Welcome to LYFE Kitchen, where the rows of potted herbs, the tall windows, the prominently displayed fresh produce and the natural light give the sense that you never left the outdoors at all. (And, if that’s your preference, there’s convenient and elegant outdoor seating too.)
As soon as I entered, I was greeted by a friendly wait staff that offered me the choice of an “eat everything,” “vegetarian and vegan,” or “gluten-free” menu. Each of these menus features a wide range of options with variations based on specific dietary needs, including breakfast items, starters, soups, salads, flatbreads, sandwiches and burgers, entrées, sides and desserts. The drink menu is similarly extensive, with options including coffee, smoothies, Lyfe waters, wine and beer.
Basically, this restaurant has something for the health conscious, the omnivore, the picky eater, the traditionalist and everyone in between. Vegan eaters can rejoice at the prospect of a restaurant meal comprised of something more filling than a house salad without cheese, and gluten-free eaters can grab a burger — grass-fed beef or meatless — on a gluten-free bun.
The quinoa crunch bowl is a light, yet substantial combination of quinoa tabbouleh, edamame hummus, avocado, arugula, radishes, tomatoes, chipotle vinaigrette and hot sauce. And while you have the option to add Gardein chik’n, marinated tofu, chicken breast or salmon to any salad, the quinoa and hummus stand alone pretty well too.
Unlike most French fries that leave you with greasy fingers and guilt, LYFE Kitchen’s baked sweet potato fries taste crispy and fresh and are served with agave ketchup. They’re a healthy, natural take on a traditional favorite that can (and should) be added to any meal.
But the real standout was the roasted Brussels sprouts and squash side dish, which consisted of crispy, roasted Brussels sprouts and baked butternut squash, drizzled with a light and tangy Dijon vinaigrette and topped with dried cranberries. This dish delivered just the right amount of crunch and flavor.
Whether you’re a vegan, a vegetarian, a grain-free eater or just someone who enjoys fresh, sustainable foods, be sure to check out Evanston’s LYFE Kitchen for some fast food you can actually feel good about.
Location: 1603 Orrington Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Hours of operation: Mon-Fri 7am to 9:30pm, Sat-Sun 8am-9:30pm