Mother Nature has been playing a little game with Chicagoans’ hearts as of late, but at this point I think it is safe to say that we have entered that magical time known as Chicago Summer. All I have to say is – FINALLY! There’s a reason Kanye West raps about summertime Chi in ‘Good Life’ – it’s a wonderful, albeit short-lived, time when the city is at its very best. It’s also just about the only thing that makes up for the cold, dark, seemingly never-ending months that make up a Chicago winter.
One of the first signs of summer in Chicago is the opening of all the fantastic patios around the city. It’s why summer in Chicago is also referred to as “patio season”. Bars, restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and the like open up their rooftops and line their sidewalks with all the tables and chairs they can possibly fit to accommodate the pale, Vitamin D-deprived souls who have braved yet another Chicago winter (or the smart visitors who just show up when the going gets good). I’m always up for checking out a new patio, so when LYFE Kitchen invited me over for lunch at their newest location in Streeterville, I couldn’t pass it up.
LYFE Kitchen is an up-casual (upscale casual) restaurant with current locations in Illinois, California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, and New York. They currently have 3 locations in the Chicago area (Streeterville, River North, and Evanston) and several more soon to come. Not only does LYFE (Love Your Food Everyday) Kitchen offer a TON of great tasting menu items – they have several menus catering to those with different diets like vegan or gluten-free. And the vegan and gluten-free menus are just as big as the regular menu! So basically you can eat really delicious, affordable food in a bright, beautiful setting and feel good about it.
To start out you have to try at least one of the amazing LYFE Waters or Smoothies. I tried the Hibiscus Beet, and Ginger Mint Chia LYFE Waters and the Kale Banana Smoothie. I loved the Hibiscus – super refreshing with a subtle hint of beet (I LOVE beets!), and the kale smoothie was the perfect not-too-sweet options, but my favorite was the Ginger Mint Chia. The mint and ginger were super bright and refreshing and I loved the texture of the chia seeds.
LYFE Kitchen also has an impressive line-up of alcoholic beverages – the perfect excuse to kick back and relax on their patio. Wine, beer, or cocktails – they’ve got a little of everything. I think their Pomegranate Sangria would be especially refreshing on a warm summer night…
Next up you can start with the Edamame Hummus Plate to share and I highly suggest following it up with one of their delicious flatbreads. I tried the gluten-free BBQ Chicken and Margherita flatbreads and I would definitely order both again. Their Mahi Fish Tacos, Quinoa Crunch Bowl with Grilled Salmon, and Art’s Unfried Chicken with roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, dried cranberries, cashew cream sauce, and dijon vinaigrette are 3 great options for mains.
Last but not least is dessert, and LYFE Kitchen’s Chocolate Budino is AMAZING! This is not something I would usually order, I’m not usually a pudding/custard type of girl, but thank GOODNESS I tried this. Chocolate, pomegranate, chia seeds, and toasted almonds combine for a little slice of heaven. The chocolate is rich and the sweetness of the pomegranate balances it out perfectly. I would come back just for the Chocolate Budino.
Long story short – if you’re looking for a delicious meal that you won’t feel bad about eating, get yourself over to LYFE Kitchen. Friends with food allergies or special diets? LYFE has you all covered. Looking for a cool patio where you can throw back a cold one or two? LYFE baby!