Apr 25, 2024 - News

5 things to know about the new Wicker Park Cava

salad and pita chips and drink on a tray

A spicy greens bowl with pita chips, garlic dip and crazy feta, along with an unsweetened jasmine iced tea. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

I've been hungry for Cava's Chicago debut ever since I tried the Mediterranean chain in D.C. last winter.

Why it matters: The restaurant, already in 25 states, opens in Wicker Park tomorrow morning at Milwaukee and Honore.

How it works: Kind of like Chipotle. Diners can build bowls from a selection of greens, lentils, falafel, chicken, hummus, tzatziki and other sauces, or get a chef-curated combo.

The verdict: On a preview visit, my chef-curated "spicy greens" bowl ($12.05) was just as delish as I remembered from D.C., at prices comparable to IDOF and Rōti.

mural on wall
Chicago mural at Cava in Wicker Park. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Five more things that caught my eye:

  • Real bowls and silverware that reduce waste and make lunch feel special.
  • House-brewed drinks ($3.50), including unsweetened black and jasmine tea you can mix with seasonal juices.
  • Crisp pita chips ($2.75) with delicious whipped feta and jalapeños called crazy feta ($4.10).
  • Cava's "community days" to raise money for local nonprofits including Dion's Dream.
  • A cool Chicago mural in the sunny dining room created by local artist Alyssa Low.

What's next: Expect long lines for weeks but calmer times when Cava opens a location in Vernon Hills this summer.

Drink dispensers
Iced teas and fruit drinks at Cava in Wicker Park. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios
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