Besides "what do you eat?" and "how do you get your protein?," one of the most common questions vegetarians and vegans are asked is, "where do you eat?" Despite what one may think, there are plenty of options in Memphis, the self-professed barbeque capital of the nation (yuk!). We've compiled a list of our favorites to get you started. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
It is posted by: Vegans of Memphis
Our web site: FoodAwareness.org
Absynnia Restaurant – This Ethiopian restaurant features a number of low-fat vegetarian dishes. 2600 Poplar (321-0082).
Bhan Thai – Gourmet Thai dishes, any of which can be prepared with fried tofu. Its romantic ambiance makes this a great date restaurant. 1324 Peabody (272-1538).
Blue Coast Burrito – Veggie burritos! 3546 Walker Ave. (323-3730).
Boscos Squared – This Midtown microbrewery serves yummy veggie burgers. On Wednesday, they offer a seitan fajita lunch special. 2120 Madison (432-2222).
Brother Juniper's – Scrambled tofu and other vegetarian breakfast items. Located in the University of Memphis area. 3519 Walker Ave. (324-0144).
Café Francisco – Downtown coffeehouse offering delicious falafel and hummus pitas. 400 N Main (578-8002).
Café Ole – Mexican fare with plenty of vegetarian options. Try the veggie tacos (served with bean sprouts) and the black bean soup. 959 S. Cooper (274-1504).
Casablanca – This Cooper-Young eatery offers Middle Eastern fare. Their falafel is to die for (the secret's in the sauce). Also check out the rice-stuffed grape leaves. 2156 Young Ave. (725-8557).
Central BBQ – Get your BBQ fix sans the pulled pork with their BBQ portabella sandwich. 2249 Central (272-9377).
Chang's Bubble Tea – The best homemade Kim chi soup on the planet! 4465 Poplar (682-7229).
China Doll – This old dive is ghetto fabulous, but they serve up some mean vegetable fried rice (vegans: ask for no egg) for less than $4 and a tasty vegetable soup for under $2. Good eatin' on a budget. 1246 Lamar (278-6888).
Do - This Cooper-Young sushi joint features several vegetarian items, like the veggie roll and the cucumber roll. Try the flash-fried tofu as an appetizer. 964 S. Cooper (272-0830).
Huey's – Not only do they have the best regular burgers in town (that's what we hear anyway), they also boast the best veggie burger. It comes served four different ways, and the best part – the patty is completely vegan! 77 S. Second (525-4839); 1927 Madison (726-4372); 4872 Poplar (682-7729); 7825 Winchester (624-8911); 1771 N. Germantown Pkwy. (754-3885); 2130 W. Poplar, Collierville (854-4455).
India Palace – Lots of veggie options are offered at this Midtown institution. Try the vegetable curry, the dhal soup, or the extensive buffet. 1720 Poplar (278-1199).
Jasmine – There are tons of vegan options at this yummy Thai restaurant. Dishes on about half the menu are served with tofu (and they have a huge menu). Try the Potato Basket (fried tofu and stir-fried veggies served in a basket made from fried hashbrowns). 916 S. Cooper (725-0223).
Java Cabana – This Cooper-Young coffeehouse serves vegan tacos, soy burgers, vegetarian sausage and biscuits, giant vegan cookies, and vegan cappuccinos. 2170 Young Ave. (272-7210).
Kwik Chek – Who says convenience store food has to be unhealthy? At the Kwik Chek on Madison (across from the Blue Monkey), they're serving up falafel and hummus pitas (vegans: ask them to leave off the cucumber sauce). 2013 Madison (274-9293).
Moe's Southwest Grill – This national chain of burrito restaurants offers marinated tofu in place of chicken or steak on burritos and tacos. And bring your appetite because the burritos are super-fat! 6300 Poplar (881-6012); 465 N. Germantown Pkwy. (737-5058).
Molly's La Casita – A Memphis staple, this Mexican joint makes a mean vegetarian platter. 2006 Madison (726-1873).
My Thanh Oriental Market – Vietnamese restaurant boasting every faux meat product imaginable. Fake pork, fake chicken, fake duck, you name it. Check out the attached grocery store for take-home items. 306 N. Cleveland (725-5079).
