Chicago, Illinois


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Open until 2am on weekends!
In my experience, it really depends on what you order at Handlebar.
My favorite item is the buffalo "chicken" (seitan) wrap. It's really amazing!
I had the seitan bbq burger in the past and it was definitely not as good.

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I went to handlebar because of someone telling me to go next time in Chicago. I did go but wasn't too impressed. This place is a vegetarian restaurant that serves fish on like a third of the entree selections. Boo. I had brunch there and got a tofu scramble which was ok, I can make it better, but it wasn't bad by any means. The breakfast potatoes seemed slightly overcooked but still fairly decent. My friend got the 3 little black bean tostadas which was probably the best deal on the menu, it was maybe $5 I think. So the food was decent, maybe slightly overpriced. The service was disappointing however. In Milwaukee I've been to plenty of hipster restaurants but was still attended to a reasonable amount, but not at handle bar. I had a water cup empty for the majority of my meal, and it took forever to be given our check. I might give this place another try, someday, but no rush.

Image for jendo612

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i ate here twice while visiting friends last month-once for dinner, and once for brunch. i had the buffalo "chicken wrap", the chicken was a bit tough, but nice and spicy. my hubby had the black bean maduro made vegan-it was to die for! the spicy chipotle sauce was something dreams are made of! the plate was huge, the plantains perfectly baked and crispy swimming in black beans-YUM! for brunch i had the motherload of all vegan biscuits and gravy. the softball sized biscuit was so so so soft, made with "golden flour" (half white half wheat is my guess), it was like a salty sweet pillow. the gravy was pretty terrific as well; salty, peppery, with teeny bits of mock sausage floating around. i have no idea how i finished the whole thing (ask my hangover?), but i washed it down with a spicy vegan bloody, and a pot of coffee. my only dislike was the cramped seating both inside and on the patio. when we went for brunch you couldn't really see where the walkway was due to the overcrowding.

Image for Cass Danger

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I went here for brunch during the week and enjoyed my food a lot. We started with the tostadas, which were actually beans, guacamole, and onions (needed tomatoes) on corn cake fritters instead of the traditional fried tortillas. Good but nothing spectacular.

However, I was really impressed with my main dish, the tofu scramble. It was actually chunks of cubed tofu mixed with fried potatoes and sweet potatoes, bell peppers, pesto sauce, and guacamole. Delicious. It also came with a side of sourdough toast and Earth Balance. Yum. I normally don't order scrambles because I can make them at home but this was special and I loved it. I also tried my friend's diablo tofu and it was good but I preferred mine.

Oh, and to add to Kedar's comment about the nearly all-white restaurnt, everyone was also white (myself included) during my visit. What's the deal?

Image for conde.kedar

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UPDATE: I had brunch at Handlebar and was extremely impressed with the options. Aside from vegan waffles and pancakes and tofu scrambles, they also had a "vegan diablo rancheros" ($8.75) which were excellent---spicy, colorful, crispy corn cakes with seitan, beans and more. The food was fresh and unusually sophisticated.

I'm still disappointed that I tend to be the only non-white person in Handlebar whenever I go, but maybe that's part of the game if you're vegan and in Wicker Park. Or Chicago, in general.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: I came here with two non-veg friends thinking it would be a good place for them and it was. Handlebar has a nice selection of unusual beers, though at $5+ a pint, it was kind of expensive.

My friend enjoyed his buffalo "chicken" vegan wrap. I took a bite of it and thought it was nicely spiced and came in a good-sized portion with fries on the side for a total of $8.25.

My seitan tortellini dish, however, was way too expensive for the small portion ($12.75), which added up to about 15 bites or so. It tasted good, but was not filling and could have used a side dish of its own.

I also had a vegan chocolate raspberry torte which was pretty solid (not too sweet, not too rich) and well-presented with raspberry sauce and blueberries. They also had a vegan fried apple-cranberry pie, which sounded wonderful.

Most of the menu is vegan and most everything else can be made vegan.

The presentation of the food in general was well-done and not what you'd expect from a place that doesn't look like much above a bar-grill tavern joint. This is a good place to take a date, assuming he/she is veg*n and not hung up about decor.

The service was friendly and prompt and we received our food quickly. It can get a little bit cramped in there, and Handlebar is not good for groups of more than four people, and even then you might have to wait a few minutes for a table.

I think Handlebar is just slightly over-priced and I was also a little bit off-put by the lack of diversity in there. Karyn's Cooked is able to attract all kinds of people so I'm not sure why Handlebar seems so centered around a certain breed of 20-somethings (the place does serve alcohol and some meat, after all). It could be the restaurant's fault or it could be the clientele's fault, but something seemed "off" about the homogeneity in there.

All in all, though, Handlebar is a good joint to get a drink and eat a vegan meal.

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handle bar is a cool place, sides are really nice, not big on vegan dessert tho'- i just wish they were opening earlier- bbq seitan and greens! price is good too. i've always had left overs.

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I was impressed with Handlebar because it hits a warm spot for me because they like bicyclists and vegans. The service was good, and there is definitely a ton of vegan food on the menu. I had the BBQ Seitan, which I thought was fabulous taste/spice-wise, but a little too soft and mushy texture-wise. I also had grilled mushrooms filled with soysage; I wasn't so crazy about these because of the grease overload. Nevertheless, I left happy, and I would go back in the future.

Image for Lola

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There is a surprising amount of vegan-friendly food here. The portions are large (none of the people that I was with could finish our meals) and inexpensive (always a plus). The service was fast and the outdoor area was a nice place to sit and eat. I highly recommend Handlebar to anyone looking for a quick meal in the Wicker Park area.

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