Loyola Phoenix

Chickpea in the City: Kingsbury Street Café

When deciding on a restaurant to take my family to for my birthday, I wanted to go somewhere that offered funky vegetarian options with hip and modern decor. At the same time, I didn’t want a restaurant that would be too quirky for my parents to handle.

We came across Kingsbury Street Café (1523 N. Kingsbury St.), located only a couple of blocks from the North and Clybourn Red Line stop. I had seen the restaurant before, but because its location is tucked away from both of Loyola’s campuses, I had never taken the time to try it out.

Photos by Addie Martanovic // The PHOENIX

A pastry counter and coffee bar greet guests as they enter the restaurant. Each pastry is $2.75, including the orange, cranberry and lemon chia muffins, which look delicious. The baguettes and pastries are made on-site by local wholesale bakery Work of Art, and can accompany any meal or stand alone as an afternoon snack.

As soon as my parents and I walked in, we were seated right by the window in the brightest part of the restaurant. The natural light flooding in through the front window set the ambiance perfectly. Each wooden table was topped with a small plant, and modern light fixtures hung above the pastry bar, shining on the decadent treats below.

Kingsbury has a wide variety of beverages ranging from Ethiopian drip coffee ($3) to coconut water ($3.50). My parents were extremely pleased with the coffee, which came from a local shop in Lakeview, according to our waitress.

I opted for a cup of organic tangerine ginger tea ($2.50), which was a subtle and warm pick-me-up.

As for the entrees, deciding between a breakfast or lunch item was the most difficult part.

There are a lot of options to choose from, including exotic choices such as the vegan “tuna” melt ($9) that features chickpeas instead of tuna, or the gigi chicken rice casserole ($13), made up of white rice, chicken breast, shiitake mushrooms, peas and carrots combined in a clay pot. My favorite superfoods — quinoa, goji berries and chia seeds — made my eyes light up as I continued to scan the menu. Once I found the brussel sprout salad ($12), though, I knew it was a birthday wish come true.

The salad had blanched brussel sprouts, frisee, medjool dates, goji berries, almonds, gruyere cheese, red onions and a honey dijon dressing on the side. With each salad, there is the option to add a protein, including free range chicken breast, grilled salmon, ginger soy, spicy grilled shrimp or chickpea fritters with cumin. I decided to go for the vegetarian option of  the chickpea fritters ($5).

When the salad arrived, three large chickpea fritters resembling crab cakes reigned over the rest of the greens. The chickpeas tasted salty and textured, pairing nicely with the sweet and soft dates and goji berries.

My parents decided to stick with egg-based items from the breakfast menu. My dad got the Kingsbury Café breakfast ($11), which consists of two organic fried eggs, roasted tomato, herb potatoes, a cheddar scone and maple glazed bacon. By the time he finished soaking his scone in the runny yolk, he had no words to describe how satisfying everything was. The maple flavor on the bacon added the right amount of sweetness to the salty meat, and the two whole tomatoes were small but plump and juicy.

The “create your own omelette” ($10) was right down my mom’s alley. She chose leeks, mushrooms and feta cheese as add-ins. The eggs were accompanied by a long and crunchy buttered baguette and herb fingerling potatoes. Her omelette was thick and fluffy — and with mushrooms tucked into each bite there was no denying it packed in flavor.

For an American restaurant in the Chicago area, Kingsbury Street Café offers one of the most underrated breakfasts you can find. With the ability to make each entree unique, whether it be by ordering a side of vegan patties ($3.50) with your breakfast or chickpea fritters in your salad, guests never have to worry about ordering the same dish twice. The brunch was a perfect way to begin my birthday in the city, while keeping my family and me satisfied through the whole day.

Kingsbury Street Café is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch.

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