When are sweet faces happy? Answer: Whenever fun food is involved! Here’s out daughter eating some of her favorite foods while out and about with mommy and daddy a couple of weeks ago. We’d gone out early to vote in midterm elections, and we rewarded her patience with lunch at Nic’s Organic Fast Food inside Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. I had been invited to try out Nic’s food awhile ago, but busy life had always given me something else to do. Now, it was time to finally check out America’s first certified organic drive-thru – and to see if they’d get the seal of approval from the fiercest food critic: our daughter 😉
Nic’s Organic Fast Food opened two restaurants in Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg IL last year, and its owners have big expansion plans: a new location is due to open in the Chicago Loop next week, another one in Evanston in 2019, and a few more are in the works in major cities across the US over the next five years.
While established fast food chains only offer one or two organic items, Nic’s offers an all-organic menu featuring made-to-order organic beef, vegetarian and vegan burgers, salads and shakes, as well as chicken nuggets, grilled chicken sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, and NicFries. Every ingredient, certification of each product, food suppliers and sanitation must meet the stringent Quality Assurance International (QAI) standards for certified organic.
Equally impressive, Nic’s is the only fast food restaurant in the country where diners can enjoy food options for nearly every dietary lifestyle: low-carb, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. Without exception, every item has zero harmful pesticides, preservatives, ionizing radiation, artificial dyes or colors, hormones or GMOs.
Organic fast food is an exciting concept for me, as a foodie and as a parent, and I couldn’t wait to see if the flavors of Nic’s fast food were on par with the hype. We decided to try a variety of items from their menu, beginning with the BigNic bacon double cheeseburger, topped with applewood smoked bacon. I often skip eating fast food altogether because I hate feeling bloated and miserable afterwards. Moreover, trying to find the original flavor of the meat with so many additives in it is just mission impossible: those burgers don’t even taste of meat, right? Yet, that was not the case with Nic’s burgers. My husband and I loved the grass-fed Angus beef patties, which had a clean flavor and a lean texture, without the grease you’d normally find coating your mouth while eating burgers from a conventional fast food joint. Nic’s burgers had pure beef flavor and no nasty fillers, and were yummy and decadent while staying true to the original taste of the meat. Heads-up: Nic’s pillowy, soft burger buns are worth the hype too!
I believe getting a veggie patty right can be challenging, and that’s why I always order the vegetarian burger when I review a burger joint. Nic’s organic veggie burger patty was made up of mushrooms, peppers and brown rice, and had a pleasant sweetness and a resilient texture I thoroughly enjoyed (no more crumbling patties for me, thank you very much!). My only minor suggestion regards the organic ketchup, which was way too sweet in my opinion, and made the veggie burger even sweeter as a result.
Crunchy and not greasy, the organic NicFries were the perfect accompaniment to the burgers. I could taste the potato flavor straight away instead of tasting oil and salt, and not much else. So good!
Our daughter was a big fan of NicFries. This picture tells a thousand words: 🙂
We ended lunch with shakes and sundaes. DH loved the strawberry shake, while I fell in love with the scrumptious hot fudge sundae. I am a big ice cream fan, yet lately I have steered clear of fast food sundaes for the same reason that I have steered clear of burgers: they’re heavy, chock-full of added things (a boatload of sugar, in the case of sundaes), and not particularly flavorful to begin with. Again, Nic’s sundaes, like all its other products, proved to be the exception to the norm. I could taste the wholesomeness of the cream that had been used in the ice cream, while the sugar punch came second. Not overly sweet and true to the flavors of its original ingredients, this sundae was the perfect honest ending to an honest meal:
We left Nic’s Organic Fast Food with full bellies and happy hearts, and delighted to have been able to offer our daughter a quality meal. Organic fast food is more expensive than conventional fare, yet I encourage you to give it a try from time to time since the flavors are clean and utterly refreshing. Vying to go without artificial dyes or preservatives and to undertake strict third-party certification, Nic’s owners have definitely staked the deck high for themselves. Having tried the food and having seen the smile on my daughter’s face, I believe the future looks promising for this exciting new concept, and Nic’s pledge is well worth it 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I received a complimentary tasting to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.