“meat free since '83”
When Hornick and his partner, “Chef Jo” Kaucher, opened the restaurant in 1983, critics, loan officers and family members alike scoffed at the idea, some vehemently. “It’s like we were going against apple pie and mom and the whole thing,” Hornick recalled. “Big shot advertising guys came in and said you’re pissing against the wind.” Their answer was to create an atmosphere as American as mini malls, decorating the place with vintage ads and neon lights and serving up heaping helpings of comfort food, but without the meat. “Instead of burgers, we have veggie burgers,” explains Kauchner, who, together with a long line of collaborators in the kitchen, created the Diner’s menu and authored The Chicago Diner Cookbook. “Instead of french fries we serve home fries,” she adds. They also offer vegan milkshakes, a Philly Cheese “Steak,” with homemade seitan in place of beef, biscuits & vegetarian gravy and not dogs for the kids…. The restaurant fit’s the vegetarian mold about as little as it’s owners do. Hornick was lured into the vegetarian lifestyle — and into Kaucher’s life — while working at the Chicago Board of Options as a commodities trader. Although fairly successful, he says he felt unsatisfied. He began eating natural foods for health reasons, and soon became a regular at the Breadshop Kitchen, a local hippie haunt where Kaucher was slaving away baking bread.
Featured on Unique Sweets!
Easily the best vegan restaurant in Chicago! Even if you're not vegetarian, you will love this place! Where else can you get vegan chicken and waffles!?
The #1 destination for Vegans and Vegetarians while in Chicago. Every meal is tried and true.
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The Chicago Diner
- Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
- Fri: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
- Sat: 10:00 am - 11:00 pm
- Sun: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
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