Ok, it's day 10 of vegan mofo, so I think it is high time for me to talk about how it is to be vegan in Missouri. And not in Kansas City or St. Louis...mid-Missouri. Lucky for me, Columbia is a growing college town that is pretty progressive, so there are a lot of options for the community of vegans/vegetarians here! I will tell you about a few of my favorites...partly because I want you to believe me that being vegan in Missouri is not impossible and partly because I want you to try these places if you ever happen to be driving through Missouri (we're right on I-70)!My top 5 favorite veg-friendly restaurants in Columbia:
1. Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe:
Yes, I am biased because I work here! But, this is the only 100% vegetarian place in town, and it is extremely vegan-friendly! I should know, I bake and chef there :) They serve
sandwiches, wraps, salads, juices, smoothies, and baked goods, so there is something for everyone!Some of my favorite items are the Good Fortune Wrap and Tofu Blondies for dessert! www.main-squeeze.com
2. Cafe Berlin International:
Seriously, the best breakfast in town!! Don't be fooled by the name: this is not a German or even extremely ethnic restaurant....it is actually pretty much home cooking and comfort food at its best. They have tons of vegan breakfast items, with scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, etc. There is even a new menu item named after me! weird, right?? I think my favorite items are the Vegan Breakfast Burrito and the Veggie-Tofu Scramble. www.myspace.com/cafeberlin
3. Uprise Bakery:
This is an absolutely amazing bakery! They use organic ingredients and everything is homemade! Almost all of their breads are vegan, and the veg items can be "made" vegan...they even have some vegan desserts! yay! My favorite items are the Hummus Bread Plate and the House Salad! Bread is such a God-send.
4. International Cafe:
This Middle-Eastern restaurant is kind of hidden away from the main roads, but it is wonderful! Really authentic foods, the staff is nice, and there is outdoor seating! There are a few vegan options, but all of them are awesome! My favorites are the Falafel Platter and the Hummus and Pita Sandwich.
5. Shakespeare's Pizza:
While you wouldn't typically think of a pizza place as being extremely veg-friendly, this place is an exception! They have great whole wheat crust, all homemade ingredients, and lots of veggie toppings (they even have almonds! whoa!). This is one of those places that you can go with a big group of people, and everyone will be happy, without complaining that they have to go somewhere "hippy" or "healthy." I am still trying to work on them getting vegan cheeze as a topping option! My fav pizza: wheat crust, no cheese, extra sauce, broccoli/mushrooms/artichokes/peppers/olives/almonds. not as crazy as yo might think. www.shakespearespizza.com
Besides vegan-friendly restaurants, Columbia has a few other vegan staples to offer, too!
Coffee Shops (who can resist a good soy latte??):
-Lakota Coffee Company
-Cherry Street Artisan Coffee Shop
-Clover's Natural Market (yeah, I work here, too. I'm shameless.)
-Hy-Vee Grocery Store (wonderful natural foods section! they have Sweet and Sara products!!!)
-Root Cellar (ALL local produce and other food items)
Other Cool Places:
-Sparky's Ice Cream (local ice cream shop...great vegan sorbets!!!)
-Kayotea Tea Room ( soy BOBA!)
-Peace Nook (a few grocery items, lots of reading materials, stickers, and a co-op!)
-Columbia or Boone County Farmer's Market. good GOD!
Long story short, Columbia is a pretty good place to be vegan! At least for a short time...I'm thinking NYC or PDX someday...but CoMo will do for now! Next time you're in the area, I hope you will know where to go for some good food and good community!