Longbranch Cafe and Bakery

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 14 reviews )

100 E Jackson St, Carbondale, Illinois, USA, 62901

Originally known as Longbranch Coffeehouse, this vegetarian restaurant offers a full menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with coffee, tea, juice and smoothies. Causal dining. Open Mon-Sun 7:30am-9:00pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Pizza, Take-out, Mexican, Bakery, Catering

14 Reviews

First Review by thestickwoman

Not very vegan-friendly - Edit

I like the restaurant, but I'm really disappointed with their vegan options. Their homemade burger patty and homemade sausage patties aren't vegan, and they don't even have a vegan cheese substitute. If they did, probably 90% of their menu could be made vegan instead of the few options they currently have. With all of the vegan substitutes out there, I'm not sure why they don't already do this.

The last time I was there, I ordered the portabella sandwich with avocado, but they were out of avocado. Then the server told me their bun isn't vegan, and so I got a mushroom cap in between two slices of bread. Very disappointing.

Updated from previous review on 2017-10-16

Pros: Excellent coffee, at least 1 vegan dessert, nice atmosphere

Cons: no vegan cheese, burger and sausage aren't vegan

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we were turned away at the door at 6:45pm - Edit

Not sure why but the server kicked us out as we were entering at 6:45 pm saying that they were closed...it wasn't busy. Rather peeved after driving 30 min to get there.

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Great find, great food! - Edit

I was stopping through Carbondale for a wedding, and per usual, I checked Happy Cow to see if there happened to be any vegan-friendly places to eat nearby. To my pleasant surprise, I found Longbranch Cafe which is less than five minutes away from the hotel I stayed at! The atmosphere inside is really cute and original, and the cafe is located in a historical area of town. The menu labels dishes that are vegetarian, vegan, etc. I picked a vegetable medley type dish that came with a ball of brown rice and some super tasty ginger sauce on the side, and it was delicious! For dessert, I ordered a vegan vanilla cupcake which was super moist and flavorful. I highly recommend this place!

Pros: great atmosphere, healthy, "light" tasting food (a.k.a food that doe, lots of vegan choices

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wonderful cafe - Edit

When visiting my wifes brother and his family outside Carbondale this seemed like the only option. Looking over the menu online I wasn't that impressed, but I'm glad I went here, and we went twice! The red curry at dinner was great, and less questionable than some Thai places I have been to. The cupcake for dessert was a great finish. We went back for breakfast and I got a fairly simple tofu scramble, Mexican or Southwestern type dish that was very satisfying. Sometimes the only option doesn't mean it's a bad choice. Look forward to visiting the in-laws again.

Pros: all vegetarian

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Underwhelming Vegan Experience - Edit

I've eaten here three times now, and I can't complain about the food I've ordered. I had a vegan calzone, a tofu scramble, and another time I just had some pastries that I was told were vegan.

My problem is with the lack of vegan options. I would guess that at least 80% of the menu is not vegan. For some odd reason, eggs and/or dairy are used in just about everything. In this day and age, when egg replacer, plant milks, and vegan cooking techniques are widespread and available with just a Google search, I don't understand why a vegetarian restaurant would still be using dairy and eggs if they were trying to appeal to all vegetarians. Veganism is growing faster than ovolactovegetarianism is in the U.S. For example, ovolactovegetarians don't mind eating vegan sausage as opposed to veggie sausage with eggs, so why choose veggie sausage when you know vegans won't even want it? There are already few vegetarians in the U.S., and then they largely ignore a large section of them. What a brilliant business strategy.

Also, all three times I've been there the servers were perplexed when I asked about what desserts or side dishes were vegan since it's not clearly marked anywhere. That just gets annoying. I could go to any restaurant in Southern Illinois and go through the routine of asking about dairy or eggs and getting a confused look from their employees that don't regularly cater to vegetarians. The whole reason I go to vegetarian restaurants is because I'm expecting a knowledgeable staff that goes the extra mile to understand modern vegetarian dining.

