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Little Goat Bakery

Restaurants, Bakeries West Loop
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(7user reviews)
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLittle Goat Diner
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLittle Goat Diner
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLittle Goat Diner
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLittle Goat Diner
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLittle Goat Diner
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLittle Goat Diner
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLittle Goat Diner
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLittle Goat Diner

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

I don’t think of red carpeting when I think of diners. I don’t like to think of carpeting when it comes to any restaurant, really, but I especially don’t think of carpeted diners. Nor do I associate diners with anything from the era that plush red carpeting comes from (that’s the ’70s). When I walked into Little Goat and saw that carpet, and the golden vintage wallpaper, and the wood booths, I thought it reflected the spirit not of the chrome diner of “Nighthawks,” but of the 24-hour, family-friendly, breakfast-all-day restaurants where teenagers perfect their angst. Think Perkins/Denny’s/Waffle House. The fact that on each visit to Little Goat I found myself surrounded by young families and their babies only fed into this.

But, of course, I purposely showed up at Little Goat at odd hours in an attempt to miss the crowds, which a 5:30pm arrival just barely does (by 6:30pm, you’re probably in for a wait). Stephanie Izard draws crowds no matter what she does (I recently received a press release from a dental association claiming dentists voted Izard as the Chicago chef with the best smile, proving the woman need not do anything but flash her teeth to get attention), but the idea of a Stephanie Izard diner is particularly enticing. Because the sad truth nobody wants to admit about diners is diners are not very good. You can romanticize them all you want (and God knows chefs in this town love to point to Diner Grill as their favorite spot), but all that romance gets you are pancakes of concrete, burgers of frightening origins and ice water in yellow glasses that used to be clear. Which is why a Stephanie Izard diner appeals—she’s an insurance policy, a promise that this diner will be better.

So to eat at Little Goat and find that some of the food has been left true—overly true—to the diner food that inspires it is disheartening and very unappetizing. The pitfalls are all over the menu: lifeless mashed potatoes that quickly dry into hard clumps on the plate. Limp fries wilting under bland goat chili. An uninspired plate of trout and an overcooked plate of shrimp, exhibit A and exhibit B in the case against ordering diner seafood.

By the way, those shrimp were wrapped in somen noodles, then (over)fried and placed in lettuce cups that came to my table black around the edges and plastered to the plate as if with glue. Our server told us to use the lettuce to pick up the shrimp, so I did, peeling a piece off and taking one awful, chewy bite. Later, the server came around and said, “Wow, your lettuce looks really disgusting,” before bringing out replacement cups. But the damage was done, and, besides, even crisp lettuce couldn’t save these shrimp. This was the same lunch where I had to order three different beers before finding one Little Goat had in stock, and even that one came in a half-full glass. “It’s all we have left,” the server said. It wasn’t her fault; the kitchen was all out of the housemade soda that day, too. And also regular cream soda. Our poor server was just the messenger, and she seemed as bewildered as I was that a BOKA Group restaurant could operate in such a disorganized way. It’s not how it usually does things. It’s not even how Denny’s does things.

Needless to say, my disappointment with Little Goat runs deep.

But there were wonderful moments at Little Goat, times when I knew I was eating at a Stephanie Izard restaurant. One came at breakfast, when sun poured into the space and transformed it from a cartoonish replica into the most pleasant room on Randolph Street. That morning, I ate a paratha breakfast burrito garnished with a salad of avocado, beans, sliced chilies and some frisée—a classic Izard flourish that shows how deftly she can finesse a dish with bright, vibrant flavors. I supplemented that with a gingerbread muffin from Little Goat Bread, the connected but separate business that traffics in baked goods, sandwiches, salads and soups. Everything I’ve had from LGB has been a success, this gem of a muffin included. Nothing, though, was better than the Americano that came from LGB’s coffee bar: It tasted like dark chocolate. It’s the best Americano I’ve ever had.

