The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Left Coast Warms Up Lakeview's Lincoln Ave. With Big Star Chef's Sunny Menu

By Ariel Cheung | April 28, 2016 5:49am
 Left Coast Food and Juice opened Wednesday in the former Muskie's, 2878 N. Lincoln Ave.
Left Coast Food and Juice opened Wednesday in the former Muskie's, 2878 N. Lincoln Ave.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

LAKEVIEW — Rainy dreariness gave way to an air of California sunshine on Lincoln Avenue, where Left Coast Food and Juice opened Wednesday with all-day breakfast and cold-pressed juice.

Left Coast opened at 2878 N. Lincoln Ave., replacing Muskie's, a beloved greasy spoon that closed in September 2014.

The char-broiled burgers and malts have been swapped out for healthier fare like smoothies, wraps, salads and cold-pressed juice (although Left Coast is still waiting on city approval before it can sell the juice).

"As much of a staple as Muskie's was in the neighborhood, it seems everyone really wanted that healthy influx of options," said Miguel Lopez, the operating partner. "It's been nothing but positivity about the menu."

Lopez partnered with Michael Madden, and the pair collaborated with Paul Kahan — the noted chef for Big Star, The Publican, Blackbird, Avec and Nico Osteria.

Fresh vegetables are elevated in dishes like the Cadillac Curry ($11), made with roasted garnet yams, green beans, pickled sultanas, basil, mint and toasted coconut.

Most entrees range from $10-$12, although wraps like the $15 Chronic wrap (steak, 7-minute egg, carrots, red onion, spinach and chimichurri) are slightly pricier. Breakfast dishes are served all day and include buckwheat pancakes, Montecito hash and crepes filled with smoked salmon, ricotta cheese, apples and a lemon vinaigrette.

Cold-pressed juice is a centerpiece at the west Lakeview eatery, and most are $9.50. Four lighter options are $5.50, like the Mighty Mick (apple, kale, cucumber and lemon) and the Mega Maddox milk (almond milk, cacao, macca powder, dates and vanilla).

Left Coast expanded the old Muskie's into the dry cleaner's next door to add a dining area. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

Nine premium juices contain unusual ingredients like activated charcoal in the Paint It Black, which also has ginger, turmeric, lime and coconut water. There's also the spicy Light My Fire (kale, jalapeño, bell pepper and lime) and the sweet Kashmir (almond milk, vanilla, goji berry, agave and white pepper).

There are also smoothies like the Kale Mary (blueberry, kale and avocado) and the Mornin' Buzz (espresso, cacao, peanut butter and bananas). A children's menu includes fun options like Uncle Rico's quesadilla and a sunflower butter and jam sandwich — both $6.

The modest prices were important to Madden, who previously said he felt there was a need for healthy, affordable options in Chicago. 

"I had trouble finding places that fit into my fast-paced lifestyle, where I didn't have to spend $20-plus on a salad," he said last month.

Left Coast's decor is meant to pay tribute to the West Coast's laid-back vibe. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

Left Coast renovations expanded into the former dry cleaner's next to the Muskie's building, providing space for about 40 seats, plus barstool seating near the kitchen and front of the restaurant. A new, triangle-shaped patio will have additional seating once the weather warms up.

The decor is "as minimalistic as possible," Lopez said, and an homage to the West Coast, where Madden spent several years before returning to his hometown Chicago.

"We want to make sure the experience you have matches the food," Lopez said. "The environment is warm and community-focused — very Chicago. We hope people can grab onto that and feel this energy inside Left Coast."

Left Coast is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.


Left Coast Food And Juice Opening In April In Lakeview's Former Muskie's

Muskie's Closing After 34 Years In Lakeview, But Owner Says He'll Be Back

Can Southport Stay Charming, Or Will National Chains Drive Out Diversity?

Coda Di Volpe Opening In July, Bringing Billy Lawless To Southport Corridor