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When it Comes to Vegan Dining in Philly, The Home of The Cheesesteak Proudly Vedges Out

by  CN Team on October 31, 2017
When it Comes to Vegan Dining in Philly, The Home of The Cheesesteak Proudly Vedges Out

It’s a curious thing that Philadelphia, a city so renowned for its cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches, could also foster one of the nation’s most robust vegan food scenes, with new additions popping up every year. Upscale diners can find delight in the shared plates at Vedge and the coursed and home-style elegance of Miss Rachel’s Pantry, while those seeking a quick bite can swing by Goldie for falafel or Blackbird Pizza for fare that is more traditionally Philadelphian. Factor in some coffee shops, bars and even a diner, and vegan eaters will see—and taste—that the city’s offerings have something for every palate, day or night.

Here’s a look at some of Philadelphia’s vegan treasures:

BLACK-OWNED

All the Way Live Café – Alkalizing foods (select fruits, vegetables and whole grains) are the point of this Germantown cafe, where the menu includes seaweed salads, chickpea burgers and coconut cream pie on an almond and date crust. 6108 Germantown Avenue, (215) 821-7298, alllivefood.com

Herban Eats – At this University City locavore venue, both carnivore and vegan options focus on lean proteins and unrefined carbs. Regulars swear by the sweet potato mash, hibiscus ginger tea and Herban hot sauce. 3601 Market Street, (215) 386-5000, herbanqualityeats.com

Stripp’d Juice – At the mostly vegan Old City and Fishtown locations of this cold-press juicery, everyone seems to have a fave: Jala At Ya Boy, Woodermelon, Wise Pine—all made from ingredients from local farms and purveyors. But the sleek, handsome spots don’t stop there: They’re also known for making outstanding açai and matcha bowls, chipotle guac toast and nut milks. 263 N. 3rd Street, (267) 550-7877; 1428 Frankford Avenue, (267) 591-7718, strippdjuice.com

The Nile Cafe – Vegan and vegetarian soul food have come from this Germantown destination for over 20 years. Menu staples such as pepper steak and chicken and gravy accompany a variety of salads, daily soup specials and plenty of desserts. 6008 Germantown Avenue, (215) 843-6453

 

FINE DINING

Vedge – The granddaddy of all local vegan establishments elevates meatless cuisine to unparalleled elegance. Chef Rich Landau fashions carpaccio from portobello mushrooms and fondue from rutabagas while his wife, pastry chef Kate Jacoby, coaxes fig cheesecake, halva panna cotta and zucchini bread pudding from only plant-based ingredients. 1221 Locust Street, (215) 320-7500, vedgerestaurant.com

Miss Rachel’s Pantry – Chef Rachel Klein followed up her stint working with Landau and Jacoby, with this daytime luncheonette, caterer and restaurant offering a limited-seating weekend dinner around a farmhouse table. The six-course menu changes seasonally but may include seitan piccata, roasted red pepper grits and black garlic-cashew ricotta dumplings.1938 S. Chadwick Street, (215) 798-0053, missrachelspantry.com

Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille – This forerunner to today’s hip vegan joints cooks up plant-forward fare in Bucks County. While many dishes have some dairy, vegans enjoy selections like the ginger scallion miso ramen bowl, tacos verduras (vegetables) with pumpkin seed-crusted tofu and “chicken” and waffles with mushrooms and fennel butter. 727 2nd Street Pike, Southampton, (215) 942-8888, bluesagevegetariangrille.com

Mi Lah Vegetarian – Weekend brunch draws vegans to the suburban and city locations of Mi Lah, home to a completely vegetarian menu with favorites such as tofu Benedict and oversized pumpkin pancakes with blueberry soy butter. The eclectic dinner menu features tofu, seitan and inventive veg dishes. 615 S. 3rd Street, (215) 309-5135; 40 W. Skippack Pike, Ambler, (215) 646-1808 milahvegetarian.com

Sprig & Vine – Chef Ross Olchvary of New Hope also learned his trade with Rich Landau. Focused on local and seasonal ingredients, his bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) demonstrates the versatility of veggies, with green onion pancake rolls, miso-maple-mustard-glazed tempeh and za’atar grilled oyster mushrooms all vying for diners’ attention. 450 Union Square Drive, New Hope, (215) 693-1427, sprigandvine.com

 

CASUAL DINING 

Bar Bombón – The owner of HipCityVeg and Charlie was a sinner brought this snug bar and vegan Latin food specialist to the Rittenhouse neighborhood. On the menu: Cubanos, burritos, plátanos, tacos and margaritas—and tres leches cake for dessert. 133 S. 18th Street, (267) 606-6612, barbombon.com