If they catered to vegans more, I'd probably be there once a week rather than once every two months.
Updated from previous review on Saturday March 07, 2015

Pros: Good Coffee

Cons: Limited Vegan Selection, Unknowledgeable staff

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Great menu, great food - Edit

We ate here twice on a recent trip to the area. The menu is great, they have a good variety and lots of choices. The food was very good, they serve really good coffee too. The cafe was about half full both times we went but the food seemed to come out very quickly. In terms of vegetarian food, Longbranch Cafe is better than anything in St. Louis.

Pros: great food, great menu, great coffee

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time change - Edit

This cafe keeps improving with new menu items and innovative ways to use grilled vegetables. It is easy to create a custom-made dish for individual needs. The manager, Elaine, is a sweetheart and handles her job in a friendly, professional way. The calzone, hummus kalaya, vegie fajita, and vegetarian harvest are wonderful as is the felafel salad special on Fridays.

I just wish they had more whole grain options, in bread, pasta, etc., to make the food healthier.

The desert case and the frequent receptions for art exhibits and other events make the place vibrant and dynamic.

Pros: dynamic menu, adaptable dishes, friendly service

Cons: occasional long waits, white bread, train noise

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Best Vegetarian Food in Carbondale - Edit

I love this place, and I want to point out that some of these reviews are old enough to be outdated. There is, for example, no smoking anymore. They also SERVE BREAKFAST ALL DAY, which is a recent change.

Speaking of breakfast, the biscuits and gravy are AMAZING. (sorry vegans they have dairy). But there are lots of vegan options so don't let that deter you, this is definitely the best place for vegans in Carbondale because they are 100% vegetarian and all vegan options are clearly marked.

The coffee is fair trade, always, and they have lots of yummy lattes. Try Will's Cuban, it's totally addicting. There are also vegan options in the dessert case which is made by Longbranch bakers, never bought from out of the restaurant.

Another perk is that the restaurant is kid-friendly, and they have a kids menu. I've noticed a lot of kids like the nachos! (And I do too, it's good for an unhealthy day without being, you know, grossly unhealthy).

If you buy a coffee from Longbranch, you can get a free cookie next door at the health food store with your receipt!

Pros: 100% Vegetarian, breakfast all day, family friendly

Cons: Can be hectic/busy on the weekends

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Definitely Room For Improvement - Edit

Having lived in Seattle with so many places to go for vegan food, I'm probably pretty biased now that I'm back in Southern Illinois. It's wonderful that Longbranch exists in this small college town and offers more than a just a handful of veg/vegan options, but I've eaten there a few times and always end up a little disgruntled.

The entrees I've ordered generally consist of veggies and tofu served with either rice or couscous. The plates are HUGE - but the grains always comprise about 75% of the meal. With such a small serving of veggies, there's barely enough for one serving let alone any to share with your dining companion. Most places you go, you usually end up taking half of the meal home because there's just too much eat in one sitting (unless you split the dish with a friend).

Like others have mentioned, they no longer serve breakfast after 4pm. My omni husband and I used to eat at Longbranch at least once a month because it was a place we could mutually settle on since he loves breakfast food. Well, not anymore. As a result, this is May and I've eaten there once - alone.

While a handful of options are marked as "vegan"/"can be made vegan", the dishes wind up having about half the ingredients for the same price. No vegan cheese or sour cream substitutes (not that those items are the healthiest things, but it would be nice to have the option). They make a house veggie burger but not a vegan one. They offer portobello mushroom caps as a burger... but really, that's about on par with your typical steakhouse line of thinking of vegan fare. :P With so many recipes online and so many pre-made burger options available at in stores/co-ops, it's sad that Longbranch chooses to put so little effort into considering vegan fare.

They tout themselves on the local community radio as being "fresh, local, organic"... but then the ketchup on the table has HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!?!

The service, though, has always been great. Friendly, courteous, professional. And I'm sure the drinks are good, I just never go there for coffee myself.

