Hours: Brunch, lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11
Logan Square location of the vegetarian institution.
Like it or not, the three-decade-old refuge for vegetarians has gone and fancified itself, not only with an updated menu that includes a "Next Generation" Dagwood—a subpar panini-style take on the diner-of-yore’s best sandwich—and a decadent Portabella Truffle Melt (really, truffle aioli?) but also with a brand-new second location in the old digs of the doomed Logan Square Kitchen. And unlike the hole-in-the-wall elbow-to-elbow Boystown spot, this version's in line with the modern gastropub more so than a diner, right down to a posted list of reclaimed wood and salvaged iron used in the building’s construction. But it’s the Chicago Diner’s name alone that's going to keep attracting vegetarians (especially out-of-towners) and "adventurous" meat eaters to its heavy faux-meat fare. During each of my visits the space was bustling and the bar—easily the best augmentation of the original—was stacked two people deep. Irreplaceable staples aside (buffalo "wings" and the chocolate chip cookie dough peanut butter vegan milk shake forever), the best dish I tasted was country-fried "staek," a slab of battered-to-a-crisp seitan slathered in gravy and propped atop a mound of mashed potatoes. The new Diner also adds a solid menu of Upton's Natural sausage, "bacun," and egglike tofu to the ever-growing Logan Square conglomerate of brunch spots, here served daily till 3 PM.
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