Karyn’s Cooked

After the madness of MoFo, we made a small getaway to Chicago for the weekend.  Erik went to college outside of Chicago and it was reunion weekend on campus.  When the festivities were over on Saturday, we took advantage of being so close to the big city and drove in for a fun evening together.  We didn’t have much time, but there were two things I wanted to be sure to do:

  1. try a new (to us) restaurant
  2. visit Millennium Park

We started at Karyn’s Cooked.  We visited Karyn’s on Green two years ago, and for a fine dining experience, it can’t be beat.  Karyn’s Cooked takes a more casual approach, and we were sure we’d love it, too.

The cozy restaurant has a modern and laid-back feel, painted with warm colors and bamboo lining the walls.  They have two bar tables, each seating two, in the front corners.  Erik and I sat at one so we could look out at the city while we ate.  We enjoyed the view and the unexpected seclusion it provided — it felt like we had our own little VIP room.

Karyn's Cooked | © the vegan crew | www.thevegancrew.com

Karyn’s Cooked focuses on “conscious comfort food,” which is right up our alley.  I’m not kidding when I say that I literally wanted one of everything on the menu (maybe not the Rueben, but everything else).  Stuffed eggplant.  Flautas.  Grilled polenta.  A “Southern comfort” plate (beans, greens, rice and cornbread).  Pure. Heaven.

We decided to take the comfort food thing to heart and started with nachos and then shared a slab of “ribs” and meatloaf.

The nachos, topped with a thin layer of Daiya, bean chili, jalapeños, tomatoes and a generous helping of guacamole were insanely good.

Karyn's Cooked Nachos | © the vegan crew | www.thevegancrew.com

Karyn’s ribs are made with a tofu and seitan blend.  The inch-thick ribs, topped with a great spicy barbeque sauce, are deliciously dense.  A vinegar-based slaw, grilled corn and garlic bread rounded out the meal.

Karyn's Cooked Ribs | © the vegan crew | www.thevegancrew.com

The meatloaf was also made with tofu and seitan.  It was tender in the center and a little more firm around the edges (my favorite part), and was served with steamed broccoli, homey mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.  I *may* have had meatloaf once in my life, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but Erik said it was spot on.  It was very good, and even better the next night.

Karyn's Cooked Meatloaf | © the vegan crew | www.thevegancrew.com

Incredible food with large portions (we each got two meals out of it), friendly service and a nice atmosphere.  Karyn’s is two for two in our book.  Next time we will have to check out Karyn’s Raw to get the full experience of the Karyn’s restaurant enterprise.

With dinner crossed off the list, we moved on to #2…

Six years ago, we spent an entire day walking the streets of Chicago, doing all the good, touristy stuff — Navy Pier Ferris wheel, museums, parks, pizza, an architectural tour — and late that night we ended up back at Millennium Park.  We settled onto the Great Lawn and listened to the band playing for a private party taking place on the stage.  It was there that Erik popped the question.

The sentimental girly-girl inside of me wanted to experience it all over again.  We’ve been back to Millennium Park once since then, but this was the first time seeing it again after dark with the shell lit up against the night skyline.  There was no music this time, but we did have the place to ourselves for a while.

Isn’t it a fantastic view?  This city will always be a special place for us.

Chicago Skyline from the Great Lawn at Millennium Park | © the vegan crew | www.thevegancrew.com

Have you tried any of the Karyn’s lineup?  Where are your favorite places to eat in Chicago? 


  1. Molly says

    No wonder Chicago is so special for you guys! With a view like that how could you say no? (; It’s beautiful! I ate at Chicago Diner once and it was fantastic. I’d love to try Karyn’s Cooked whenever I’m there again. Everything looks so good!!


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