Travelling Paleo in Illinois, U.S.A.


Photo Credit: James Jordan

Our last travel feature focused on Maine, U.S.A and the various Paleo options available in that state. Another travel feature was long overdue and the bustling state of Illinois, the state where famous Paleo Porn couple Marla and Jeff Sarris hails from, was chosen for this particular feature. It only made sense given Marla and Jeff who are instrumental in outlining the numerous Paleo options in Chicago has time and time again shown that the state of Illinois proves to be very Paleo-friendly, or that at least Paleo travellers can work with the offerings made available within the state.

Who doesn't want to visit Illinois - Al Capone's hometown? Illinois is known for its various famous attractions such as the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier in Chicago. The state is also known for its charmingly quaint cities and towns such as the ones situated in Great Rivers Country. Famous for its historical roots, Springfield is known as Abe Lincoln's hometown where visitors can take a tour of his house, law offices and the much renowned presidential museum. Illinois also has tons of state parks and offers several key adventure ideas catered to the travellers who crave exercise and the outdoors.

Photo Credit: Michael

If you are travelling to the area and worried about staying Paleo, there is no need to fret. With the assistance of Marla and Jeff Sarris, Crossfit Bloomington, and Nutrionist Kelly O. Schmidt, we have been able to compile a list of Paleo-friendly establishments in Illinois. Now, keep in mind that this feature just serves as a starting point for your Paleo travels within the area. There are more than likely numerous other Paleo-friendly establishments yet to be discovered apart from the ones mentioned here.

First of all, Paleo Porn offers a list of Paleo-friendly restaurants in Chicago on their website. They even offer reviews of each restaurant rating it based on a scale of how Paleo-friendly it is and how good the food is. It is worth checking out if you are planning to dine in the area.

JJ Krupka of Crossfit Bloomington suggests ​a great farm to table restaurant in the city of Bloomington called Epiphany Farms which is Paleo-friendly. Another place, Destihl, also has paleo options but is more of a standard craft beer/food location. There's also a few grocery stores which offer Paleo options such as Naturally Yours and Fresh Market which both have locations in Peoria and Normal. Crossfit Bloomington personally does business with Jeremy from Meadow Haven Farms. He drops by with his freezer truck once a month to bring the gym members meat, and he comes highly recommended.

Photo Credit: Andrew E. Larsen
Nutrionist Kelly O. Schmidt's recommends several Paleo-friendly restaurants located in Chicago such as Cassava which she describes offer a lot of dairy but has a great primal concept. Instead of flour, they use the root vegetable yucca for their empanadas. Her personal recommendation and favourite is the bacon, egg, and cheddar empanada.

She also recommends Fifty/50's wings and their Paleo burger paired with green beans. Monkey Paw she espouses has some of the best seafood and salad options while Au Cheval offers burgers to kill for. Acre offers delicious and nutritious organ meat, LOKAL has raw meat options as well as several Paleo-friendly menu items, and Wood sources their protein from many local farms as well as pick their own herbs. She also mentions that Uncommon Ground which takes the farm to table concept to a whole new level (they house their own rooftop organic farm) is probably the best breakfast spot around.

Lula CafeBistro ChampagneGreen Street MeatsGatherLe CafemEAT in Lakeview, Frontera, and Folklore were also recommended by Kelly as offering Paleo-friendly meal options in their menus.

Photo Credit: Andrew E. Larsen 

In my own search and with the assistance of the Travelling Paleo group on facebook, I discovered other restaurants that offer Paleo-friendly meals particularly in the Chicago area who have confirmed that they will cater to the Paleo or AIP diet. 

Greek restaurant Taxim offers plenty of ​delicious proteins in generous portions, like their half chicken, whole fish, various lamb and poultry options. The Publican, known for their spicy pork rinds, also offers some Paleo-friendly fare as well as Two restaurant which uses grassfed beef, naturally raised chickens and heritage pork products exclusively in their menu. Bavette's and DMK Burger also provide Paleo meal options and have confirmed they will cater to the Paleo or AIP diet. It is worth noting, however, that DMK Burger only cooks with canola oil for those of you who are unable to tolerate this type of oil.

Photo Credit: Michael

Certainly, there are many more places in the large state of Illinois yet to discover. We will continue to add to our list of Paleo-friendly establishments as we discover them. To keep updated on our latest additions, be sure to like our page on facebook or join our Travelling Paleo/Primal group.


BonAppetour dining experience