What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word "vegan?" For a majority of society, the word, "vegan" is a term that is used to describe people who only eat salad and drink fresh pressed juice while attending their daily spin class at SoulCycle in their Lululemon yoga pants.

While this may be true for some, vegans are actually just like all you bacon lovers. They still crave milkshakes and fries and pizza and burgers and cupcakes — you get the point. Well up in Chicago, we strive to invite everyone to the table, despite dietary restrictions... especially vegans.

The Chicago Diner

With two locations, in the hearts of Boystown and Logan Square, this diner has been COMPLETELY "meat free since 1983." Serving all three meals of the day, you can find anything from pancakes to burgers to satisfy your craving. Some of the more popular items on the menu include the milkshakes, the Rueben sandwich, and the chicken wings.

The milkshakes come in a variety of outgoing flavors including: chai, carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter, peanut butter cookie dough, and chocolate chip cookie dough. If these don't sound as delectable as they do to me, not to worry! They serve the classics such as chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. These are definitely a must order when visiting. I can ensure that they will NOT disappoint.

As for the best-selling chicken wings and Rueben sandwich, both non-vegans AND vegans are guaranteed to enjoy these classic comfort foods. The chicken wings are created from seitan and served with spicy buffalo sauce, matching the exact taste and texture of actual chicken wings. The best part is, you don't have to worry about the bones.

Similar to the wings, the Rueben is created from corned beef seitan, again matching the taste of real meat. The flavors match perfectly with the sauerkraut and thousand island dressing on rye bread. One should travel to Chicago just to take a bite out of this massive sandwich.

Green Zebra

Looking for a new contemporary vegetarian experience in the heart of Chicago? Then Green Zebra should be added to your bucket list. Contrary to popular belief, you will not find any zebra meat here – they are 100% vegetarian and most of their dishes are vegan as well.

Green Zebra aims to give people not only a great culinary experience, but also a "journey of senses" through their use of local produce and integrative menu. From homemade gnocchi to persimmon carpaccio, one will surely be able to indulge in the rich, yet fresh small plates at Green Zebra.

Native Foods Cafe

With four locations around Chicago, Native Foods Cafe has definitely made its mark. This cafe is particularly known for its creative spin on vegan dishes. They're famous for having a large array of flavorful burgers, such as the ranch burger and the "scorpion" burger, all which are made of 100% tempeh or chicken seitan.

If burgers and sandwiches are not your thing, one may opt for the Earth Bowls. These bowls are composed of rice, steamed veggies, and mock meat; each bowl using different spices to replicate a certain ethnic flavor such as Moroccan, Thai, or Indian.

Craving something on the sweeter side? Native Foods Cafe is best known for their bakery goods. From zucchini date cake to a carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese, or even brownies and Rice Krispy treats, one cannot leave this cafe empty handed.

These are just a few of the many vegan options in Chicago! Vegans and non-vegans alike will find something special and comforting in each setting and menu. Most restaurants and cafes are compatible to any dietary palate, but this list is guaranteed to provide 100% vegan goodness. For the non-vegans, put down the BBQ chicken wing and experiment with your taste buds! Trust me — it's not all salad.