Kal’ish, a short-order vegan restaurant that promises 100 percent animal-free indulgence, is making its grand debut in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago on January 14. Gina & Andy Kalish, who also operate the Ravenswood Event Center, are excited to be opening the restaurant in the neighborhood they’ve called home for over 20 years.
“We’ve always wanted to open a vegan restaurant that could satisfy vegans and omnivores alike,” says Gina. “Kal’ish offers indulgent plant-based alternatives to favorites found at traditional fast food restaurants.”
Diners can expect a wide range of animal-free takes on classic Americana dishes, including gluten and nut-free options. Kal’ish makes from scratch all meat-like protein replacements, using legumes, roots, nuts, yeasts, wheat, vegetables, starches and more to find the right flavor combinations. To do so, the kitchen has become somewhat of a laboratory, testing ways to create animal-free versions that any eater would enjoy. Favorites from the menu include:
K Burger: a classic beefy patty, horseradish kale mayo, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion, served on a classic bun
Pulled Pork-N-Jack: pulled braised jackfruit, smoky sweet q sauce, purple slaw and pickles, served on a classic bun
Chili Cheese Fries: skin-on salted fries topped with savory house chili, cheese sauce and spicy pico de gallo
Farmer Brown Plate: steamed and griddled vegetables with Midwest curry on a bed of brown rice
In addition, Kal’ish also offers an all-day breakfast menu and Sunday brunch, with options including:
K-Eggs, Potatoes & Toast: a plant-based riff on traditional scrambled eggs with griddle potatoes and onions and a side of buttered toast
Clucker Crisp & French Toast: just like fried chicken & waffles, but plant-based
Biscuits & Sausage Gravy: southern classic fluffy biscuits with homemade vegan gravy and fennel sausage
Every dish on the menu can be taken to go, or enjoyed in Kal’ish’s bright, minimalistic space, designed by vegan architect Ferdinanda Marcic.
“As a strict vegan herself, Ferdinanda was a big part of this project. In fact, she even helped us come up with name,” says Gina. “While it makes sense that the restaurant’s name is also the our last name, the stylization and pronunciation hints at the healthy “it” vegetable, kale. However, it is kale-ish—because after all, this is not your standard vegan restaurant.”
A grand opening event and ribbon cutting will take place at the restaurant on January 14 at 1 p.m. hosted by members of the Uptown Chamber of Commerce and 42nd Ward Alderman James Cappleman. Guests are encouraged to stop by for complimentary samples of the restaurant’s hot cocoa, cookies, grilled cheese, and tomato soup.