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Left Coast, best coast? New healthy restaurant is tasty at a price

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Left Coast Food and Juice features California-inspired health food, but at Hollywood prices. (Garrett Duncan / The DePaulia)

Left Coast Food and Juice features California-inspired health food, but at Hollywood prices. (Kiersten Sinko / The DePaulia)

Calling all lovers of avocado, with a side affair of kale, acai berries, and sunflower seeds. I have found your safe-haven; and no, it doesn’t require a plane ticket to California.

Left Coast Food + Juice, located at 2878 N. Lincoln Ave., opened two weeks ago in Lakeview and it’s your new place to be. With a menu range of salads, wraps, grain bowls, smoothies, cold pressed juices, and even breakfast featuring perfectly poached 7 minute eggs served all day, you can officially get your healthy foodie on. Holla.

But now let’s talk about those prices. Stepping into Left Coast felt like a paradise on a rainy Thursday morning, especially since I knew I was in for a health-happy meal.

The prices, however, made my stomach churn. I ordered The Chronic (a wrap made with steak, eggs, carrots, red onion, avocado, spinach and chimichurri in a whole wheat wrap) alone, and my meal came to total of $15.48. Ouch. Worth it? Yes, but maybe only on pay days.

Left Coast was consulted by chef Paul Kahan, who told Crain’s Chicago in January that he wanted a joint in Chicago that would make clean-eating “be convenient and taste good.” It took over the space that used to be Muskie’s, the char-boiled burgers and malts joint that shut down in September 2014.

(Garrett Duncan / The DePaulia)

Left Coast opened two weeks ago at 2878 N. Lincoln Ave. (Kiersten Sinko / The DePaulia)

Now with a 55-seat dining room and full bar, Kahan hopes that this eatery will be the first of many in Chicago. Originally it was created to be a healthy yet also a fast-casual restaurant for people to stop in and just eat good, organic and sustainable meals. It never promised to be cheap, which makes sense being located far enough from campus to not promise a cheap meal for college students. But it did promise to be good tasting food, so in that case Left Coast succeeded.

The atmosphere is especially appealing, with clean white walls and festive greenery. The new spot even has outdoor seating, which I have a feeling will make the California avocado-loving foodies flock this summertime. Their drink selection stays clear from typical Coke or Pepsi and instead serves smoothies, juices, coffee (such as La Columbe coffee — good choice Left Coast), tea, and even a selection of alcohol including beer, wine, and seasonal cocktails. Can you only afford water with this meal? Me too, which is why I was thrilled to find a citrus-infused water dispenser located near the coffee bar for those cheap-o’s like me.

So here’s all the reasons to why the prices of Left Coast shouldn’t scare you, because frankly, the flavors packed into the Chronic wrap or even the Acai Smoothie Bowl is worth forking the dollars.

If that isn’t enough, then get this. Every meal put together by Left Coast Food + Juice is made with the mantra “no butter, ever,” and all the ingredients are free-range, sustainable, and organically grown. Plus, the food quality far exceeds its chain competitors including Protein Bar and Freshii. Just go and take a bite into that delicious Chronic wrap with all of its chimichurri goodness, you’ll understand.

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Left Coast, best coast? New healthy restaurant is tasty at a price