Restaurant Review: Wishbone Restaurant

Southern food will always be one of my favorites. Since going vegetarian and eventually vegan, it's been harder to find good Southern food that still has the same flavorful, hearty, down home that I know and love. Wishbone Restaurant is a very popular Southern restaurant here in Chicago and it's been on my list of restaurants to dine at for a few years now. I wish I would have visited during my meat and cheese eating days to get a taste of their jambalaya and macaroni and cheese, but it's all good.

Wishbone was opened by Chef Joel Nickson in July 1990 on Grand Avenue. Two years later, another restaurant was opened at 1001 W. Washington in the West Loop neighborhood. Back in the 1990's, the West Loop (especially near Lake Street in the Union Park area) was well known for being an area heavily populated with industrial warehouses and factories. To this day there are still old industrial buildings surrounding the neighborhood. Wishbone was an OG restaurant that set up shop in a perimeter unusual for a restaurant, especially a 170 seat Southern food restaurant. Today the area is well known for the culinary spots since the district has blossomed throughout the decades.

I visited the Lakeview Wishbone randomly on a Saturday night. It was pretty slow and empty that evening which I had no problem with being that I was exceptionally hungry. I sat down and admired the whimsical artwork and decorative pieces that adorned the walls and even the ceiling. Warm colors of burnt reds, oranges, browns, and cool purples and blues stained the walls. The motto of the spot is "Southern reconstructed cooking" which not only means there's a healthier remix to traditional dishes of the American South, but also to the aesthetic. I enjoyed the decorations plentiful.

The service at Wishbone was fine. No complaints, friendly waiters and staff. For dinner, I ordered the Black Bean Cakes which is gluten free and vegan friendly. As a matter of fact, Wishbone has quite a few gluten free and vegan friendly dishes on the menu. My dinner didn't take too long to be prepared. I ordered sweet potato fries and sauteed spinach on the side. The black bean cakes were divine, especially with the mango salsa that came on the side. Definitely a very "South of the border" touch going on here. I enjoyed my meal, but I do wish there was more. Seeing that Wishbone has "tweaked tradition for a healthier take on Southern cuisine", I Figured that the establishment would be serving meals in serving sizes. Despite that, the food was fulfilling. 

I didn't get much of a Southern cuisine vibe from my meal at Wishbone, but I did thoroughly enjoy the black bean cakes and I appreciate the effort of the food being healthy. I'd like to visit Wishbone again, specifically at the West Loop location and try more vegan/gluten free dishes.

Rating: 8/10

Wishbone Restaurant is located at 1001 W. Washington, Chicago, IL 60607 in the West Loop open from 7am-3pm on Mondays, 7am-9pm Tuesdays to Thursdays, 7am-10pm Fridays, 8am-3pm & 5pm-10pm Saturdays, and 8am-3pm Sundays, 312-850-2663

Wishbone Restaurant is 3300 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657 in Lakeview, open from 8am-3pm Mondays to Wednesdays and 8am-3pm & 5pm-9pm Thursdays to Sundays, 773-549-2663

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