Otherlands – This quaint little Midtown coffeeshop serves vegan frozen coffee drinks, juices, bagels with various spreads, soups, and other yummy quick items. 641 S. Cooper (278-4994).
P.F. Chang's China Bistro – Fine dining the vegetarian way. Though only a few menu items list tofu, ANY dish at P.F. Chang's can be made with tofu instead of meat. Just ask your waiter. 1181 Ridgeway (818-3889).
Pei Wei Asian Diner – A fast-food version of P.F. Chang's China Bistro, this Midtown chain serves several tasty tofu dishes. 1680 Union.
Pho Hoa Binh – A vegan's buffet heaven! During the work week, this little Vietnamese joint has a buffet full of fried tofu stir-fries and soups. And it's only $4.50 for all-you-can-eat! Other times of the day, order off the extensive menu. 1615 Madison (276-0066).
Precious Cargo Coffeehouse – During the daytime hours, this downtown café serves all sorts of vegan food, like vegan tacos, vegan lasagna, barbecue tofu, faux chicken quesadillas. 381 N. Main (578-8446).
RP Tracks – Finally, barbecue without the pork. This U of M area bar and grill serves YUMMY barbecue tofu nachos, a barbecue tofu burrito, a barbecue tofu sandwich, a veggie burrito, wild rice & veggies, and some damn good hummus. A must for any local vegetarian! 3547 Walker (327-1471).
Saigon Le – Vietnamese restaurant with tons of tofu dishes and even a few wheat gluten (read: seitan) dishes. Try the Kung Pao Tofu or the Barbecue Wheat Gluten. 51 N. Cleveland (276-5326).
Sekisui – Sushi place with about six different vegetarian options. 25 Belvedere (725-0005). 160 Union (523-0001); 50 Humphreys (747-0001); 4724 Poplar (767-7770).
Square Foods – Cooper-Young vegetarian/vegan restaurant with numerous options, like sandwiches, stir-fries, and soups. Try the Veggie BLT (the "bacon" part is made from sesame seed paste). They also carry pre-made deli items to take home and prepare, like vegan lasagna, vegan potato salad, oat burgers, and vegan "cheese" dip. 937 S. Cooper (274-4222).
Tasty Buffet – One of the largest Chinese buffets in the city. Quite a few vegetarian items, including lo main, green beans, fried rice, and occasional veggie sushi. Also some American items, like fried potatoes. 3420 Plaza Ave. (323-3889).
Wendell's World Beat Grille – Though they specialize in seafood, a special entrée is offered just for vegans. The items are chef's choice so they vary each day. But a sample entrée could include blackened tofu, grilled asparagus, and garlic mashed potatoes. Reservations recommended. 414 S. Main (575-9900).
Wild Oats – The deli at this health food supermarket offers a veggie sandwich. They also have a HUGE salad bar and a number of vegetarian take-home deli items. 5022 Poplar (685-2293).
Young Avenue Deli – Not only do they boast the best homemade French fries in town, they also serve several delicious veggie wraps, quesadillas, and sandwiches (one include fried tofu). 2119 Young Ave. (278-0034).
Posted by Chia at 05/10/07 15:51:09Hey there, what a long list. I see that the restaurants you recommend are not purely vegetarian. My question for you is: Do you feel "safe" eating at restaurants that also serve meat? Do you have to make sure to ask the kitchen to use separate cooking board and untensils? Or maybe that doesn't bother you? I am curious. Thanks.
Posted by scout at 05/21/07 13:49:49Hi!
