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Native Foods Cafe
Native Foods Cafe
Photo: Facebook

Guide: Vegan Sweets of Chicago

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Native Foods Cafe
| Photo: Facebook

What's more nostalgic then a sprinkle-coated doughnut or a good old-fashioned milk shake? Vegans (or lactose intolerant folk) have no fear. Blogger Ashley Gilday ate her way around Chicago in search of some of the tastiest vegan treats Chicago has to offer.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Fritz Pastry

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Doughnuts are taking the spotlight on menus across the nation and Chicago is no exception. Fritz, a cute little café that spins old school records, offers freshly fried vegan doughnuts served with the hole on top, that are large and in charge. Head baker Jaime Podgorny also whips up a jumbo “pop tart” filled with house-made jams.

Native Foods Café

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An in-house baker visits each of the 3 busy Chicago locations twice a week to craft signature vegan desserts that offer diners comfort and satisfaction. Try their spring specials; Oatmeal Cream Pie and Strawberry Shortcake Parfait for a real cruelty free treat.

Mana Food Bar

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Sexy and sleek, Mana Food bar makes killer house-made sorbets that burst with flavor. Varieties include coconut-pineapple, chocolate-coffee and avocado-citrus. Enjoy a dish with all three on their front patio, if the weather ever stays consistent.

Jaafer Sweets

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Few people may be privy to the vegan baklava and other select dairy and honey-free Middle Eastern pastries at Jaafer Sweets in Albany Park. Owner Hannah Moses is very selective of her ingredients, using quality products without preservatives. The traditional Vegan baklava and dark chocolate baklava are not to be missed.

Chicago Diner

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Dairy-free shakes with flavors like Cookie Dough and Lucky Leprechaun Mint are a vegan’s (or lactose intolerant's) dream come true. Their in-house bakery whips up dairy and egg-free cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes and “cheezcakes” for diners to enjoy. Be sure to check out their new Logan Square location, which opened this year.

Borrowed Earth Cafe

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Raw vegan in Downers Grove? Yes, and it is intense. With nothing cooked over 105 degrees, you may wonder how they make a great dessert. But they manage to pull it off with flying colors. The house-made “berry cheesecake” made from various nut milks is creamy and memorable.

Sweet Cakes Bakery

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A cozy little bakery in Ukrainian Village, Sweet Cakes offers roughly 30 percent of their daily fresh baked goods in a vegan format. Try their vegan buttercream icing on their mini-cakes for a special occasion. Guaranteed you will not miss the dairy.

Tom & Wendee's Homemade Italian Ice

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22 years in the making, yet the owner Wendee may still greet you from behind the counter display of their 16 colorful varieties of dairy-free sorbet. All hand-made in the back of their shop, the vanilla and chocolate are so creamy you may ask to see the ingredients.

Swim Café

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Owners Karen and Debra Gerod got it right with the house-made vegan treats on their eclectic café's menu. Stop in for the raspberry oat bar, iced almond loaf, or vanilla cream-filled whoopee pie and stay for the free Wi-Fi and vegan smoothies galore.

Quesadilla La Reyna Del Sur

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This BYO Mexican vegetarian spot on Western Avenue makes a few signature vegan desserts in-house. With a variety of rich cupcakes, including flavors like mojito, coconut, chocolate, banana and a cheese-less cheesecake, you really can’t go wrong.

Hilary's Cookies

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While not a vegan herself, owner and founder Hilary Black makes one mean Vegan cookie. There are at least five different vegan selections and vegan “granola bites" displayed in giant cookie jars in her Lincoln Square bake shop. The Chocolate walnut chunk and chocolate peanut butter are standouts, take a trip up north or stop into your local Whole Foods to try them.