Pros: Friendly staff, Great bulletin boards

Cons: Small veg portions, HFCS?!, Vegan options leave room to be desired

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Sun Green 26 May 2012 - Longbranch serves breakfast all day now! That just started this month.  

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Simply amazing food i have been going there for 7 years straight never had a problem atmosphere is great good service great value!

Pros: Good food, Non smoking smells good., Really friendly staff!

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A Pebble/Rock In My Food Changed My Opinion...LOL! - Edit

Pebble [rock] in my food... The fact that happened has turned me off to this place (I really give this place 2.5 cows) -- but hey, this is the only options for the Vegans/Vegetarians down there. Below is my pre-pebble review however:

Since 01.01.08, all of Illinois establishments have gone smoke free; therefore, the smoking issue has been rectified here. I think this place is a cute artsy looking coffee place [and restaurant]. They had quite a few Vegan options; however, I was there at 5PM and they will not serve breakfast items after 4PM. How disappointing, because all four of us at the table wanted something off of the breakfast menu and my friend who has Celiac Disease [allergic to gluten] had to resort to chips and salsa. I ordered the Vegan calzone and I was very impressed, there wasn't Vegan cheese in it, but it was still delicious. Also, everyone liked what they got [someone got a veggie wrap with hummus].

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TofuGirl83 22 Feb 2013 - Often times in dried beans and grains there are small pebbles that don't get sorted out in the factory and can be overlooked when they are being cooked. So even though it is alarming when you find a pebble in your food, at least take comfort in the fact that they are probably cooking their own beans and grains instead of using salt and preservative laden canned foods.  

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I love it! - Edit

The coffee is great-- I love the cafe mochas, and the coffee is organic/fair. Certain ingredients are not organic, but that is okay for me, sometimes.

The place is, I believe, owned (at least in part) by a local Sufi group... who also own a community farm and organize the Dayemi Homeschooling Organization. If you become a regular, you'll likely become friends with a lot of the people there! I don't feel guilty spending 3.50 on a drink there knowing that it's going to what's probably the best community place in Carbondale.

The food is really good! I love their pizzas, tofu dumplings, and vegan options (even though I'm a vegetarian!). The breakfasts are great, too.

There's no smoking inside... I think it's even prohibited on the porch now. Tons of cool events happen there (salsa on Fridays, different performers and artist exhibitions, also). And if you're from the community, you'll probably run into a lot of your friends there.

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Enjoyable - Edit

Overall my (meat-eating)fiance and I enjoyed eating here, however, our waiter brought me a sandwhich with cheese on it after I had said 3 times that I was vegan. He took it back and brought me a new one but only after standing there staring asking if he should bring me a new sandwhich. He said that it could be vegan but isn't normally eventhough the menu said the dish was vegan. If you decided to eat there snd are vegan be sure that your waiter understands that you want the vegan version even if he already knows you are vegan.

Pros: great food

Cons: uneducated staff

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I enjoyed the food... - Edit

but I agree the cigarette smoke was awful. I don't understand why a restaurant that caters to a health-conscious crowd would allow that. Especially since they have outdoor space that would have suited the smokers just as well. I had the white pizza which was good but not very filling. My companion had the portabella sandwich and enjoyed it. She also had the ambrosia tea and reported it was very good. She was a little shocked at the presence of a basket of free condoms in the restroom, however. Parents may not want to explain that to their little ones, but this establishment obviously catered to a college crowd.

Pros: good variety, interesting facility, good desserts

Cons: smokers, slow drink refills, small portions

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Sun Green 22 Feb 2013 - *Readers* Please note that there is a strict non-smoking policy at Longbranch as of now, 2011. There is still an outdoor seating area. The condoms are free as part of an HIV/AIDS awareness and safety campaign and shouldn't be seen as overtly risque or suggestive. This restaurant is very family-friendly, many community members bring their children here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner often.  

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