Category Archives: Chicago Restaurant Reviews

Salata Has Arrived In Chicago!

Salata Salad Bar WheelingIf you aren’t familiar with Salata, you are like many other Chicagoans. Salata, the “Next Generation Salad Bar” is known for it’s fresh, made-to-order salads and salad wraps and has been located only in Texas and Southern California – until now! Salata has opened it’s first location in Wheeling Il at 1083 E. Lake Cook Road in Lexington Commons Plaza.

The Salata philosophy is a bit different from other restaurants that you might be tempted to compare it to.

Unlike other salad bar restaurants, Salata’s salads and wraps are made and tossed for them customer, not by the customer from nearly 50 different ingredients including an array of lettuces, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, seeds and nuts.

Rather than pricing by weight, Salata offers unlimited toppings for one set price, and customers can add a chicken selection (including pesto, chipotle or herb-marinated) for $2 more or a seafood selection (including shrimp and salmon) for $3 more. Salata also offers freshly prepared soups, breads and desserts.

Committed to the highest possible quality and cleanest ingredients, all Salata’s dressings are made in-house with no added preservatives and are available for take-home purchase in 12-ounce bottles.

In addition, all Salata restaurants are certified gluten-free and the staff is well trained to handle food allergies or dietary restrictions. For someone who has dietary restrictions, as well as being a mom of children with some restrictions, that piece in particular is extremely appealing to both me, and likely many of you.

Salata Salad Bar Wheeling IllinoisI was invited to visit the Wheeling Salata restaurant during the first few days that it opened, and I went in much like you would expect. I was asking myself what was different about this particular salad bar. I soon learned what the differences were. First and foremost, everything tastes and feels fresh. The chicken has a fresh texture, different from those salad bars at which the chicken was cooked and shipped to their location. The vegetables and fruits appear fresh – as well as hand chopped – and I learned that day that they were. Everything that you see on the Salata bar has been cooked, prepared and cut at your Salata restaurant. The fruit is ripe, flavorful and beautiful in your salad. The salad dressing that I chose, the Fresh Herb Vinaigrette, stood out with a brightness and freshness that made me think that they had prepared this liquid magic by hand ten minutes before serving it to me.

Salata Wheeling IllinoisThe Salata location in Wheeling is run and owned by Dan Campbell, his lovely wife and his no-longer-retired father. In being able to speak with each of them, I felt the passion for this business. These three people sought out Salata after falling in love during a visit to Texas and ultimately convinced them that they should also be in the Chicagoland area. It is to our benefit that they did that and I truly hope that you get to meet one of these three people during your visit to Salata. Their excitement and commitment to the freshness, consistency and customer-service is infectious.

Salata WheelingI think it’s safe to say that I’ll be finding my way back to Salata in Wheeling very soon. I can only hope that they expand into different regions of the Chicagoland area so that we all get that opportunity! Until then though, it is worth the drive!

Salata is located at 1083 E. Lake Cook Road in the Lexington Commons Plaza in Wheeling, Il. Read more about the menu and hours on the Salata website.

Frankenfood Free Food Truck Tastings In Chicago!

Frankenfood Food Truck ChicagoFree food, fun television and food trucks? Those are three “F’s” that I can get behind! A brand new Spike TV show called “Frankenfood” is hosting free food truck tastings in Chicago all of this week! The show itself combines unlikely foods to create awesome new ideas. Sometimes they work, sometimes not so much. Either way, this should be fun to check out! And best of all, they are coming to Chicago – a city that knows good food from bad! – to give us a taste.

Here are your food truck locations between 6/18-6/20:

  • Wednesday 10:30a – 2p:CTA – Stop Randolf/Wabash: 151 N. Wabash Ave
  • Thursday: 2:30p -6p Madison Street: 70 West Madison St
  • Friday: 6:30a – 10:30a Ogilvie Train Station: 500 W Madison St

Expect to see fun foods like Spam Sushi, Braised Pork Belly S’mores, Fried Slim-Jim Mac-N-Cheese Balls, Spaghetti Filled Burgers and more!
This event is completely free, so go check it out! To find out more about the Frankenfood show coming up on Spike TV, check out their Youtube video and let the salivating begin!

Chicago’s Pizza Coupons – Free Small Thin Crust Pizza!

Chicago's Pizza CouponsChicago’s Pizza Coupons

Chicago people are particular about Chicago pizza and with good reason. In my opinion, we have the best pizza in the country and we have a lot of it! Everyone tries to be the best by tinkering with the crust or the sauce, but there are only some who succeed. One of these local haunts is Chicago’s Pizza.

