At first glance, The Bad Apple restaurant in Chicago's North Center neighborhood might not strike a parent as kid friendly. This hip venue, famous for its gourmet burgers and fries, offers patrons more than 100 beers from which to choose and turns into a lively bar scene most evenings.
But take a closer look at the all-fresh ingredients and the clever kids' menu, and it's clear this eatery is perfect for parents and children alike.
One of the main reasons parents love to dine here is The Bad Apple's philosophy on healthy eating.
"There are no chemicals, pesticides or hormones in any of our products," says owner and chef Craig Fass. "... The problem lies in the fillers and additives. But when the beef is free-range, grass-fed, 'happy meat' and the potatoes are all natural, then the food is clean and delicious."
And delicious it is. Those with adventurous palates should try Elvis' Last Supper, a burger topped with peanut butter and bacon ("trust us, it's good," the menu promises) or The Hangover, a burger lavished with house-glazed ham, over-easy egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, mayo, mustard, provolone and fries served on a pretzel bun. Kids can choose a more basic burger or play chef themselves by ordering a "Creat-ables" sandwich where they make their own.
And the fries-oh, the fries! These award-winning creations come in a variety of tantalizing flavors: truffle oil, firecracker, old bay, curry, minced garlic, sweet and spicy chipotle, creole and, for the less daring, plain.
Fass even makes his own ketchup. "When we are feeding some kids twice a week, we feel morally obligated to give them the best food we can."