Cava, a Mega Popular Fast-Casual Chain, Is Opening Its First Chicago Location

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Cava, a quick-service Mediterranean restaurant chain based in Maryland, has finally revealed the location for its first Chicago location.

The chain announced a major nationwide expansion in summer 2023 and teased a Chicago arrival. That will happen this spring in Wicker Park at 1484 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Cava’s first store in the Midwest.

The brand’s known for bountiful (and Eater Bowl Bowl-winning) bowls, Cava is aiming for a late April or early May debut. Our Eater colleagues who frequent Cava rave about the value-minded vegetarian and healthy options for lunch: “You may not like it, but this is what peak bowl looks like,” one Eater superfan wrote in 2020.

The Chicago location previously housed an outpost of local vegetarian chain Native Foods, reps tell the Sun-Times. The company has grown significantly over recent years and shows no signs of slowing. It opened 72 locations last year and plans to add as many as 52 more in 2024.

A corner storefront with windows and white brick.
Cava is coming to this corner space in Wicker Park.
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

The new Chicago restaurant’s 3,100 square-foot space will seat 30 and serve a selection of Mediterranean-influenced grain and vegetable bowls with mix-and-match ingredients and various types of hummus, tzatziki, falafel, and proteins like spicy lamb meatballs. Patrons can also opt for hefty pita wraps stuffed with harissa honey chicken (balsamic date vinaigrette), falafel (roasted eggplant, pickles, zhoug), and more. To wash it all down, the team will offer an array of juices such as pineapple apple mint, blueberry lavender, and cucumber mint lime.

Childhood friends Ike Grigoropoulos, chef Dimitri Moshovitis, and Ted Xenohristos founded Cava in 2010 with partner Brett Schulman as a causal riff on the big Sunday lunches the trio devoured each week after attending their Greek church’s Sunday school throughout their youth. Their company, Cava Hospitality, also owns fast-casual chain Zoe’s Kitchen and upscale Greek spot Melina in Bethesda, Maryland, ranked among Eater’s 38 essential restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area.

Cava Wicker Park, 1484 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Scheduled to open in late April or early March.

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