Chicago’s Pizza Coupons: Chicago’s Pizza is a small restaurant chain consisting of three locations in Lakeview/Lincoln Park, Ravenswood and Old Irving Park. They offer dine-in, delivery and take-out and I’ve always found their food to be consistent as well as a really good meal. As a bonus, they also offer coupons!

Currently the Chicago’s Pizza coupons include free Coca-Cola products for making a purchase (the free item gets larger as the total of your order rises – i.e. 1-liter, 2-liter or 6-pack), free wings with purchase and more. Those are currently valid at all locations, but there are others that seem to be good at each specific Chicago’s Pizza location. The Old Irving Park restaurant is currently offering a free small thin crust pizza when you sign up for their points program! The points program is a loyalty program that will earn you additional points for placing orders online or referring friends. Eventually your points will earn you free food!

If you haven’t tried Chicago’s Pizza yet, I highly recommend it. I’m a huge proponent of stuffed pizza, but I can vouch for their thin crust as well, so you won’t be sorry! Whatever you do, be sure to also take advantage of the Chicago’s Pizza coupons when you order!

Looking for more? Read about more Chicago Deals, Chicago Restaurants and what’s Free In Chicago!

New Leona’s Restaurant Menu Experience!

Leona's Restaurant MenuIf you are a Chicago native, you’ve heard of and probably been to Leona’s Restaurant. Leona’s has been a staple in Chicago since 1950, but you might agree with me that it’s had it’s ups and it’s downs. I used to go to Leona’s as a child with my family because we loved the garlic salad dressing, but over the years my attendance there has dwindled. They always had good food, but living in Chicago, you have a lot of choices and sometimes “good” isn’t good enough. Now however – and under new ownership – there is a new Leona’s Restaurant Menu available!

I was recently invited to check out the new Leona’s Restaurant Menu and I have to tell you, I was impressed! Let me give you a rundown of some of the best dishes I found:

The “15 Minute Jumbo Wings” are amazing. I am a huge wings girl and I’m very finicky about both sauce and the crispiness on the skin of the wing. These really were amazing. Very meaty, intense buffalo sauce (perfect for the wing lover, but possibly too spicy for the “mild” audience!) and the perfect skin crispiness. You’ll also notice that these are jumbo wings, so they come with three entire sections instead of just the drumstick you’re used to from other restaurants.

Leona's Restaurant MenuThe “Kick Ass Garlic Bread” (yes, that is it’s proper name) has always been on the menu, but I think it’s better now than it ever was. This is a homemade ciabatta bread that is coated in garlic butter and Romano cheese and baked. One order of this will not be enough! You will have to like garlic to be a fan, but truly, you won’t be sorry!

I also hugely enjoyed the Calamari Fritti (served with parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.) Leona’s made a point of letting me know that they serve only the rings (as opposed to the tentacles and rings) because they are meatier and typically a better quality. I like Calamari and these proved to be well cooked, not fishy tasting in the least and appealed to even the non-fish lovers of the group! If you don’t typically order Calamari, give these a try.

My next favorite item on the Leona’s Restaurant Menu was the Italian Beef. I know what you’re thinking, “Do I really want to order an Italian Beef sandwich at a pizza place?” The answer: Yes, you do. The Italian Beef sandwich is served on the “Kick Ass Garlic Bread,” so you’re not only getting an Italian Beef sandwich, you’re getting amazingly buttery, garlicy, Italian Beefy goodness. There’s just no other way to say it. (And for the record, the Chicken Parmesan is ALSO served on the “Kick Ass Garlic Bread,” so take your pick!!)

There are a lot of enjoyable entrees on the menu (including the Shrimp & Basil Ravioli – Yum!), but I have to get to the dessert. I am not a coffee drinker and I’ve never enjoyed Tiramisu, so I almost never order it. I put a bit of my fork into the Leona’s Tiramisu and went back for more. I kid you not, it was fantastic. This is on the sweeter side and has a bit of a cakey taste vs. the typical coffee bitterness that I tend to experience. Whichever camp you find yourself in, I think you’ll appreciate it. This is one of their signature dishes!

Leona’s is available for dining in, take-out and delivery. They currently offer 15% off any online order through their website and there is a dine-in coupon for 50% off any pizza after 5PM. Use these coupons and experience the Leona’s Restaurant Menu all over again!