Mana In The News

Michelin Guide -   Feeling like your body needs a jump-start? Mana, whose name translates to “the life force coursing through nature,” is a good place to get your mojo back. Though welcoming to vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free diners, and anyone who’s looking for a nutrient boost, it’s not just health food: the small space also offers a full bar with sake cocktails, smoothies, and freshly squeezed juices. Mana may be a tiny spot, but its diverse menu of vegetarian dishes is big on taste—and spice. Korean bibimbap mixes a roster of vegetables like pea pods, roasted carrots, and pickled daikon with a fresh sunny side-up egg; while horseradish and cracked black pepper sneak into macaroni and cheese. House-made hot sauce with serranos and jalapeños adds extra pep to any dish.    ...

Forbes - No doubt, this is the trend of the year. Beyond the 90% increase in vegan searches on Google in the past year, even McDonald’s rolled out a vegan burger as part of its permanent menu in select countries and Pizza Hut is testing vegan cheese in England. In 2018, the powerful influence of plant-based foods continues. From dropping the quotes around “cheese” for the commonplace vegan “cheese” on burgers to more plant-based meat entrees on the menu: Restaurants are finally catching on. Expectedly, vegetarian-focused chains such as By Chloe and Veggie Grill will continue to grow. More chains will join the likes of Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs in providing vegan or vegetarian frozen dessert options. One of the most exciting developments is Google’s “plant-forward” menu, which sees the tech giant working along with Panera Bread, Hilton Hotels, Stanford University, Unilever, and Sodexo to changing the way its employees eat. TRY THIS AT: Mana Food Bar in Chicago...

Chicago Magazine  - If you’ve strolled past Mana Food Bar lately, you’ve seen the first signs of Anaba Handroll Bar (1742 W. Division St., Wicker Park), the 15-seater that’s about to set up shop in the front section of Mana’s dining room. Mana (which is open during renovations) will continue its meatless business as usual, and Anaba—a two-sided bar in the middle of the room—will get rolling in mid-October. The project is a collaboration between Mana owners Jill Barron and Susan Thompson and Soon Park, who owns Chef Soon in Woodbridge. Soon’s menu at Anaba, predictably, will comprise hand rolls—roughly a dozen—packed with sustainable seafood such as salmon, crab, and hamachi, plus veggie handrolls by Jill Barron. Warm rice will accompany the fillings, and toasted nori will hold things together. An array of sauces with varying spice levels will be yours for the dipping. Rolls will be priced from $4 to $8 apiece, or sold in predetermined groupings of three or five. A daily nigiri or two rounds out the food offerings, and drinks will include tap sake, tap beer, and cocktails. Thompson says hand roll aficionados should prepare to be dazzled. “Ours will be especially delicious because the nori will be toasted, nice and crunchy and crisp. The rice will be warm and the fish cold. It’s the perfect combination,” she says....

Eater Chicago An entirely vegetarian-friendly menu, which is also mostly vegan-safe, satisfies non-meat-eaters with a variety of options. There's a heavy Korean influence while sliders, gyoza, and green curry noodles are some of the globally-inspired favorites. Eat this: Mushroom sauté over creamy polenta is a simple yet satisfying dish that is loaded with D.  ...

Culture Trip   What is a petite and apparently unassuming establishment from the outside, hidden away among the bustling throng of stylish bars and boutiques which dominate the area, is in reality one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Wicker Park and Bucktown. The adorably quaint Mana Food Bar specializes in small, flavorful and healthy dishes, ideal for sharing and, as meat-lovers are so pleasantly surprised to discover, exceptionally filling. Choose from a diverse menu of veggie and vegan options from all over the world including hot and cold dishes such as sesame noodles and peanut sauce, sweet potato pancakes with chutney or the famous Mana slider burger, in simple, stylish surroundings, and thankfully at a decent price. There is even a covered outdoor patio when the weather is fine. Translated ‘the life force in nature,’ Mana is certainly a force to be reckoned with....

Eater Chicago   Mana Food Bar shocked Wicker Park when it opened in 2008, shattering expectations to what a vegetarian restaurant could accomplish. Executive chef/partner Jill Barron crafted a menu the fused flavors from all across the world, with a focus on Korea....

by Meg Mathis | Michigan Avenue  Naomi Beckwith and William J. O’Brien toast the Chicago art scene. Since joining the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator Naomi Beckwith has gained renown for thought-provoking exhibits like “Homebodies,” an examination of the role of domesticity in art. Beckwith’s latest project is “William J. O’Brien,” the artist’s first major survey exhibition, which opens January 25 at the MCA. In addition to their mutual passion for art, Beckwith and O’Brien—whose preferred media include drawings, paintings, ceramics, and textiles—share a foodie’s enthusiasm for vegetarian fare. Recently the duo met with Michigan Avenue at Division Street’s Mana Food Bar, where the discussion centered on staying mindful of both appetite and art as they welcome the New Year. Naomi, why did you suggest we meet here? NAOMI BECKWITH: Bill suggested that we come here. It had been on my list, but I hadn’t been yet. WILLIAM O'BRIEN: They have a really good selection of smaller and larger plates. It’s hard to find good vegetarian restaurants; a lot of people come here who aren’t vegetarian, but the food is so good. Are you both vegetarian? WO: I’m mostly, but not all. Are you? NB: I’m completely vegetarian. I’ve been veggie—like a lot of folks—since high school. My mother’s side of the family is vegetarian, so some of my vegetarianism is family-based, but for me there were all sorts of ethical reasons to keep with it. It’s better for the earth, but above all— WO: Nutrition, and balance...