Now that we are back to work from the long Labor Day Weekend (whomp whomp), it’s time to think about what we should be eating next at lunchtime in the Chicago Loop!! I’ve recently been to Brightwok Kitchen three times since its opening and absolutely love it! Upon walking into the space off Adam’s street, you are greeted by friendly staff and as expected from the name, bright, energetic and clean decor. This place is a Chipotle meets Flat Top Grill with a strong conscious for preparing healthy, allergy-friendly food. Approaching the counter, you are asked to pick an in-house made sauce to start to create your own stir-fry; at this point, I’ve had the Thai Basil, Coconut Curry and Light Lemon Glaze, all being delicious! Following your sauce choice, your next option is the base which can be brown rice, white rice or rice noodles. I’ve only chosen the rice noodles, but I’ve seen people do half and half which is intriguing. Next, you move down the line to pick your protein which is all regionally source, staying in the Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio area. The protein options are chicken (which I’ve had), steak (my husband and several coworkers have enjoyed), tofu (I’m sure it would be good), or you can opt to get extra veggies! After the protein, you can pick up to four vegetables for your bowl. I would say a good portion of the veggies are locally sourced with the staff has pointing out the zucchini or squash is from the Chicago Farmers Market. I’ve also noticed veggies that had previously been there are subbed-out for different ones. I appreciate their commitment to try to stay local and seasonal in their vegetable options. Because of this, my stir fry has been a little bit different every time. Once you’ve picked all your food, the chef’s quickly flash-sear your bowl in a light amount of oil which you get to watch happen (that’s kinda fun lol). If you are dining in you receive a nice reusable dish to enjoy your meal, but if you gotta run back to the office, your bowl is served in a recyclable paper container like my stir fry pictured above. They also have a crazy amount of fun beverages like cult fave Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee (yum) and Filbert’s Soda Co Ginger Beer. Off to the side, above the “Your Future is Bright” sign you have your utensils, napkins, free water and Sriracha to add a lil heat.
Not only does Brightwok try to keep their ingredients local and seasonal, they’re homemade marinades and sauces are all gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free and vegan. Obviously, if you choose meat, you lose the vegan part of that equation. It’s so refreshing to have a lunch destination that not only tastes great but is actively working towards providing a food product that is good for you. You can also choose a salad all together instead of a stir-fry if you wanna keep it on the low cal side, too. The prices are reasonable for lunch in the loop, varying between $8 – $10 depending on your protein choice. On top of that, the portion size is good; however, it doesn’t leave you in “I just over ate 2 pm slump”. I think it’s the right size. Finally, last thing I’d like to note are the Sinful Banana Chips. Although they are on the pricier side, the name of them rings true. I’ve had a coworker describe these chips are “cooked in crack because they are so addicting” – they are amazing and the portion size will definitely satisfy you.
In the end, I can definitely see Brightwok’s motto “Eat Right & Live Bright” come to life in the food and atmosphere they have created. Next time you are need a lunch option in the Chicago Loop, you should definitely check it out – you will probably see me ordering a new stir-fry or salad combo. Also, for those of you who can’t sneak away from your desk, they deliver with DoorDash Chicago. Happy Eating!
Wet Hair, Don’t Care