marcy Farrey

Enjoying Vegetarian Comforts at Heartland Cafe

For these two vegetarians, Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park did not disappoint!

One of the perks of Crosby being a realtor is that he passes through so many neighborhoods on a weekly basis, and therefore gets to explore places we haven't yet discovered. Lately he's been in Rogers Park, and he happened to spot Heartland Cafe. As he usually does, he texts himself a note to look it up later. And when he did, he was pretty excited to discover it is primarily a vegetarian restaurant with a great menu (though it does serve select meat dishes, for those of you who are meat eaters).

Heartland Cafe is also a natural foods grocery market featuring organic produce and products made in the Midwest. If you're just stopping in, you can order a juice or smoothie to go at their juice bar. And making this spot even more unique is the Heartland Bar, which serves as a live music venue. You can check out the schedule on their website.

We headed out there on a Saturday night, when parking was a bit tricky, but it was well worth the walk! In the warmer months, they have a large outdoor seating space with a great ambiance. Wanting to take full advantage of the Chicago summer, we sat outside and each ordered a glass of wine and started with the tofu buffalo bites. Anytime buffalo sauce appears on the menu, we have to order it, and we really enjoyed these! The tofu was cooked just right (not too soft) and the sauce had the perfect kick. (Also pictured in the photo on the right is a side of cornbread, which served as a great compliment to the buffalo bites. We highly recommend it.)

For the main dish, we shared a delicious grilled cheese with tomato and added on a side of vegan mac and cheese, since we wanted to try it all! We've had some disappointing vegan mac and cheese before, but this one was one of the best I've had. We even used some of the remaining cheese sauce as a dip for the buffalo bites.

This is one spot we can't wait to go to back to, especially since they are one of the select restaurants in Chicago now serving the Impossible Burger, which we've sampled at other local restaurants. We'd love to see how theirs compares to the ones we've already tried -- like a regular burger, it can be prepared many ways, some successful and some not as much. I wouldn't be surprised if the one at Heartland Cafe turned out to be our favorite!

Oh, and I can't forget to mention another cool feature of this spot in Rogers Park -- there's a free community library! Anyone coming by can feel free to take a book and leave a book. So if you want to sit outside, sip some wine, read a random book, and eat wholesome food, Heartland Cafe is one of the best places (if not the best place) in the city to do it! Whether you live near or far from Rogers Park, it is worth the trip.

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