Out here, there are NO vegan or strictly vegetarian restaurants. We can find places that serve vegetarian dishes and rarely there is a vegan dish, but these things are always cooked in the same area as the meat dishes. It could make me crazy if I obsessed about it, but I try not to let it bother me-- otherwise, I'd never be able to leave my house. :) At Subway, I ask the people preparing my food to change their goves, but this doesn't make my meal "pure" either. I like veganoutreach's philosophy about this: that it's not about a set of rules or "purity"- it's about reducing suffering. I feel very good about the choices I make which reduce animal suffering and also those which are intended to reduce my footprint on the planet. :) Even if it doesn't make perfect logical sense, I'd rather eat as vegan as possible at a place that also serves meat than kiss someone who eats animals. Eeeeeek. That grosses me out more! ;)
Posted by rlwremo at 10/03/07 21:01:07Hi,
I agree with Scout regarding if you focus too much on what all is cooked in a given restaurant you'll never want to eat out again. That's a personal choice we all have to make. In my experience there are not very many vegetarian restaurants in the U.S., period, let alone vegan.
Anyway, I'm surprised Paradise Cafe is not on the list above. It's in a shopping center at the corner of Poplar and Ridgeway near Germantown. No, it's not vegan or even full vegetarian but to someone who's had to travel to and work here for the past 3 weeks, it was a welcome change to what I've found so far. The shake I had, pomegranite with protein powder, was excellent!!!!
Oh, and regarding Huey's veggie burger . . . I've been a vegetarian for 20 years and I've only encountered 2 veggie burgers that were inedible. Huey's was one of them.
Posted by JohnnySensible at 10/04/07 03:54:23Memphis - so close to becoming a veggie paradise! - Elvis could easily have switched to being a vegetarian - but.......
Excerpts from a Larry Geller conversation about Elvis Presley -
Larry Geller - So I tell him the truth about my interests and this was way before The Beatles explosion and the Maharishi stuff became popular. So I told him how I worked as a hairdresser as a living but that more importantly was my search for the truth, for the purpose of life, for God. I said, "I know you're Elvis Presley and the biggest star in the world and what I'm saying probably sounds very corny to you" But Elvis replies, "No, wait a minute. Larry you have no idea how I need to hear what you have to say. Please keep on talking."
So I tell him about my mediation, yoga, my spiritual books, being vegetarian and everything. Right away he wanted to know about the soul, Do we have a soul?, Where do we come from?, Do we survive this life?.. all these things just emerged into this conversation.
EIN - In March 77 you did go on that last vacation to Hawaii. Obviously Elvis at the time was really floating between vitamins & health regimes that you were suggesting and Dr Nick and all his chemicals.
Larry Geller - I have no respect for Dr Nick. Before a tour would start I would have packets of vitamins and minerals all wrapped up for the tour to help keep me healthy. Plus I was a vegetarian. One day I was in Elvis' bedroom when he woke up and Dr. Nick was there. I took a packet of vitamins out and put it on the table and said, "Elvis you should take some of these man, they are so good for you." I also gave a little spiel to him about their benefits. Dr Nick says, "Hey, get that crap out of here. That %#&!*% doesn't work." Here was a medical Doctor saying this! Of course he is not anymore. Thank God for some justice.
Posted by Healthy at 10/04/07 10:11:10Wow, Johnny, thanks for that Elvis info (my boyfriend and I are big Elvis fans) ...
A few years ago there was a discussion on the raw food community that Elvis was a raw foodist for a day or so, but then he gave up and it was back to the fried stuff and donuts.
Too bad ... maybe we'd still have him here with us if he was vegetarian :(
Posted by JohnnySensible at 10/05/07 07:33:15Hi Healthy - perhaps you are referring to the "papaya diet" of 1973? - taken from a "Dr. Nick" interview - http://www.swampland.com/articles/view/mysteryandmanners/405 -
"So he goes out to Vegas and talks Dr. Gahnim [Elias Gahnim, official ring physician of the Nevada Boxing Commission] to do it. He was out there three weeks, kept him knocked out asleep, had him on some sort of papaya juice diet, and he came back all bloated up, he was taking in more drinking papaya juice than he was taking in on a normal diet. That really clobbered his colon. You need physical activity for your colon to function properly. His was already non-functioning because of his laxative abuse, and all he did was sleep for three weeks."
- more grim details of what our friend actually consumed here - http://www.salon.com/mwt/food/eat_drink/2007/08/14/elvis_food/
Posted by Rafael at 11/13/07 00:12:01I just opened all of those links & finally fully understood what killed Elvis!
"There but by the grace of God go I."