Of all the restaurants that market to the uber-health conscious patron, none hammer it home quite as much as U-Food. The George Foreman-sponsored (and yes, his face is prominently featured) lunch spot for the Loop proudly declares they "bake, grill, steam, but never fry," as well as use light dressings and lean meats. That doesn't mean they don't have French fries: they're called "Unfries" here, an oven-baked potato treat without the trans fats.
An orange-green template fills the room – and so do hordes of active employees behind the counter – which subconsciously reminds the customer of the carrots on its menu marking vegetarian choices. But hey, there's meat here too! Choose from cheeseburgers and "better bacon" (a.k.a turkey bacon) burgers and portabella chicken and so forth. The food lives up to fairly high-end fast food quality, and your body will probably thank you for the leaner meat. One of the cafe's best qualities may be a wonderful variety of sides – whole-grain brown rice, fresh steamed broccoli, seasoned black beans – all vegetarian and all under $2.50. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to spend money like crazy here. About 90 percent of the menu is under $6.99.
The sight of the fountain drinks is quite humorous at first glance, but it does cleverly and practically fit with the theme; your options to drink: Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Caffeine-free Diet Coke, Minute Maid Lemonade Lite, Sprite and Sprite Zero. Probably the most refreshing aspect of U-food is the complete lack of grease, a rarity in just about any restaurant these days. But to the true health-lover, be cautious: A few of the items go above 800 calories and as high as 13 grams of saturated fat, so – as always – do your research.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Andy Seifert