A new raw, vegan grab and go that’s environmentally friendly aims to be the first of its kind in Chicago. Uncooked aims to open in May at 210 N. Carpenter Street, inside a new West Loop 12-story office building which counts Google as a tenant. The family-owned restaurant offers meat- and dairy-free raw items like cacio e pepe made with kelp noodles.
“We want to unlock full potential of a plant-based lifestyle, taking delicious food a step further and fully unlocking the capability of a conscious business and marry that with a conscious restaurant,” said co-founder Jeremy Jones.
The 1,131 square-foot space has no seats. There will be lots of plants and natural light. Customers will be able to order online, by phone, and with an app for quick pick-up. Uncooked will serve dishes packaged for customers in compostable Eco-Products. Jones added that Uncooked is designed to make healthy dining decisions more convenient and sustainable. Jones, wife Kaitlyn, and his mother — Chicago Raw co-founder Carole Jones, run the operation.
Items include watermelon radish ravioli filled with almond cashew cheese. The Joneses hope to surprise customers with options like the aforementioned raw cacio e pepe made with kelp noodles, nutrient-rich semi-transparent noodles that are both cholesterol and gluten free. Uncooked will also feature sugar-free, raw desserts with cashews as the only carbohydrates. All items are free of soy, processed sugar, dairy, peanuts, and gluten. Tree nuts make cameos in some items.
Despite the dietary restrictions, the Joneses know that flavor is at the heart of any successful food business. “The most important thing, I hope, for any restaurateur as they get into the business is that they make delicious food — that’s the key that opens the door,” said Jeremy Jones.
Uncooked’s commitment to the environment, and the zero-waste movement makes it different from other vegan options such as those from game-changing restaurateur Karyn Calabrese, who ran a handful of influential vegan restaurants in various neighborhoods until 2017. Jeremy and Kaitlyn Jones both have backgrounds in package manufacturing and are using that knowledge to strategize ways to minimize trash and cross-utilize tools and ingredients. By considering the full life cycle of a product, they hope to help patrons understand Uncooked’s zero-waste goal and give them the tools to ease the path toward more eco-friendly practices.
“We will do all the leg work on research...all they have to do is bring their packaging back and we’ll compost for them,” Jeremy Jones said, adding that he’ll provide online resources for composting at home and in offices. “The goal is to be the first fully-sustainable grab-and-go zero-waste facility in the Midwest.”
The company also hopes to build out “Uncooked hubs” for office buildings seeking health-focused and environmentally friendly catering and meal options for employees. If the public responds well to the first grab-and-go location the co-founders will consider expansion. They see the business as a chance to opt for both the “selfish choice” of eating something delicious and the “selfless choice” of healthy food that’s better for the planet. “Every single day in our system in America, when we spend our dollar we are voting and we want to make sure people are voting for the right thing when they come to us and give us their money,” Jeremy Jones said.
Uncooked is scheduled to open in May in West Loop.
Uncooked, 210 N. Carpenter Street, Scheduled to open in May.