Another fine moment: the classic cheeseburger, which tastes like a Big Mac would if a Big Mac had good beef, crisp lettuce, crunchy onions, etc. Another one: the “fork pork chop,” a massively tender cut of pork shoulder that flakes apart underneath a piquant relish of kimchi and cauliflower. Another one: the fried chicken, a crunchy, salty, juicy pile of legs and thighs. The only problem with that plate of chicken was the standard-issue coleslaw, which was not only pedestrian but also scooped directly onto the hot plate, unlike diners everywhere, where it is plated in a separate bowl to keep it cool. There are so many diner traditions that Little Goat should let go of; here, finally, was one I wish it had embraced.

By: David Tamarkin



Address: 820 W Randolph St
Cross street: between Green and Halsted Sts
Transport: El stop:Green,Pink to Morgan. Bus:8.
Price: Average sandwich: $9
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 7am-10pm; Fri, Sat 7am-midnight
Do you own this business?

Users say (7)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

Every time a friend comes to town, I bring them to Little Goat. Love this place. I am always torn between the gluten free pancakes (which are bom) and the Los Drowned. Since I am GF, they always put the Los Drowned on these big crispy corn chip things (they probably have a name but I can't think of it). Anyway, its delicious. The service is pretty good. There is usually a wait but you can go to the coffee shop that is connected to kill some time. Yay for Little Goat!


I get it, it's Stephanie Izard and that is reason enough to add LG to your Chicago bucket list. It's been on mine for quite some time so I finally made the journey. It was a Monday around noon and I wasn't surprised to learn when I called that there was a 20 minute wait.

The nice surprise was parking was a plenty and free! Walked in, gave our name and phone number and headed to the washroom. I counted about six empty tables so while there probably was a good reason for the wait, the perception was...why exactly do we have to wait 20 minutes during my hour long lunch break? Side note, big fan of the wall papered doors and hand dryers in the bathrooms.

They text us when our table was ready and we had our choice of inside or outside, bonus! Server was able to speak to the menu options and give us some recommendations. We started with the fried pickles and onion rings. These were really more like tempura than fried pickles and I mean that in the very best way possible. The curry mustard dipping sauce was nothing less than inspired! Off to a great start....then I ordered the pork belly pancake and went splitsies with my friend who ordered the Los Drowned.

I definitely win when it comes to best orderer of the lunch! Pork belly was buried in a plethora of pickled veggies with the most perfect balance of hoison sauce. It wasn't overwhelming to any of the other flavors, including the subtle scallion tones of the crispy pancake.

I did not care for the Los Drowned. The braised beef had a thick line of fat through it. I didn't find it all that tender. It was a little messy to eat and I couldn't taste much of the avocado, but I did get a lot of the roasted pepper flavor. Might have to say, maybe too much.

So two sandwiches (ala carte) and a shared appetizer of friend pickles, water and the bill split two ways was about $21 per person. I was fully aware going in that this is what it would be, but I hate to be that guy to say it might have been slightly overhyped and a little overpriced. Glad I went. I would go again, but it wouldn't be based on my suggestion.


Little Goat is my go-to for a quick, delicious bite to eat. You really can't go wrong with this diner. I've been here countless times and I'm always satisfied with my experience here. 

Yum, yum, and yum again! Plus, you can frequently get in here, when you can't at Girl & the Goat.

I like Little Goat but I don't love it. They used to have a friend pickle sandwich that apparently only I was obsessed with because now it's gone. I have had a few other things from the menu that I would eat again if offered but I wouldn't go out of my way to keep coming back here. There are so many other amazing restaurants around Little Goat Diner that I would probably pick to go other places.

It's fine. Little Goat Diner is a Chicago go-to, but there hasn't been anything on the menu that's really wow'ed me. In all fairness, this could be because of my vegetarian diet. Then again, I'd rather stop by one of the other spots on this restaurant row for more adventurous offerings.


Let’s face it—there aren’t many affordable places to grab a bite on Chicago’s hottest strip of restaurants. Little Goat Diner bucks the trend, offering up heaping plates of grub for a relatively low price, all of which were conceived by the same chef who runs the nearby dining destination, The Girl and the Goat. Because this is a diner, you can order breakfast foods at any time of the day or dig into a gigantic pork sandwich covered in slaw. During the summer, the upstairs patio is a great spot to devour a plate of nachos and gaze at the skyline.