Chicago/Antioch coffee and vegetarian recommendations
December 17, 2014 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Where can we get excellent local coffee and snacks and a great vegetarian meal while in Chicago/Antioch next week?

We will be staying with family in Antioch. We are going to be in downtown Chicago for a couple of day trips visiting the Art Institute, Genesis Art Supplies, and the Museum of Science and Industry. We have access to a car in Antioch, but will be taking the train to downtown Chicago. This is what I need from you fabulous people:

1.We would like recommendations on great vegetarian eats (lunch or dinner) reasonably close to the places mentioned above.
2. A recommendation for the best yarn shop downtown.
3. Cafe's that have excellent coffee and snacks that are local (not part of a chain like Starbucks.)
4. BONUS if you can point us to delicious non-chain/local coffee in Antioch.
5. Anything else in the area that we shouldn't miss.
posted by sadtomato to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Plein Air Cafe in Hyde Park is only a few blocks from the Museum of Science and Industry, and serves some great vegetarian salads and some killer coffee. They also have pies from Pleasant House Pies which is great on a cold day. You could also stop in and check out the Oriental Institute which is an oft-overlooked museum on the South Side.
posted by ghostpony at 11:57 PM on December 17, 2014

My go-to spots near the Art Institute were Cafecito on Congress (for a casual quick sandwich) and the Gage (for a fancier sit-down meal). Neither are vegetarian-focused, but both have tasty veggie options. Also near there is Intelligentsia Coffee on Jackson, which is one of the coffee shops that defined "third wave coffee" and is well worth a visit.
posted by kickingtheground at 1:23 AM on December 18, 2014

I should also add that you'd probably like Z&H in Hyde Park (near the MSI) for both coffee and lunch, and that the Purple Pig (near the Art Institute) is actually excellent and has a surprisingly deft hand with vegetable dishes, considering its name and seemingly very touristy location.
posted by kickingtheground at 1:29 AM on December 18, 2014

One of my favorite Japanese food bloggers was recently visiting Chicago and has a series of posts documenting all the good coffee and doughnuts and some food. She blogs in English!
posted by chocotaco at 4:12 AM on December 18, 2014

In Antioch, I've read good things about Cafe Book but haven't tried it myself.

In Chicago, if it's not too cold, definitely take in Millennium Park. It's right by the Art Institute.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:43 AM on December 18, 2014

One of the very best restaurants near Antioch is Ad-lib Geocafe. Their menus change frequently, but they clearly state that they are vegetarian-friendly. I'm not aware of any purely vegetarian restaurants in the area. Other excellent restaurants in the vicinity, like David's Bistro (in downtown Antioch) and Twin Oaks (in Wilmot WI) will have a few vegetarian dishes on their menu.
posted by DrGail at 4:51 AM on December 18, 2014

For yarn shops, you probably want Loopy, which is near the Art Institute. Chicago is pretty spoiled for yarn stores, but that's generally the most convenient one for visitors.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:11 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Loopy Yarns. It's one of my favorite yarn stores anywhere, and happens to be super convenient to downtown.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:38 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Loopy is the ONLY yarn store in downtown Chicago. We have a ton of other yarn shops, but if you're only going to be downtown, Loopy it is.
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:39 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, if you like ice skating, the city just opened a new skating ribbon at Maggie Daley park, and it looks AMAZING.
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:43 AM on December 18, 2014

Response by poster: Are there any other wool shops that would be reasonable to get to? Loopy looks great, but everything the carry (if their website is correct) I can also get at home. I'm looking for something different from what I can buy here.
posted by sadtomato at 8:00 AM on December 18, 2014

If you're going to be in Hyde Park, the Medici (on 57th) is an institution. Good coffee in all forms, and although not exclusively vegetarian they do have a good menu.
posted by tully_monster at 8:33 AM on December 18, 2014

You would be remiss to not drop in at the Chicago Diner. "Meat free since '83." There are two locations, but the one on Halsted is in a very friendly and chatty gayborhood.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2014

Second the Chicago Diner. Their Reuben is the thing dreams are made of. There are also a number of Native Foods locations in Chicago. They are quick and tasty.
posted by kendrak at 10:46 AM on December 18, 2014

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