Illinois

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Last Update in April 2021! 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.)

Alton

  • Olga’s Kitchen – This Greek-American, fast casual restaurant chain is primarily in Michigan, but they have one location in Illinois. All of their sandwiches are made with their house-baked, gyro-style Olga Bread, which is vegan. Their dairy-free menu options include a handful of chicken, turkey, and veggie (also vegan) “sandwiches,” hummus snackers, seasoned curly fries, and some kid’s menu items. For dessert, you can enjoy their vegan Olga Donuts, which are tossed in powdered sugar and served with a raspberry sauce.

Aurora

  • DèCari ToGo – This pizza, wing, and salad shop has an unbelievable array of vegan menu items (from loaded pizzas to cauliflower wings to “blue cheese” topped salads). They offer a few types of dairy-free cheese alternatives, and many additional menu items can be made dairy-free. Thank you to Christina H. for recommending this restaurant!
  • Gillerson’s Grubbery – Christina emailed to recommend this local restaurant. Their menu changes periodically, but they offer dishes like vegan tacos, “plantpodge” (smothered fries), and sloppy “Josephines.” They offer vegan pretzel buns for burgers and sandwiches, and many additional items can be ordered dairy-free.

Bolingbrook

  • BD’s Mongolian Grill – They offer a very complete allergen chart with many milk-free options. In fact, at last check, their entire stir fry menu was dairy-free, aside from one of the sauces (and they have many sauces). They do serve other types of food, some of which does contain milk.
  • Ted’s Montana Grill – Founded by media mogul and rancher Ted Turner, this American chain serves a meat-heavy menu with lots of dairy-free options. See our Dairy-Free Guide for Ted’s Montana Grill for more details.

Brookfield

  • Bean Sprouts Cafe – Bean Sprouts plants cafés inside family destinations across the country. This one is inside the Brookfield Zoo. Their playful yet healthy menu is allergy-friendly, and boasts a few different dairy-free options for kids and adults.

Chicago

  • American Girl Cafe – These cafes are located inside American Girl stores, and host lunches and parties by reservation. See our Dairy-Free Tips for American Girl Cafe.
  • Beacon Doughnuts ⭐️ – Walk up to their window and pick up or order artisan vegan donuts and juices. Everything is made in small batches, and they offer classic apple fritters and raised glazed donuts along with unique flavors, like birthday cake and chocolate brioche.
  • Borinken Cakes – They make four dairy-free cupcake flavors (not vegan, they contain eggs), which include: Coconut, Coco-Parcha, Piña colada, and Coquito (please note that the bundt cakes all contain milk). The availability might vary, but they usually have at least a couple on hand, and they bake dairy-free, gluten-free meringues.
  • 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.
  • Flat Top Grill – This Asian-fusion restaurant specializes in customized stir fries. You choose the protein, vegetables, sauce, and starch. According to the restaurant, their entire stir fry menu is dairy free, aside from the Yum Yum sauce, as long as you don’t add cheese (yes, it’s an option!). They have an allergen list, label for vegan, gluten-free, and other special diet needs, and have a huge array of options to choose from.
  • Hawaiian Bros ⭐️ – This fast-casual chain is a regional favorite for Hawaiian plate lunches and dairy-free Dole whip. They serve all of the classics, including Kalua Pork, Huli Huli Chicken, and Musubi. Their full menu is “both dairy and nut free!” They also informed us that all items aside from the noodles/pasta are gluten free, and the only items with eggs are the spam musubi and the pasta salad.
  • 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.
  • Lyfe Kitchen ⭐️ – This restaurant had big ambitions as a chain. It has had trouble taking hold, but they still have a few locations in Chicago. Their healthy menus are clearly labeled with dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, and include a good array of smoothies, breakfast, and all day entrees.
  • Native Foods Cafe ⭐️ – This is a plant-based, dairy-free restaurant chain with extensive collection of burgers, bowls, salads, wraps, and more with regional flavor influences from the U.S., Mexico, and Asia. They also have a sizable dessert menu. They have four locations around the city, including the Loop, Hyde Park, Wicker Park, and Lakeview areas.
  • Paulie Gee’s – This small-time pizza chain has a full vegan menu with a range of cheese alternatives. Consequently, most of their menu can be made dairy-free.
  • 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.
  • Uno Pizzeria & Grill – Chicago is the home of this popular chain restaurant, so they have several locations around the city. See our Uno Dairy-Free Menu Guide for details.
  • 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.
  • Wrigley Field This Major Baseball League Stadium serves Oatly dairy-free soft serve in their food area.

Crystal Lake

Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen – Thanks to Jenn of Veggie Inspired or sharing this recommendation. “While not a vegan restaurant, they always have a handful of creative vegan dishes available. They source their ingredients locally whenever possible and change their menu seasonally. It’s my go-to restaurant when I get to choose!”

