Participating in the Locavore Challenge is a challenge indeed for workers on the south end of the Loop. Let’s be honest, our reach often exceeds our grasp and we can’t pack an all local lunch every day. On days when brown-bagging it isn’t an option, it can be difficult to find a quick midday bite at casual restaurants that also use locally sourced ingredients. To help fellow Loop locavores stick to the pledge to eat local, I contacted a few likely lunchtime favorites to ask whether they use locally sourced ingredients. I am pleased to report that two Chicago-based businesses that are committed to healthy, natural food responded that they do purchase much of their food locally.
Scott Perin, one of the directors of local sandwich maker Hannah’s Bretzel responded by email:
“At Hannah’s, we try to source as many items locally as possible while still maintaining the complete inventory of ingredients required to make all of our über sandwiches. Below is a list of ingredients that are sourced locally:
brie cheese (MI)
farmhouse cheddar (WI)
fresh mozzarella (WI)
alfalfa sprouts (IL)
all milk varieties (WI)
organic butter (WI)
organic cream cheese (WI)
apples (MI) *seasonal.”
David Friedman founder and CEO of the local Epic Burger chain that brands itself as “a more mindful burger” wrote that all their buns are purchased from a Chicago bakery, all their cheeses are from Wisconsin and currently all their produce is from the Midwest. http://epicburger.com/about.
If there is time to walk a few blocks north, Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand, 66 E. Randolph, is a treasure trove of produce from local farmers and ready to eat food from Chicago bakeries and artisanal food producers such as the Middle Eastern Bakery in Andersonville, Artopolis in Greektown and Delightful Pastries. In no time you can put together a tasty, local picnic. It will be difficult to leave without a luscious treat from one of the city’s bakeries, or icecream and candymakers. http://www.ChicagoFarmstand.com.
Chipotle Mexican Grill states on its website that “we source organic and local food when practical.” I was not able to confirm that its restaurants in Chicago’s Loop source local ingredients. http://www.chipotle.com
Loop locavores – please share your discoveries and advice on eating local in the Loop.
Phillippa Cannon has been a Green City Market volunteer since 2008.