Blackbird Pizzeria – Pizza, sandwiches, steaks—the good stuff—comes from chef Mark Mebus’ spots in Society Hill and Northern Liberties. His creativity shines in the Balboa pie (seitan sausage, pumpkin seed pesto, tofu ricotta), the Cubano sandwich (seitan pepperoni, coconut bacon, smoked tofu) and the root-beer BBQ wings. 507 S. 6th Street, (215) 625-6660; 614 N. 2nd Street, (267) 324-5224, blackbirdpizzeria.com

Frankie’s on Fairview – Brunch at this Woodlyn eatery means no compromises. Even options like chicken and waffles and cheesesteak egg rolls remain entirely within the scope of the vegan diet. 604 Fairview Road, Woodlyn, (610) 543-2300, frankiesonfairview.com

The Green Fork and Local Roots Market – A BYOB with a market in back welcomes all diners. Most dishes, including the mozzarella salad, fettucine Alfredo and French toast can be served without animal byproducts. 115 S. Main Street, North Wales, (267) 217-7997, thegreenforkandlocalrootsmarket.com

P.S. & Company – Named for its “pure sweets” (that are also available to-go), this rustic-chic Rittenhouse cafe offers full menu of cafe items—all of which are vegan, gluten-free and organic. Coconut yogurt, Caesar salad with house-made dressing and pad Thai entice even meat eaters. 1706 Locust Street, (215) 985-1706, puresweets.com

Su Xing House – In the heart of Center City, this Chinese restaurant offers up an expansive menu of meatless delicacies. Classics like fried rice and General Tso’s tofu share menu space with signature dishes such as bean curd deluxe (tofu skin stuffed with mushroom caps and veggie ham) and lotus root with peanut soup. 1508 Sansom Street, (215) 564-1419, suxinghouse.com

The Tasty – Across from an East Passyunk park, this corner spot dishes out diner-inspired fare. Patrons occupy seats at the counter for morning coffee and pastries, or settle into booths for quick-serve dishes such as waffles or biscuits and gravy. 1401 S. 12th Street, (267) 457-5670, thetastyphilly.com

V Street – Everything’s fair game at local veg heroes Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s casual, international street food-inspired walkup. V Street’s bar delivers dishes such as harissa-grilled tofu, miso butter noodles and Korean-fried tempeh tacos, and the drinks alone are worth a visit. 126 S. 19th Street, (215) 278-7943, vstreetfood.com

FAST DINING

Essene – Queen Village’s natural market opened in 1969, stocks products from local makers and operates a kitchen and bakery that turn out all manner of takeaway goods—including at least 50 desserts on any given day. 719 S. 4th Street, (215) 922-1146, essenemarket.com

Goldie – This 100% vegan fast-food spot comes from celebrated chef Michael Solomonov. The small menu keeps its focus on Israeli flavors: made-to-order falafel, fries and tahini milkshakes. 1526 Sansom Street, (267) 239-0777, goldiefalafel.com

Hummusology – A passion for Israeli-style chickpea paste powers the strictly vegetarian menu, where many of the dishes, such as mushroom hummus, hamshuka and veggie “rave” are also vegan. 1112 Locust Street, (215) 592-6505, hummusology.net

Govinda’s – Serving up tasty vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, halal and Vedic food since 1985, Govinda’s is known for its salads and sandwiches—especially the vegan chicken cheesesteaks.1408 South Street, (215) 985-9303, govindasvegetarian.com

HipCityVeg – This local quick-serve chain serves up great salads, sandwiches—like the Ziggy burger with smoked tempeh and the Crispy HipCity Ranch, a take on fried chicken—plus green juices, banana whips, baked goods and, on Broad Street, breakfast. 127 S. 18th Street, (215) 278-7605; 214 S. 40thStreet, (267) 244-4342; 121 S. Broad Street, (267) 296-9001, hipcityveg.com

Honeygrow – This Philly-born startup honors most dietary restrictions with its build-your-own salads, stir-fries and vegan smoothies, each made with fresh ingredients. 15 S. 11th Street, (215) 845-5592; 110 S. 16th Street, (215) 279-7724; 3731 Walnut Street, (215) 222-0400; 1601 N. Broad Street, (215) 279-7823; 168 E. City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, (610) 667-2573; 230 N. Radnor Chester Road, Radnor, (610) 688-8393; 100 Main Street, King of Prussia, (484) 322-2918, honeygrow.com

Kung Fu Hoagies – In city with brilliant banh mi, this food cart ensures that no one feels left out. Kung Fu’s tofu meatball and “vegetarian pork” hoagies and pho and ramen dishes can be made completely vegan. Location varies, (267) 344-6259, kungfuhoagies.com

