Pick Me Up Cafe

Chicago, Illinois

Reviews

Image for Cass Danger

rating star

I really like the vibe of this place and I've heard that their vegan breakfast items (offered all day) are delicious. I think I just happened to order the non-winners on the menu. I was BEYOND excited to see they had homemade vegan jalapeno poppers ($6.50 - not bad), but very disappointed to find that they were stuffed with mashed tofu and not cream cheese. Using Tofutti cream cheese would likely be a little more expensive but would be SO worth it. Jalapeno poppers are supposed to be rich and fatty and if you're going to go to the trouble of stuffing and frying them, you might as well do it right.

I also got the small vegan mac and cheese ($4.50 - not bad), and also wasn't super impressed. I'm a big fan of the Teese cheese texture so that was right on but the mac didn't really have much flavor so I ended up dumping on salt, pepper, and hot sauce. I would have liked it better if it had some garlic, nutritional yeast, or were baked in the oven with breadcrumbs (to give some ideas :)). I also tried my friend's chocolate oatmeal cake ($5) which was so-so and overpriced.

Given that I've heard how good brunch items are, I'd be willing to return to try those items but I wouldn't re-order anything that I've ordered thus far.


rating star

I go here almost every weekend. Almost without fail, no matter who the server is, they will forget one person's order for about half an hour after everyone else has their food (and on busy nights that itself takes an eternity). Who knows why, but it's never once made any of us hesitate a second on returning the next weekend. I'll wait days for that buffalo tofu, I don't care. Don't miss the homemade soups, the vegan chili, chili cheese fries, or the vegan mac'n'cheese (approved by my carnivore friends), or the mushroom gravy on the mashed potatoes, the hummus, or the gnocchi... you get the idea. There's no better place to go at 4am on Saturday morning after you've left the clubs, not to imply that I don't go there for lunch during the week, either.


rating star

My kids and I love pick me up. The vegan french toast is incredible. Service is great-staff are wonderful. I never miss it when I spend a weekend in Chacago. Great for Sunday brunch without spending a ton.

Image for conde.kedar

rating star

Pick Me Up is an American diner with edgy clientele (especially compared to the residents of Wrigleyville). I like that they're open late and offer a variety of vegan options, though nothing here really stands out, and the options are pretty basic.

They have lots of tofu scrambles and pancakes and the like, but don't offer mockmeat sandwiches or stir-frys/pastas. I had the moo-free pizza ($9) which consisted of a flaky crust loaded with bell peppers, onions, eggplant and mushrooms, topped with a whipped tofu "cheese." The crust was the best part, as it was crispy and well-done, though it quickly got soft and soggy once the oil from the over-cooked vegetables got to it. The tofu "cheese" was decent, but needed more herbs and less salt.

I also had a chocolate rice krispie bar ($4) which was too dense and heavy for my likes. Also, it wasn't crispy at all and ws more chewy than anything else.

The service was friendly but slow. I'd come to Pick Me Up if I were in a bind late at night and if the nearby Chicago Diner had already closed. Otherwise, take a pass on Pick Me Up.


rating star

This place looks cool and is in a good location. And the fact that it's open 24 hours and has vegetarian/vegan options is great. My daughter and I went there for the first time and everything about was wonderful....except for the FOOD. Mine was OK...I got a hummus sandwich with fries...not easy to screw that up. My daughter however had a terrible experience. She ordered the vegan mac and cheese. It was inedible. I will admit she is very picky for a 20 year old, but I am not, I can eat almost anything as long as it doesn't contain meat. I tried it and could barely swallow it. Not only was the sauce awful...not even sure what it was...the pasta was way overcooked and the whole thing was watery. So we told the waiter she didn't like it (have never done that before!) and he was very nice about it (he did say others have also not liked it) So she ordered a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. This was also really bad. Was not in the least bit grilled, and the soy cheese mixed with the juice from the tomato and turned into some kind of goop that was dripping off the sandwich and had the worst texture. It was also inedible. We are not bitchy, picky restaurant patrons. We felt so bad about it we wrapped half the sandwich up in a napkin and put it in my purse so they wouldn't know we didn't eat it. We've been vegans for a while now, and we weren't expecting a real cheese experience, but have these people ever tasted their own cooking? I (not my daughter) will give this place another try because it is cool and it is open all night...but Chicago Diner is still the best I've tried so far. Wish they were open later.


rating star

Consider the following:
*If you want a great vegetarian / vegan place -- the Chicago Diner is TWO BLOCKS from here. Particularly, they serve this same kind of food, but better.
"If you want a great place for both meat lovers and vegetarians, Ping Pong is about FIVE BLOCKS away, and serves exciting dishes!