Decatur

  • Donnie’s Homespun Pizza – Thank you to Rachel for recommending this local pizzeria. Their menu has vegan quesadillas, antipasto, and several casual entrees right on it. And they offer dairy-free cheese, so you can custom order burgers and pizzas (with red sauce) without dairy.

Elmwood Park

  • Seph’s Sweets – Thank you to Shaina for letting us know about this local bakery and café. She said, “I was so surprised to find so many dairy free options (as well as how seriously the owner takes allergies!) They offer coconut milk and almond milk for lattes/drinks and they also offer vegan pastries, & dairy free meal options.”

Evanston

  • Flat Top Grill – This Asian-fusion restaurant specializes in customized stir fries. You choose the protein, vegetables, sauce, and starch. According to the restaurant, their entire stir fry menu is dairy free, aside from the Yum Yum sauce, as long as you don’t add cheese (yes, it’s an option!). They have an allergen list, label for vegan, gluten-free, and other special diet needs, and have a huge array of options to choose from.

Fairview Heights

  • CherryBerry Frozen Yogurt Bar – The flavors rotate at this Midwestern chain, but at any given time, you can usually find at least a few dairy-free flavors. They offer creamy vegan Silk almondmilk frozen yogurt in Chocolate and Vanilla. And they swirl numerous dairy-free sorbets, including Chocolate Fudge and a variety of fruity flavors. The staff has ingredient information, and can open new topping bags if cross-contamination is a concern.

Forest Park

  • 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.

Glenview

  • 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.

Hinsdale

  • Nourished ⭐️ – With such a healthy name, we weren’t surprised to see that ther menu is mostly dairy-free at this “kitchen market.” They label for dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan needs. And their menu includes soups and broths, smoothies, snacks, and all types of provisions.
  • 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.

Lombard

  • Flat Top Grill – This Asian-fusion restaurant specializes in customized stir fries. You choose the protein, vegetables, sauce, and starch. According to the restaurant, their entire stir fry menu is dairy free, aside from the Yum Yum sauce, as long as you don’t add cheese (yes, it’s an option!). They have an allergen list, label for vegan, gluten-free, and other special diet needs, and have a huge array of options to choose from.

Machesney Park

  • Pig Minds Brewing Co. ⭐️ – Thanks to Jen for this recommendation! They are reportedly “America’s first and only vegan brewery!” Their casual food menu is filled with starters, bowls, and handhelds.

Naperville

  • BD’s Mongolian Grill – They offer a very complete allergen chart with many milk-free options. In fact, at last check, their entire stir fry menu was dairy-free, aside from one of the sauces (and they have many sauces). They do serve other types of food, some of which does contain milk.
  • Bean Sprouts Cafe – Bean Sprouts plants cafés inside family destinations across the country. This one is inside the DuPage Children’s Museum. Their playful yet healthy menu is allergy-friendly, and boasts a few different dairy-free options for kids and adults.
  • Ted’s Montana Grill – Founded by media mogul and rancher Ted Turner, this American chain serves a meat-heavy menu with lots of dairy-free options. See our Dairy-Free Guide for Ted’s Montana Grill for more details.

Norridge

  • Borinken Cakes – They make four dairy-free cupcake flavors (not vegan, they contain eggs), which include: Coconut, Coco-Parcha, Piña colada, and Coquito (please note that the bundt cakes all contain milk). The availability might vary, but they usually have at least a couple on hand, and they bake dairy-free, gluten-free meringues.

Peoria

  • Emack & Bolio’s – This Boston-based ice creamery churns a handful of vegan flavors made with coconut milk. They include Cappucino Fudge Swirl, Chocolate Pudding, Mint Chocolate Freckle, Raspberry Chocolate Krispy Rice, Goa Mango, and Toasted Coconut. They also offer dairy-free sorbets.
  • 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!
  • Riley’s Vegan Sweets and Eats ⭐️ – This is a dairy-free, egg-free, vegan bakery and coffee shop that makes all types of donuts, cookies, and cupcakes. They also bake custom order cakes.

Skokie

  • 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.

Springfield

  • Three Twigs Bakery – You can order gluten-free, vegan whole cakes, donuts, cookies, and brownies from this local bakery. They also do wedding cakes and can most likely accommodate “just dairy-free” needs, too.

Urbana

  • 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.

Winnetka

Spirit Elephant ⭐️ – Thanks to Linda at Veganosity for sharing this recommendation. “This bright and airy vegan restaurant serves delicious upscale food and cocktails that vegans and non-vegans rave about.” This is an all-vegan establishment with a global menu of flavors.

National Chains with Several Illinois Locations

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.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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