Magic Carpet – These all-vegetarian University City food trucks have been a healthy haven for weekday lunches since 1984. Almost all of the budget-priced platters—tofu meatballs, seitan peppersteak—can be made vegan. 36th & Spruce Streets; 34th & Walnut Streets, magiccarpetfoods.com

Pure Fare – This stylish quick-serve appeals to the generally health-conscious and always keeps vegan options in the mix. Items typically on offer include the wild rice bowl, kale salad, Burmese papaya salad or almost any of the baked goods. 119 S. 21st Street, (267) 318-7441; purefare.com

Vegan Commissary – Homey takeaway foods—salads, couscous and noodle dishes, pastas and more—line the cases at this prepared food market. 1429 Wolf Street, (215) 964-3232, vegancommissary.com

Vegan Tree – All of the food at is cruelty free. Whether it’s sushi, a cheesesteak sandwich or coconut cake, there’s no need to second-guess the ingredients. 742 South Street, (215) 454-2898, 742vegantree.com

Vgë Café – Bryn Mawr’s fast casual operation has a simple premise: People want to eat great food that is healthy. All of the menu items, from falafel to buffalo tofu, can be ordered as a wrap, salad or over brown rice; everything is less than 550 calories and entirely vegan, with no added oils or sugar. 845B W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-3091, vgecafe.com

Wiz Kid – Vedge owners Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby began with a stand inside the Whole Foods in the Parkway Museum District, then expanded their delicious junk food-inspired operation to Rittenhouse. On the menu: meatless cheesesteaks, salads and fries with fun toppings. 2101 Hamilton Street, (215) 557-0015; 124 S. 19th Street, (215) 372-7289, wizkidfood.com

SPECIALTY VEGAN

All the Way Live Café – Alkalizing foods (select fruits, vegetables and whole grains) are the point of this Germantown cafe, where the menu includes seaweed salads, chickpea burgers and coconut cream pie on an almond and date crust. 6108 Germantown Avenue, (215) 821-7298, alllivefood.com

Arnold’s Way – As an early proponent of raw eating, this Montgomery County operation makes it very easy to dabble in vegan with its market and café via green smoothies, soups, salads and banana whip sundaes. 319 W. Main Street, Lansdale, (215) 361-0116, arnoldsway.com

Doc Bakers Farmulations – A former pharmacy on Doylestown’s main strip takes on a health-advising role in the community. All the juices and smoothies can be boosted with natural supplements, and guests can enjoy a full menu of raw, vegan fare on-site or from the grab-and-go cases. 22 N. Main Street, Doylestown, (215) 230-3444, docbakers.com

Gangster Vegan Organics – Norristown and Phoenixville go a little bit California with hip-hop named juices (Rappers Delight, Soul 4 Real), raw pizzas, lasagna and wraps bring variety and interest to the proceedings. 2454 W. Main Street, Norristown, (610) 630-1600; 6 Gay Street, Phoenixville, (610) 616-0000, gangstervegan.com

Raw Can Roll Café – Everything here qualifies as “clean eating.” While some items are cooked, the vast menu of smoothies, cleansing juices and zucchini pastas—not to mention four different kale salads—makes it easy to stay on a raw-eating plan. 767 W. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (484) 580-8454, rawcanrollcafe.com


JUICE BARS

Animo – Part juice bar, part burrito bar, Animo puts fruits and veggies in the forefront. Whether it’s the Animo Glo (orange, carrot, cantaloupe) or an açai bowl, the nutritious fare here is fresh and delicious. 1701 Arch Street, (267) 519-0949, animojuice.com

Robeks – The local outpost of a national chain specializes in juices and smoothies. Refreshing drinks including the Age Buster (soy milk, probiotics, kale, spinach, peach) and the Big Wednesday (strawberry, peach, banana, papaya) go down easy. Eateries: 1035 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-5500; 32 Parking Plaza, Ardmore, (484) 413-2998; food truck: 2551 Orthodox Street, robeks.com

Sip-N-Glo – Two juiceries with a creative touch sates vegan hunger with mix-ins such as almond milk, hemp and chia seeds. Even the protein shakes contain only Plant Fusion protein powder.  257 S. 20thStreet; 932 South Street; 1700 Sansom Street, (215) 351-9300, sipnglo.com

Yellow Juice – Loads of vitamin-packed produce goes into the fruit, veggie—even sweet potato—juices and smoothies here. 2046 Sansom Street, (267) 519-8296, yellowjuicebar.com 

Visit the Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com for more restaurant information and to explore things to do.  You can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Article credit: VISIT PHILADELPHIA®.

Photo credit: M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®.

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