Karyn's On Green

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Each Karyn's location makes scratch desserts. Founder Karyn Calabrese supports a local bee farm in Michigan so not all desserts are up to strict vegan standards. However, if you can get past the bee thing, go to Karyn’s Raw for the tiramisu and the adjoining Fresh Corner for a wide variety of desserts to go, Karyn’s Cooked for the coconut cream pie, and Karyn’s on Green for the blueberry jam bar with vanilla ice cream.

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Fritz Pastry

Doughnuts are taking the spotlight on menus across the nation and Chicago is no exception. Fritz, a cute little café that spins old school records, offers freshly fried vegan doughnuts served with the hole on top, that are large and in charge. Head baker Jaime Podgorny also whips up a jumbo “pop tart” filled with house-made jams.

Native Foods Café

An in-house baker visits each of the 3 busy Chicago locations twice a week to craft signature vegan desserts that offer diners comfort and satisfaction. Try their spring specials; Oatmeal Cream Pie and Strawberry Shortcake Parfait for a real cruelty free treat.

Mana Food Bar

Sexy and sleek, Mana Food bar makes killer house-made sorbets that burst with flavor. Varieties include coconut-pineapple, chocolate-coffee and avocado-citrus. Enjoy a dish with all three on their front patio, if the weather ever stays consistent.

Jaafer Sweets

Few people may be privy to the vegan baklava and other select dairy and honey-free Middle Eastern pastries at Jaafer Sweets in Albany Park. Owner Hannah Moses is very selective of her ingredients, using quality products without preservatives. The traditional Vegan baklava and dark chocolate baklava are not to be missed.

Chicago Diner

Dairy-free shakes with flavors like Cookie Dough and Lucky Leprechaun Mint are a vegan’s (or lactose intolerant's) dream come true. Their in-house bakery whips up dairy and egg-free cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes and “cheezcakes” for diners to enjoy. Be sure to check out their new Logan Square location, which opened this year.

Borrowed Earth Cafe

Raw vegan in Downers Grove? Yes, and it is intense. With nothing cooked over 105 degrees, you may wonder how they make a great dessert. But they manage to pull it off with flying colors. The house-made “berry cheesecake” made from various nut milks is creamy and memorable.

Sweet Cakes Bakery

A cozy little bakery in Ukrainian Village, Sweet Cakes offers roughly 30 percent of their daily fresh baked goods in a vegan format. Try their vegan buttercream icing on their mini-cakes for a special occasion. Guaranteed you will not miss the dairy.

Tom & Wendee's Homemade Italian Ice

22 years in the making, yet the owner Wendee may still greet you from behind the counter display of their 16 colorful varieties of dairy-free sorbet. All hand-made in the back of their shop, the vanilla and chocolate are so creamy you may ask to see the ingredients.

Swim Café

Owners Karen and Debra Gerod got it right with the house-made vegan treats on their eclectic café's menu. Stop in for the raspberry oat bar, iced almond loaf, or vanilla cream-filled whoopee pie and stay for the free Wi-Fi and vegan smoothies galore.

Quesadilla La Reyna Del Sur

This BYO Mexican vegetarian spot on Western Avenue makes a few signature vegan desserts in-house. With a variety of rich cupcakes, including flavors like mojito, coconut, chocolate, banana and a cheese-less cheesecake, you really can’t go wrong.

Hilary's Cookies

While not a vegan herself, owner and founder Hilary Black makes one mean Vegan cookie. There are at least five different vegan selections and vegan “granola bites" displayed in giant cookie jars in her Lincoln Square bake shop. The Chocolate walnut chunk and chocolate peanut butter are standouts, take a trip up north or stop into your local Whole Foods to try them.

Karyn's On Green

Each Karyn's location makes scratch desserts. Founder Karyn Calabrese supports a local bee farm in Michigan so not all desserts are up to strict vegan standards. However, if you can get past the bee thing, go to Karyn’s Raw for the tiramisu and the adjoining Fresh Corner for a wide variety of desserts to go, Karyn’s Cooked for the coconut cream pie, and Karyn’s on Green for the blueberry jam bar with vanilla ice cream.

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