A new vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Hyde Park is open and serving mock meat in the form of hot dogs, burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, and more. Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat opened Sunday and the Monday lunch rush lead to lines down the block, according to the Chicago Maroon. Owner Laricia Chandler, who is the sister of Rico Nance (LiteHouse Whole Food Grill, Mikkey’s Retro Grill, Soul Shack), also owns Hyde Park’s Epitome Boutique.
Menu items are designed to appeal to both meat and plant eaters, including a Philly cheesesteak with onions, peppers, mushrooms, jalapeños, and “beef-less” protein, a “Who Betta” double burger with cheese (both vegan and dairy cheese are available), and vegan smoothies and shakes with flavors like “the Cookie Monster,” made with Oreos. The small space has a few counter seats, but no tables. Prices range from $7-$16, the Maroon reported, and most customers are taking their food to go.
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Chandler is a vegetarian, and told Block Club that she hopes familiar dishes and comfort food will help acclimate meat-eating customers to healthier alternatives. She said that Nance considered turning the space into a pizza restaurant, but ultimately they decided a vegetarian option was the right choice.
Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, 1368 1/2 E. 53rd Street, (773) 435-6428, hours not posted yet.
Correction: December 20, 2019, 12:45 p.m. This article was changed to show that Laricia Chandler is the restaurant’s owner.