By Izzy Sutton
Once upon a time (three months ago, to be exact), I ended my short-lived experience of veganism. I became a vegan in June after coming back from my year abroad desperate to work off my unwanted, extra poundage that came from nine months of a host parent stuffing bread in my face. While my new lifestyle change did not turn into a permanent one, living in post-vegan world I still find myself craving the food. Personally, I believe vegan food will always have more flavor because of all the restrictions. The food needs to be seasoned and spiced accordingly to make up for the lack of diary, meat, and other animal products. So I decided to come up with a list of places for people to try that, in my (ex-vegan) opinion, have really strong vegan/plant-based options.
This place looks like it was pulled right from a Pinterest page. Even the name, Townhall, is super cutesy. Known for its non-GMO menu, this place has great vegan options. All their stuff is healthy, and you can tell just by looking at the menu – half the options sound made up. For example, one of their organic smoothies has blue majik (I had to Google that one). Even though some of the ingredients do not sound like they mix well, this place has a great selection, and even the pickiest of eaters can find something to eat.
2) Beet Jar
This juice bar is located downtown, and people will find it has a very similar menu to Restore, but with more personality. While Restore is very dark and somber, the Beet Jar is full of color and succulents (so many succulents). This café is mainly juice oriented, if you cannot tell by its name, so if you are looking for a meal this should not be your top choice. But for those that are in the mood for something different this place as lots of options to choose from. The prices vary but there are different sizes to choose from.
3) The Root Café
Let me start by saying the coffee here is amazing! Even though it says its café, they have so many more options than just pastries and mochaccinos. From their baked goods to their sandwiches, everything on their menu is delicious and served in very generous portions. Even the names of the dishes have a creative twist, such as the String Theory, which is a cheese pizza with multiple cheeses. The environment is great and the food is great. Like all cafés, some things can be overpriced, but it’s all worth it.
Ridiculously high prices aside, the food at Restore is super tasty. It makes me want to join a gym and wear leggings to actually work out. Their avocado toast is amazing and the acai bowls are delicious; plus, they have so many juices to choose from and a few locations around Cleveland. Like I said before, the prices are ridiculous, but Restore is great when you have a craving and want to treat yourself.
5) Rood Food & Pie
This place will have anyone completely rethinking what they know about healthy alternatives. The aesthetic in this restaurant is a perfect blend of modern and rustic. This place is great for a fun night out with friends, as all the dishes are meant to be shared. Everything on the menu has great seasoning and lots of flavor. Even after eating so much it’s great to end the meal with some pie. Even if sharing food with your friends isn’t really your thing, this place is worth checking out.
Of course, this list of places is not the “be-all-end-all” for plant-based food, but they are pretty good options. Cleveland is no LA or NYC, but for a Midwestern city, I have to say we have a nice range of vegan and plant-based restaurants and cafés.