Last Updated September 2020! Bear with us as we work on this page! This is a brand new guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops in Illinois that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!), that’s divided into local restaurants (first) and chains (second).
Note: You can ignore the date on this post going forward. We’ll update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new restaurant recommendation, change, or closure.
Local Illinois Restaurants Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats
We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.
⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)
- Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken – They have several locations dotted around Chicago, and each serves three types of vegan donuts daily. Some regulars include spiced maple chai, orange olive oil, and double chocolate. For coffee drinks, they offer almond milk and soy milk, but the availability might vary by location.
- Ken’s Diner & Grill ⭐️ – The owners at this friendly, old-school diner are eager to accommodate. In fact, their kosher menu is a haven, since everything is made without dairy. Yes, this is a completely dairy-free restaurant serving lunch, dinner, and dessert, five days a week! They also have a vegan menu filled with cheesy indulgences and parve milkshakes.
- Little Goat Diner ⭐️ – Their main menu is rich in cheese, but they actually offer separate vegan, dairy-free AND gluten-free menus, each with many options. They serve internationally-inspired dishes with farm-fresh twists for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also offer bakery goods (custom cakes available), coffee drinks (with soy milk and almond milk on hand), and dairy-free milkshakes.
- Spacca Napoli Pizzeria – This very authentic Italian pizzeria has received rave vegan reviews for their ability to “master cheeseless pizzas.” They also serve wonderful salads, rich with olives, and dressed in olive oil and vinegar.
- The Chicago Diner ⭐️ – Their motto is “meat free since 83,” but they’re also dairy-free and egg-free. This popular vegan diner serves classic comfort food for lunch, brunch, and dinner, has a bakery on site, and blends legendary dairy-free milkshakes.
- Wheat’s End Cafe ⭐️ – This is a completely gluten-free bakery restaurant, serving late breakfast and lunch, six days a week. They have dairy-free and vegan labels on their menus, which include many options, from dairy-free pancakes to paninis. Many of their baked goods are vegan, including breads, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, and brownies.
- Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor – This is a traditional ice creamery, but they typically have a creamy dairy-free and vegan flavor or two on hand. They can also make custom dairy-free or vegan ice cream cakes, and reportedly offer dairy-free milk beverage and vegan whipped cream for making other desserts.
- Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery ⭐️ – This is their second location, and it’s just as popular as their first one in Hinsdale (details below). Everything is gluten-free, and they always have a big selection of dairy-free options, and many vegan goodies, too. They do accept custom orders.
- Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery ⭐️ – As the name implies, this is a purely gluten-free bakery. But they also have many dairy-free, vegan, and other allergy-friendly options. The dairy-free options are abundant, and usually include cupcakes, cookies, pies, sweet loaves, breads, and more. They also take custom cake and bakery orders.
- One World Cafe – This restaurant boasts a casual hipster vibe, an expansive menu, and a staff eager to help with special diet needs. Just let them know you need dairy-free or vegan, and ask for their “specialty menu.” Their cuisine includes a global array of dishes, and they take pride in making everything in house with fresh, high quality ingredients. Their chefs even mix all of their own sauces!
- Shallots Bistro ⭐️ – This fine dining restaurant strictly follows Jewish dietary laws pertaining to milk and meat, so there is no dairy on site. In fact, the only cheese on their menu is soy cheese! According to the restaurant, their desserts are also dairy-free and parve, right down to the ice cream and whipped cream. And their lunch and dinner menus are expansive, with sandwiches, steaks, sushi, and much more.
- Dancing Dog Eatery & Juicery ⭐️ – This vegan restaurant is a midday spot for lunch, fresh-pressed juices, and dessert. They also open briefly on Saturday evenings to make vegan deep dish pizzas. But their full menu of sweet treats is an obvious feature, with cakes and cookies on display.
Most Popular Chains in Illinois for Dairy-Free Diners
There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.
This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations
We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.
Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!
This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only
Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.
There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.