Friday, October 10, 2008

A Missouri Vegan Is NOT An Oxymoron!

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!
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 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.
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.

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
-Coffee Zone
Grocery Stores:
-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!


jody said...

Thank you for the great post! I live in Wisconsin and there is not a vegan restaurant in the whole state BUT things are changing and...

Definitely, check out It is one of the most awesome websites. At 100% vegan you can order online home delivery from some of the best award-winning vegan restaurants in the country - delivered to the door!!! BuyKind is amazing and the best food I've ever had! ( - and yes, I am a bit prejudice because this is my new business and when you get in touch I'll give you a gift certificate!!) It is sooo much fun and sooo delicious and it is all about helping animals. Profit from buykind goes to help farm animals.

Thanks for spreading the word about buykind - we are new and could use it. Oh and you can order all kinds of cakes as well!! Cruetly-free food done right is the absolute best - the most delicious, healthiest , good for the environment and KIND! Though buykind I want to help as many people as possible, to learn how great vegan can be and then ask the next logical question, ‘Why am I doing that other stuff?’

Vegans, those who choose kindness for all always, are my heroes!!

Anonymous said...

Vegadeli is a new all organic and 100% Vegan cafe delicatessen. The website is

It's in chesterfield, Missouri just west of St. Louis.

Happy Eatings ...
"Raw Vegan for Life"

Maggie Ann. said...

this post was just what i was looking for! thank you so much!
my husband is from Como, currently we live in Kirksville, MO. for his job. our one year anniversary is tomorrow and we were going to try and find a delicious vegan friendly place to eat, so i can have a no-harm meal that i don't have to cook and clean up after :)
now i have so much more information to go by! thank you again.

Chile said...

This is a great listing of options. Thanks! I'll be visiting your area in about a month and already had the Main Squeeze Cafe on the list of places we could eat. :)

Juliana said...

Thanks for the post! I will be moving to Columbia, MO for three months (January-March) to work as a political organizer on the global warming bill, and as a devout vegan, I was worried about the options available! But this post is so informative..

Michael said...

With multiple amazing health food stores in Columbia, it has *never* (well, since the 70s been impossible to be a vegan here. I like your list of vegan-friendly places, but if you know how to cook, a vegan can be happy anywhere. Just wanted to point that out for any omnivores wondering just how vegans manage to get along.

Lydia Westfall said...

Bangkok Garden is also an awesome vegan-friendly restaurant in CoMo. Just half a block or so from Main Squeeze, on Cherry St. They have lots of tofu-centered dishes and even offer a vegan oyster sauce! I just moved to Wisconsin, and while there are a surprising amount of vegan and vegetarian eateries here, I still miss Main Squeeze and Cafe Berlin so MUCH! Thanks for the article.

Elizabeth Daugherty said...

I'm curious, where do you find kayotea? I can't find it in columbia!!

Kristina @ spabettie said...

woo HOO, glad I found you!!

I have visited Como many times (my husband is from here), and we LOVE Main Squeeze. He had college friends who worked at Shakes, and I have ordered vegan pizza there before, they did not even bat an eye!

we are on a road trip (we live in Portland, Oregon), and are headed to Como for 4 days this week - I just googled "vegan Columbia Mo" and found this! I cannot wait to try the other three, thank you!

Cheers, Kristina @ spabettie

Philippe Kozub said...

I became vegan in PDX about 6 years ago but am currently in Columbia, MO, for a temporary job. At first, I feared I'd be the only vegan here and my options would be severely limited, thus the Google search which led me to this blog. Thank you! I've been pleasantly surprised so far. The link to Shakespeare's Pizza no longer works. In addition to those already listed, grocery stores with great vegan options are Lucky's Market and Natural Grocers.