Farm-to-table may be the new restaurant trend, but the Heartland Café has been serving up local ingredients to its dedicated Rogers Park patrons for more than 35 years. Its focus on “wholesome food for the mind and body” is a big part of the restaurant, which is proud of its hippie traditions and progressive politics.
It also does its best to find local, organic and sustainable produce whenever possible. Fruits and vegetables are grown at their certified organic farm, Earth First Farms, in Michigan, as well as other artisanal farmers in the Midwest.
The restaurant is also proud to support local activists, artists and musicians at weekly events, and it often hosts 5K runs.
You’ll definitely get the hippie vibe from the moment you walk into the place, but don’t let the laid-back attitude fool you—the food here is done right. Focusing mostly on a vegetarian menu, Heartland serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Breakfast is actually available all day, with a focus on egg dishes done right. And while the focus is on the veggies, some meat does make its way onto the menu, in particular buffalo, which is the star of their “world famous” chili and the Heartland burgers. It also offers a good buttermilk fried chicken. For the vegetarians, the vegetable gratin features layers of thinly sliced vegetables that are baked with a pistachio-basil pesto-parmesan cheese and served on kale and mashed sweet potatoes.
The attached Buffalo Bar offers a full selection of cocktails, wine and beer.
The Heartland Café is a comfortable, neighborhood place to relax and enjoy a good meal. If an event brings you to Rogers Park, it’s definitely worth a visit.