On my recent Chicago trip, Thursday-Saturday afternoon was going to be family time in the suburbs and Saturday night through Monday night was going to be time with friends in the city. It turned out some family time overlapped with the city as my cousin had a comedy performance at the Annoyance Theater in Lake View. This worked out great, because it meant I was able to stop by the Gluten-Free Cookie Jar and get some awesome gluten-free treats. It was also a great and funny show!
The show didn’t go that late and we hadn’t eaten dinner beforehand (although I had eaten several meals worth of gluten-free baked goods right before), so my aunt and I were a bit hungry. I saw that a place on my gluten-free list, Wilde’s, was just a few blocks from the theater. I’m glad it worked out perfectly to come into the city to see my cousin’s show and then find a place nearby for dinner afterwards because Wilde’s was a place I wanted to check out, but hadn’t prioritized towards the top of my list. It ended up being one of my favorite meals of my trip, so I am glad the stars aligned!
My aunt and I walked the few blocks to the restaurant. A block or so away things started to look familiar. We passed Jersey Mike’s Subs, which triggered a hazy memory. Then we passed a building and I saw a sign for a Japanese restaurant. Just as it all clicked in my mind I knew to look to the right for a set of stairs going up to the second floor of the building. Sure enough it was steps to my friend’s old apartment where I stayed two Chicago trips ago! It also made me remember that we had passed Wilde’s on that trip and my friend had highly recommended it.
Wilde’s on the inside is like an upscale pub of sorts with some cool decor. My aunt and I got a table and I excitedly looked over the gluten-free menu (which is pretty extensive). I already knew from looking at the menu online that the mac and cheese was a must as a starter. The cheddar artichoke dip and one of the flat breads also looked good, but I refrained at least this visit. I was also a little bit torn on what to get as my entree though. A burger looked good and so did the buffalo chicken sandwich, but then the ultimate grilled cheese also caught my eye. The grilled cheese had Gruyere, aged cheddar, mozzarella, brie, roasted tomato concasse, fried shallots, candied bacon confetti melted in a Parmesan-crust… Sounds heavenly. Ultimately though (no pun intended with the ultimate grilled cheese) I thought the grilled cheese and the mac and cheese was maybe a little too much… well cheese. Instead I went for the bison burger.
Since my aunt also wanted mac and cheese, she decided to get it as her entree and share it with me (she knew she wouldn’t be able to eat a lot of it). I’m glad we went for the larger one, because this was probably the best mac and cheese I’ve had. It was just so dang good. My aunt (who eats gluten-free more recently, but still knows good gluten food) agreed that it was one of the best mac and cheeses she’s had (and it’s a gluten-free version!). The bread crumbs on top were crispy, but not overdone and dried out. Inside the saucy was creamy and thick (not too watery), the noodles were tender, and then there was the added flavor of the Irish bacon, tomatoes, and onions. I also liked the subtle difference from the Irish cheddar they used. I think that description partially does the mac and cheese justice, but it was just so good! We took a little bit home for leftovers and it was equally delicious the next morning (what a way to start off the day!).
My bison burger came out on a Udi’s gluten-free bun and was very delicious. I really liked the addition of the herb mayonnaise (and I’m not even a big mayonnaise fan here). It was hard to follow-up that mac and cheese, but the bison burger would be a top gluten-free item on a lot of other restaurants’ menus and I was happy with my decision. I also was a big fan of the fries. They were thick to be potatoey, but with just the right amount of crisp.
For originally not being at the top of my Chicago gluten-free exploration list, I was really glad everything aligned to visit Wilde’s. The mac and cheese was seriously the best ever and the bison burger was also very delicious. I have no doubt I will be back to Wilde’s on my next trip (and probably every Chicago trip after) for the mac and cheese. Most likely I will get the large entree size just to myself (and I’ll guard those leftovers aggressively). I also can’t deny I still really want to try the ultimate grillled cheese. I won’t be able to visit and not get the mac and cheese (let’s be honest), so I think one time I’m just going to need to bite the bullet and overdose on cheese by getting both. Wilde’s come highly recommended for anyone in Lake View in general. For gluten-frees on the north side it’s definitely worth a detour for their gluten-free menu. And if you’re a mac and cheese lover who is now gluten-free then I think Wilde’s is a must (even if you’re farther away). They also have a gluten-free brunch menu with a delicious sounding eggs Benedict (something to try on the next trip). The pictures do not do the food justice, but you’ll find them below.
Wilde’s Bar and Restaurant- 3130 N Broadway Chicago, IL