My friends and I ate here recently. We found our server to be helpful (she made substitutions with no problems), and very friendly. We tried the vegan french toast (good, but inferior to the Chicago Diner's), the tofu scramble (greasy, filling, and flavorless). One friend said that the coffee was meh. We rounded things up with a vegan mocha milkshake--good, but thinner (i.e. less good) than the Chicago Diner's. I bring up the Chicago Diner, because again: two blocks away. The food I got seemed to be the best vegan / vegetarian stuff on the menu -- I wouldn't purposely go here again.

There're two reasons, however, that YOU might wanna go to this place:
*You're in Lakeview on a weekend, and you need an all-night food place that has some vegetarian options.
*You're with some people who absolutely need meat, and others who absolutely don't, AND your party absolutely needs diner food.


rating star

I had no idea this place was in my back yard until I checked out the guide! The service was outstanding, and I tried the vegan French Toast, which was fabulous. I also had an excellent soy hot cocoa. It has a mix of vegetarian/vegan and non-vegetarian/vegan items.

--
I've been hear *many* times since my first visit, and I'm totally in love with it. The vegan French Toast is the best in the city.


rating star

i can't believe this isn't in your top restaurants- the food is great, they have breakfast too, they are open late night, i always get the same server- but he is cool- pick me up should get way more credit


rating star

Although they only have a few vegan options, they do them all really well. The Vegan French Toast is my absolute favorite, and their vegan milkshakes are amazing. I also like the Humboldt County (Spinach and Tofu scramble). They also have vegan pancakes and a dairy-free pizza.

Image for Lola

rating star

This place rocks. The waitstaff are really friendly and will remember you if you come often enough (one waitress even guesses what my order will be whenever I come in and she is usually right). The ambience is very eclectic, with tables decorated with Monopoly, Scrabble and other game pieces (although my favorite table is painted in a hypnotic spiral and actually spins). The cakes are amazing. The strawberry cake has actually pieces of strawberries mixed in with the batter. The milkshakes are made with Chicago Soydairy soymilk and soy ice cream, and come in exciting flavors like chai and wild berry. Pick Me Up is probably most known for its vegan french toast, although the tofu cheese pizza is also a notable entree. It's a great place to hang out (or type on your laptop) late at night when everything else is closed.


rating star

I must admit, I really love this place. It's cool, it's open to godawful hours of the morning, and getting vegan stuff is easy. And the food's pretty darn good. Get some of the best vegan cake in the city, and QUALITY vegan french toast. Shy away from the veggie burger, though - they just pull something out of a box and put it on a bun. Not a good something, either.


rating star

This is the best place in town to get a vegan breakfast or late night snack. Lots of things on the menu are vegan but not necessarily labeled as such--when in doubt, ask the knowledgeable waitstaff. It's not terribly cheap, but the portions are decent. A few words of warning: the service can be a tad slow, and the stir-fry is less than stellar. Instead, try the vegan berry pancakes. They're to die for.


rating star

very lively atmosphere. open 24 hours. located in the young hipsters part of town. really good hummos and vegetables and warm pita bread, for 5 bucks or so. really big portions! not all the desserts are vegan (the ones that are aren't really that tasty either), and the cake portions are a little too small for my tastes. oh yea, the waitresses will sit at your table and try to engage in conversation with you, so be prepared.

duck-call and sheep-call friendly.


rating star

This is the perfect place to go with a bunch of friends after a late night show. Casual environment, vegan breakfast anytime.

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