New Food in Two ‘Hoods

November 07 2013 - 9:00 AM

Doughnuts are so last year. Doughnut gelato sandwiches are so last month. Right now? It’s all about healthy, fast food that is, above all, affordable and accessible. Take a look around your neighborhood and you probably know what I’m talking about.

In the Gold Coast, they’ve got Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen. In Lincoln Park, it’s Standard Market Grille. While there are other similar concepts popping up around the city, like Lyfe Kitchen, there isn’t any comparison quite like these two.

The Concept

If you walk into one restaurant you’ll feel as if you could be in the other. Both have a sophisticated air – certainly for a place where you order at the front. Both are dimly lit, filled with booths of friends sipping cocktails and chowing down on sandwiches. Waiters stop by to serve food and any additional drinks.

While neither considers itself a “healthy” restaurant, both are based off of healthy choices, from kale salads to turkey burgers with hearty whole -wheat buns. At Doc B’s, they emphasize freshness and quality, especially for the value. Founder Craig Bernstein says that while most people start coming in for the salads and burgers, repeat customers end up coming back and trying out an entrée, like steak, which you can get for a fraction of the price of a nearby spot, such as Gibson’s. 

The Food

Both restaurants have great choices for breakfast through dinner. You’ll find brown rice bowls, filling salads, flat pizzas, sandwiches and plenty of vegetarian options. I thought my Doc B’s ahi tuna salad was extremely high-quality, and while it wasn’t cheap at $16, I would agree that it was comparable to a nice restaurant. I also had what I would say are hands down the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever eaten. They were thick-cut, tossed in salt and sugar, and perfectly crispy on the outside.

While the menu is extremely similar at Standard, it’s a bit more fairly priced, likely for the Lincoln Park crowd. However, some items were not quite as standout compared to Doc’s, like those fries. If you’ve ever been to Bandera on Michigan Ave., you might experience some déjà vu. The veggie burger at Standard is exactly the same as the highly-coveted, and expensive, burger from Bandera. And Doc’s ahi salad is strikes a strong similarity to Bandera’s as well. 

The Verdict

The two restaurants aren’t distinguishable enough from each other to really provide a recommendation of one over the other. I would more likely say pick the one in a more convenient location for you. Both are great for grabbing dinner with friends on a Saturday night when you forgot to make a reservation or grabbing dinner or the way home from the gym. It’s inexpensive, quality food – and I can’t complain about having two different restaurants to choose from.