Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter

**** (4 stars)

It’s always a pleasure to eat where the employees are really passionate about what they do, and that epitomizes The Amazing Kale Burger. From the moment I walked in I felt right at home, and my server’s enthusiasm for the food was very clear.

I tried the Vaden, which is served with a beet-based BBQ sauce. The kale burger patty is quite delicious, with all the ingredient in balance, and a nice crust from cooking. The accompanying lettuce and tomato were quite fresh, and the BBQ sauce was delicious. The bun was a bit small, sturdy and dry for my taste, but I can see where others might like it.

For a side dish I had pickled asparagus, which was tossed with yellow peppers and extremely fresh oregano bits. It was delicious.

House made mint tea was pleasantly unsweetened.

The kale burger was one of the better vegetarian patties I’ve had, and I’d often choose it over a meat patty if it were available elsewhere. Coincidentally, I ate here on national burger day!

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter
741 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 660-4330
http://www.yelp.com/biz/amazing-kale-burger-lunch-counter-evanston

Peckish Pig

*** (3 stars)

This gastropub has a bright, airy indoor area and a lovely patio out back. There is an interesting variety of beers, and an assortment of sandwiches and other pub food.

The chicken panini we tried was nicely pressed, but the brie cheese was mostly rind, which gave it a bit of a musty flavor. The accompanying fries were a bit limp, but tasty. The quinoa salad was fresh, although not particularly flavorful.

We received great service from Caitlyn.

While I don’t know that I would plan on dining here again, it would be a fun place to go for a beer after work.

Peckish Pig
623 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 491-6778
http://www.yelp.com/biz/peckish-pig-evanston

Dollop Coffee & Hoosier Mama Pie Company

*** (3 stars)

Uniting two local chains, this is a place to get coffee and pie. Ironically, the best offerings aren’t either of those, they’re the sandwiches.

The large open space is bright and friendly, a good place to relax or get some work done, and there is a fair sized patio out front. Service is friendly, although it’s odd how long it takes to do something as simple as serve a slice of pie, even when you’re the only customer.

The pies are good, but they won’t change your life, and the coffee is just adequate.

But the sandwiches are delicious. I had the Ploughman, a generous serving of ham and cheddar cheese with apple slices, chutney, mustard, mayo and lettuce on a fresh baguette. The combination worked great together. If I return it will be to try the other sandwiches, especially the BLT.

Dollop Coffee & Hoosier Mama Pie Company
749 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 868-8863
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dollop-coffee-and-hoosier-mama-pie-company-evanston

Buffalo Joe’s

**** (4 stars)

This is a good wings place, but they actually have a lot more, including hamburgers, hot dogs and even vegetarian sandwiches. Everything is cooked to order, so it’s hot and fresh, and there is a nice enough dining area both in front and in back. Service is fast and efficient. Cash only.

Buffalo Joe’s
812 Clark St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 328-5525
http://www.yelp.com/biz/buffalo-joes-evanston

DMK Burger & Fish

**** (4 stars)

It’s nice to find a burger place with table service. This small restaurant offers counter service to go, but if you want to eat in, just have  seat.

The veggie burger I had was delicious, with a nice crust, and moist, tasty filling, and good toppings. The bun tended to self-destruct, even though it had been nicely grilled, but fortunately I had a knife and fork!

The fries were tasty but a bit soggy, although that was mostly masked by the excellent blue cheese and bacon topping.

Service, by Tess, was great, friendly and informative. Nice place.

DMK Burger & Fish
815 Noyes St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 424-8226
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dmk-burger-and-fish-evanston

Naf Naf Grill

*** (3 stars)

This is basically a middle eastern Chipotle. You choose a salad bowl or rice bowl or pita, a main ingredient such as falafel or shawarma, and then pick the accompaniments. There’s not much point in choosing the pita, because the bowl comes with a pita anyway.

The falafel was nice and crunchy. I had it on a salad, which would have been rather dry and bland had I not added hummus, which is $1.50 extra.

Combo meals come with a drink and a side. I chose the fries, which were actually house made potato chips. They would have been good had they been fresh and crisp, but mine were soggy.

For about the same amount of money I could have gone around the corner to Olive Mountain and had table service.

Naf Naf Grill
1629 Orrington Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 866-8470
http://www.yelp.com/biz/naf-naf-grill-evanston-2

Dozika Restaurant

*** (3 stars)

While the logo may suggest this is a noodle shop, I would describe it more as a sushi restaurant that also serves pan-Asian food.

There are a number of interesting bento boxes available for lunch, and I like the fact that you can essentially pick your own sushi, sashimi and roll as part of one of them. The sushi was perfectly acceptable, better than a market but not gourmet. Certainly for the price it was good. The miso soup was excellent.

Service is friendly and the atmosphere is casual but nice enough.

Dozika Restaurant
601 Dempster St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 869-9740
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dozika-restaurant-evanston

Foodstuffs

**** (4 stars)

I’m not sure whether to call this a grocery story, a gourmet shop or a bakery, because it’s all three and more. The meats are particularly good here, with good steaks; fish is pretty good, too. Oh, and the hot dogs from the deli case are the best I’ve had anywhere, perfect for a 4th of July BBQ. I also always get some bread. They have a great variety, and the employees are a hundred times nicer than they are at the bakery down the street.

Foodstuffs
2106 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 328-7704
http://www.yelp.com/biz/foodstuffs-evanston

Linz and Vail on Central

**** (4 stars)

This place has the atmosphere I’m looking for in a coffee house, and also makes some excellent coffee. The Macchiato is perfect, not a trace of bitterness. Also some great gelato. Ignore that Starbucks down the street; this is the real deal.

Linz and Vail on Central
2012 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 475-1381
http://www.yelp.com/biz/linz-and-vail-on-central-evanston

Chicken Shack

**** (4 stars)

This place makes excellent fried chicken, hot and cooked to order.  

I tried some of the sauces on wings, and when this place says something is spicy you need to believe them! Both the spicy BBQ and the Jamaican Jerk we hot enough to make me perspire. There’s a kick to the gravy on the mashed potatoes, as well. In fact, of everything I tried I think the mashed potatoes were my favorites.

Service was friendly. Because everything is cooked to order, it takes about 15 minutes, so if you’re in a hurry it’s best to call ahead.

Chicken Shack
1925 Ridge Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 328-9360
http://www.yelp.com/biz/chicken-shack-evanston