This picture makes me smile. The simple decor and openness makes me feel welcome.
Of course, I'm talking about the quiet ambiance at Wheat's End Cafe in Chicago.
The big comfy benches. The clean lines of the wooden tables. The warmth of color.
Walking through the doors instantly puts you at ease and you feel like the daily stresses gets left at the door. Well, at least it alleviates my stresses. Because unlike other restaurants, I know I can safely eat at Wheat's End Cafe without fear of cross-contact and accidental ingestion of gluten. Why? Because the entire restaurant is 100% gluten-free. No wheat, rye or barley ever cross the threshold of this restaurant. Many menu items are dairy free too.
Wheat's End Cafe is owned by Susan McMillan. This location used to be home to a 100% gluten-free restaurant called Senza. It was a high end restaurant, winning Michelin stars and rated one of the Top 100 restaurants in the country. Then they made a bold decision to change formats. Still amazingly delicious meals made in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen but just a bit simpler. From foie gras to homemade yogurt. From oysters on a half shell to half an omelette on a house made English muffin. I asked Meni why they chose to have a dedicated gluten-free restaurant. He simply stated that is was because no one else was doing it.
Boy am I glad they took that risk!
I mean look at this beautiful egg and bacon on English muffin. I was only going to eat one of them, really I was. But it was just. SO. good! I'm not the only one who thinks so. Manager Meni Mizrahi says that over half of his patrons don't even need to eat gluten-free. But for those who MUST dine gluten-free, he says he could write a book full of stories of their expressions of gratitude. Grateful hugs from clients. The joy of a child being able to eat her first donut, EVER. People order from across the country, having packages shipped on ice, just for the familiar taste of their baked goods.
Wheat's End Cafe offers more than just breakfast fare. This beautiful dish above is LAMB meatloaf. Lamb, folks. Amazing. It's just one of the many delicious items on their weekday menu. Their weekend brunch menu include fresh popovers served with sausage gravy, eggs benedict accompanied by prosciutto, in addition to their slow-roasted short rib dish served with organic eggs and potatoes.
Of course, there are still baked goods. Donuts, muffins, scones and vegan cinnamon rolls are just a few of the items you can buy there. You can also purchase packages of their English muffins, bagels, pizza crusts and mini loaves to take home as well. I'm totally wishing I would have bought some of the English muffins for myself. It's hard to believe they're gluten-free!
I love that the restaurant also has a bookshelf full of gluten-free cookbooks and other resources. I think it shows how much they care about their patrons, wanting them to now only eat well when they're out, but learn how to cook well when they're home. This place is a labor of love. Thank you Susan and Meni, thank you for loving your community through delicious food, hugs, and the willingness to cater to those that often get overlooked.
Wheat's End Cafe
2873 N. Broadway
Chicago Illinois 60657
Hours- Tuesday thru Sunday: 10 am - 3 pm
**While I was not paid for my review, my meal was provided to me free of charge. Trust me though, next time I go back I'm going to want to buy one of everything. Thanks to CJ for setting this up!**