We stopped into Left Coast recently to try the fast casual daytime dining spot that was dubbed, “As California as Chicago’s going to get,” by Urban Daddy.
The menu is a veggie-lover’s delight. The atmosphere is busy, yet comfortable. And the philosophy of the owners is true Journey to Good-ness. Read on to learn more about why we love Left Coast.
When we arrived at the Lakeview/Lincoln Park location of Left Coast, located at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Lakewood Avenue, we spent several minutes with the menu board.
We didn’t even mind the small line, because we had some challenging decisions ahead of us- choosing our meals. Everything sounded so good.
The menu is organized into eight categories:
- First Wave
Anne chose from the First Wave category (their word for “breakfast”). There, you’ve got your choice of egg options, sweet options like pancakes and an acai bowl, and of course an avocado toast option (bonus - it’s vegan).
A sucker for poached eggs and kale, Anne went with the Montecito Hash - two poached eggs, garnet yams, red bell pepper, kale, spinach, queso fresco, lemon vegan yogurt, toasted pepitas, LC hot sauce - vegan and dairy free. The portion was generous, and it was a delight to look at (remember, you eat with your eyes first people)! The taste combo was also truly delicious. The one criticism was that the yams were slightly burnt, so there was a bit of a bitter taste due to that over-charring of the vege.
Colleen chose from Grains - The Cadillac Curry - brown rice, garnet yams, green beans, madras curry sauce, pickled sultanas, green onion, basil, mint, toasted coconut - which was gluten free, vegan and dairy free.
Colleen also ordered their housemade LC Sparkling Splash in Citrus Turmeric Rosemary after being told it had no added sugar, only fruit juice for sweetener. However, it was far too sweet for her palate. Try these if you don’t mind super sweet drinks.
Colleen loved her Cadillac Curry grain dish - it was colorful and balanced. The portion was large and Colleen took part of it to go. When she requested a to-go cover, we were happy to see the to-go container was an Eco Product - made with renewable and compostable sugarcane.
The paper plates were compostable, as well as the silverware. While they served our drinks in plastic cups, they were Greenware brand - “made from plants” and made in the USA.
We really appreciate this attention to detail for fellow Journey to Gooders - Left Coast thought of everything - even the use of conscious food service containers.
Our only advice to make your dining ware completely sustainable is to bring your water bottle or mug, as their water glasses are non-compostable plastic for use with their self-serve water station.
Also, you could take it a step further and bring your own to-go container so as not to take more plastic waste home.
The atmosphere at Left Coast is casual and relaxed. The model is fast casual - order at a counter, take a number, and you’ll have your food delivered before you can say “California style.”
The dining area is comfortable with wooden tables and colorful metal chairs. There are high ceilings with a loft like feel in the exposed HVAC vents. Natural light seeps in through large windows facing Lincoln Avenue.
Left Coast has a second location in River North as well.
According to their website, “Left Coast was created from the idea that eating healthy should be quick and easy and still taste delicious.”
Left Coast is also committed to a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. In addition to the eco-friendly packaging products already mentioned, all of their ingredients are obtained from farmers that they trust. The local farms they work with include:
- Growing Power, Chicago IL
- Seedling Farms, South Haven MI
- Mick Klug Farms, Saint Joseph MI
- Ellis Family Farms, Benton Harbor MI
- Rice Lake Farms, Grant MI
The philosophy of Left Coast is definitely one that Journey to Good can get behind. We can’t wait to try more of their colorful, healthy dishes!
Left Coast is located at 2878 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 and 717 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654. Their hours are 7 AM - 9 PM Monday-Friday and 8 AM - 9 PM Saturday and Sunday.