What could beat an iced chai on the riverwalk? Four flavorful kinds of chai on the riverwalk, maybe.
All this and more awaits tourists and locals alike along the east portion of the walking strip along the river right off the Michigan Avenue bridge at Chiya Chai Cafe, the second location of the beloved Logan Square spot that serves authentic Nepalese cuisine. Although patrons will not be able to experience the entire ambiance of the quaint location on Milwaukee Avenue, the riverwalk location brings its most popular items to a larger clientele.
The establishment sits just off the riverwalk with an assortment of other shrunken local spots along a strip. The item that should not be missed is its namesake: chai lattes. On a hot day, an iced chai latte serves the river's long walk, perfectly cooling down patrons as they explore the city's sights and nightlife. Both the Ginger Cardamom and Coconut Creme chais deviate from the original masalas in a slightly spicy, but tame way. The slight heat pairs excellently with both whole milk or almond milk.
Although Chiya Chai is known for its creative and authentic chai flavors, its food on the riverwalk is a surprising delight. The kitchen is notably smaller than the Logan Square location, but it did not hold the flavor or authenticity of the original hostage. Creamy and spicy curry is still the guiding ingredient for each of the bowls, with the standout being the original Creamy Masala Chicken. The savory pies, while crumbly and not secure, bring the same cream and spice to a small, almost handheld level. It's easiest to eat them with a fork and knife, so for on-the-go snackers, this establishment lacks something portable and fast.
Chiya Chai's new location allows expansion and more eyes on the local spot's menu. Even with the smaller menu and limited options, the items do not disappoint lovers of the Logan Square location.
The biggest downside? The riverwalk location will only be open during the summer, so stop by soon to get your Nepalese fixings before it's gone.