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A New Indie Health-Conscious Option Opens on Randolph Row

Check out Dirty Root’s customizable gluten-free menu

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Dirty Root opens today on Restaurant Row.
Sandy Noto

Randolph Street’s new fast-casual health-conscious spot Dirty Root opened this morning, squeaking in just before the end-of-June estimate co-owners and industry newcomers Connor Lacy and Matt Dobleman announced last month. Located at 939 W. Randolph Street, the indie restaurant may face stiff competition from the gaggle of new food halls like Politan Row and Fulton Galley that continue to accumulate in one of the city’s most popular dining areas.

“We see ourselves as offering a different alternative,” Dobleman said. “I love the food halls, they’ve got a lot of gourmet concepts, but if you’re looking for genuine healthy eating, we provide a great option for people.” He added that the Dirty Root team is excited to be part of the community and its ongoing development, evidenced by the area’s popularity. Politan Row does house “healthy, vegetable-foward” spot Smashed Radish.

Culinary director Justin Milius (The Purple Pig, Balena) created the bowl-centric menu to be as transparent as possible about each dish’s ingredients. Diners can choose from three pre-designed bowls such as the “Somewhat Spicy” bowl (ancient grains, za’atar spice carrots, sauteed broccoli and mustard seed, harissa-spiced pork meatballs, piri piri sauce), or concoct their own custom bowl.

Dirty Root’s “Awfully Falafel” bowl
Sandy Noto

The process begins with a base of ancient grains, seasonal greens, or cauliflower rice and mushroom pilaf, followed by a choice of protein (ghee-roasted chicken thighs, wild caught salmon, harissa-spiced pork meatballs, or sweet potato and chickpea falafel cakes). Customers can then select two sides, cold (including summer cabbage slaw and smashed beets with honey gremolata) and hot, such as roasted mushrooms and onions and honey and paprika roasted sweet potatoes. Diners complete each dish with one of Milius’s five sauces: kale and pumpkin seed pesto, ginger turmeric cilantro vinaigrette, piri piri sauce, avocado green goddess dressing, or lemon chickpea and roasted garlic aioli.

Early risers can also try the limited breakfast options, all built on a gluten-free goat’s milk biscuit. These include the “JLT” with pork jowl, heirloom tomato, and seasonal greens, and the “Avocado Biscuit & Trio of Kale Caesar with Nut and Seed ‘Parmesan.’” Customers can also expect hot and cold coffee drinks from Wisconsin-based Kickapoo Coffee, as well as sigmatic mushroom coffees that offer immune-boosting benefits, according to some. The restaurant also offers matcha and golden lattes. The full food and beverage menu is available below.

Dirty Root’s space, designed by Aria Group, is largely a grab-and-go space with exposed brick and decorative plants. At 1,200 square feet, seating is extremely limited at seven window spots and a few tables, with supplemental patio seating when the weather allows. Signage about ingredients and purveyors is courtesy of local business Right Way Signs, and placards display comprehensive lists of ingredients for each bowl component.

Check out the full food and drink menu below.

Dirty Root, 939 W. Randolph Street, open 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

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