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Releases: Expanded View

May 15 2016

Many Philly-Area Eateries Make Vegans, Vegetarians & Gluten-Free Diners Feel Right At Home

The Region Offers Numerous Culinary Options For Eaters With Special Diets

There’s no doubt that Americans are increasingly health conscious. Current studies, including the Vegetarian Resource Group’s Harris Poll, suggest that there are now some eight million vegetarians in the United States and one million vegans. Veg-loving visitors to Philly have plenty of options from which to choose, from upscale white tablecloth restaurants offering inventive vegetable creations to casual spots serving raw foods. There’s also plenty of great gluten-free goodies.

Here are some health-minded eateries worth checking out:

Meatless Marvels:

  • Vegetable lovers head to Bucks County, where Mike Jackson’s Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille turns out creative, big-portioned vegetarian food (no meat substitutes) in a cozy, romantic atmosphere. 772 2nd Street Pike, Southampton, (215) 942-8888, bluesagevegetariangrille.com
  • One of Philly’s longest-running farm-to-table spots, Old City’s Farmicia applies its credo to an omnivore’s range of dishes all day long. However, the vegetarian and vegan section of the menu is extensive enough—with choices such as a vegetable and grain platter, hash and (soy) chorizo, vegan cake and ice cream—to merit repeat visits. 15 S. 3rd Street, (215) 627-6274, farmiciarestaurant.com
  • Animal products are the only thing missing at Flora, a petite BYO in Jenkintown. Whether it’s a la carte or prix fixe, dinner here is absolutely seasonal, fresh and inventive (charred Brussels sprouts with miso-mustard caramel; potato scallops with black rice and burnt onion; polenta sponge cake with berry coulis). 307 Old York Road, (215) 779-7945, florajenkintown.com
  • Weekend brunch draws vegans from all over the region to Mi Lah Vegetarian, home to a completely vegetarian menu with favorites such as beer-battered seitan and waffles, tofu Benedict and oversized pumpkin pancakes with blueberry soy butter. The eclectic dinner menu features tofu, seitan and inventive vegetable dishes, and the three-course lunch specials are a tasty bargain. 40 W. Skippack Pike, Ambler, (215) 646-1808, milahvegetarian.com
  • Miss Rachel’s Pantry calls South Philadelphia home. The vegan market/catering and meal delivery company offers a kitschy-chic dining room for private events and Saturday communal prix-fixe dinners (by reservation) enjoyed around a reclaimed wood farmhouse table. 1938 S. Chadwick Street, (215) 798-0053, missrachelspantry.com
  • A $12 Sunday dinner buffet and daily all-you-can-eat dim sum specials make New Harmony Vegetarian a filling destination for vegetarians, vegans and their omnivorous dining companions alike. Those in the know save room for the vegan dessert offerings, including dairy-free “cheesecake.” 135 N. 9th Street, (215) 627-4520
  • New Hope’s premier vegan dining destination, Sprig & Vine is a bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot that offers a Sunday brunch menu (think warm cinnamon sugar doughnuts, multigrain French toast and fried oyster mushrooms over biscuits with cashew-herb gravy), along with an elegant dinner menu featuring delicacies such as cornmeal-crusted tempeh served over three potato mash. 450 Union Square Drive, New Hope, (215) 693-1427, sprigandvine.com
  • Culinary couple Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby make veggies haute at Vedge, where each of the menu’s small plates pack a powerful, palatable punch. Order anything from the Dirt List for the freshest seasonal specialties. Vegetable enthusiasts and fine-dining aficionados enjoy the elegant dining rooms, lounge and bright bar, known for its inventive cocktail list. 1221 Locust Street, (215) 320-7500, vedgerestaurant.com
  • Inexpensive lunch specials are popular at Center City’s Su Xing House. Menu options include kale and spicy tofu, soybean nuggets with sweet and sour sauce and sesame seitan. Diners can order veggie versions of their favorite soups, noodle and rice dishes, and gluten-free options are available. 1508 Sansom Street, (215) 564-1419, suxinghouse.com

Quick, Casual & Cruelty-Free:

  • Blackbird Pizzeria, an entirely vegan and certified kosher pizza shop right off of South Street, serves up can’t-resist favorites such as nacho pizza with caramelized onions, jalapeños, avocado and dairy-free cheese, along with sandwiches such as the smoked tofu Cubano with seitan pepperoni and pickles. 507 S. 6th Street, (215) 625-6660, blackbirdpizzeria.com
  • Vegans crave peanut butter banana bacon donuts too. Dottie’s Donuts sweetens up their day with its luscious goodies (blueberry coconut, chocolate-coffee-cardamom). 4525 Springfield Avenue
  • Govinda’s To Go, a casual eatery that serves sandwiches and wraps (such as the “chicken” cheesesteak and “tuna” salad wrap), also attracts omnivores (and nostalgic vegetarians) with specialties like vegan “tuna” and a case full of baked treats. 1400 South Street, (215) 545-5452
  • Vegans and the otherwise dairy-free eaters seeking a boost are welcome at Grindcore House in South Philly. The only local cafe with a nearly comprehensive range of milks (soy, almond, coconut, hemp), Grindcore also whips up tasty sandwiches and baked goods with nary a hint of animal byproduct. 1515 S. 4th Street, (215) 839-3333, grindcorehouse.com
  • HipCityVeg, a popular 100% plant-based fast-food cafe with locations in Rittenhouse Square and University City, has a legion of fans for specialties like its crispy jerk “chick’n” Caesar salad and its Philly “steak.” Focusing primarily on take-out, the restaurant also offers a delivery option. 127 S. 18th Street, (215) 278-7605; 214 S. 40th Street, (267) 244-4342, hipcityveg.com
  • The line of lunch eaters outside of Kung Fu Hoagies never lies. The mobile operation caters to the cruelty-free crowd with tofu meatball banh mi, Vietnamese pho and other delicious eats. Location varies, (267) 344-6259, kungfuhoagies.com
  • Local, artisanal, delicious and vegan-friendly sums it up at Little Baby’s Ice Cream. The fun flavors include chocolate salt malt, balsamic banana, smoked cinnamon and cucumber dill. 2311 Frankford Avenue, (267) 687-8567; 4903 Catharine Street, (215) 921-2100, littlebabysicecream.com
  • A vegetarian haven since 1984, Magic Carpet caters to students and locals in the University City neighborhood with oodles of meat-free options at two street-side vending locations. Fresh offerings include budget-priced platters of tofu meatballs, rice, veggies and cheese and the exquisitely light spinach pies with fresh Greek salad on the side. 36th & Spruce Streets; 34th & Walnut Streets, magiccarpetfoods.com
  • Nothing soothes the veggie appetite like falafel, and Mama’s Vegetarian serves up some of the best in the city. The Israeli fast-fooder bakes its own pita, which is the perfect foil for crisp chickpea patties, latkes and sabich (eggplant and hardboiled egg) fillings. 18 S. 20th Street, (215) 751-0477, mamasvegetarian.com
  • Open to the public on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., South Philly’s Vegan Commissary proves that prepared foods can be animal byproduct-free and satisfying. Brunch and lunch eats such as smoked beet sandwiches and breakfast hash with tofu can be taken to go.
    1703 S. 11th Street, (215) 964-3232, vegancommissary.com
  • Fast and fresh rules the day at South Street’s Vegan Tree. The bounty includes wraps, “steak” sandwiches, pasta and noodle dishes, juices, smoothies and bubble teas. 742 South Street, (215) 454-2898, 742vegantree.com
  • University City’s light-bite cafe Vegetate sates the meatless masses all day long. Favorite menu items include pancake breakfast sandwiches, tofu tacos and sweet potato cupcakes.
    3210 Chestnut Street, (215) 895-6929
  • Fast and casual, Bryn Mawr’s Vgë Café operates from a simple premise: People want to be healthy. All of the menu items, from falafel to buffalo tofu, can be ordered as a wrap, salad or over brown rice. 845B W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-3091, vgecafe.com

Veggie Bar Scene:

  • Latin fare goes plant-based at Rittenhouse Square’s Bar Bombón. Empanadas, Brussels sprouts tacos and mushroom tacos accompany lively cocktails like the house sangria with cider and Prosecco or Las Tias, mezcal with orange juice and homemade grenadine. 133 S. 18th Street, (267) 606-6612, barbombon.com
  • Always packed with a super-hip crowd, Passyunk Avenue’s Cantina Los Caballitos dishes out vegan and vegetarian dishes with as much innovation as the traditional menu items (think seitan and smoked chicken tacos). With free chips, a well-stocked bar and equally equipped jukebox, everyone leaves full and happy. On the other side of town, Cantina Dos Segundos offers a similar experience for the Northern Liberties neighborhood. Los Caballitos, 1651 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 755-3550, cantinaloscaballitos.com; Dos Segundos, 931 N. 2nd Street, (215) 629-0500, cantinadossegundos.com
  • Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen in Fishtown offers a myriad of retro-American vegetarian and vegan options. Regulars come for the craft beer and specialties such kale burgers, fried green tomato po’ boys and veggie wings. 2370 E. Norris Street (215) 423-5400, cedarpointbarandkitchen.com
  • From celebrated HipCityVeg owner Nicole Marquis comes Charlie was a sinner, Midtown Village’s stylish vegan tippling spot. On the menu are small bites such as zucchini crab cakes, potato carpaccio and house-smoked “sausage,” paired with unusual and veggie-centric cocktails. 131 S. 13th Street, charliewasasinner.com
  • A gastropub with vegan leanings, Memphis Taproom takes bar food to new heights with smoked coconut club sandwiches, spaghetti and lentil meatball sandwiches and roasted cauliflower mac and cheese. 2331 E. Cumberland Street, (215) 425-4460, memphistaproom.com
  • No one need take a pass at the Khyber Pass in Old City. The modern Southern cuisine delights all eaters with choices such as vegan fried chicken po’ boys, grilled seitan sausage sandwiches and vegan buttered popcorn. 56 S. 2nd Street, (215) 238-5888, khyberpasspub.com
  • No animal byproducts sully the kitchen at V Street, the street-food pub from Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. As at their Vedge restaurant, the cuisine pushes the boundaries of vegan flavors and textures, with Korean fried tempeh tacos, carrot “asado” and waffles with miso caramel wowing diners. 126 S. 19th Street, (215) 278-7943, vstreetfood.com

Gluten-Free Highlights:

  • Celiac sufferers won’t miss out on traditional favorites at Boston Style Pizza, home to an entire gluten-free menu that includes a fresh mozzarella appetizer and a healthy hummus platter. What’s more, classic pizza with homemade sauce and Wisconsin pizza cheese is available on gluten-free crust. 447 N. Sumneytown Pike, North Wales, (215) 699-3977, pizzabostonstyle.com
  • With locations across the suburbs, Jules Thin Crust corners the market on limited-diet delights. All the pizzas, including 15 different vegetarian options, can be made on gluten-free crust. 149 W. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 896-6100; 78 S. Main Street, Doylestown, (215) 345-8565; 114 E. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (484) 580-8003; 817 Old York Road, Jenkintown, (215) 886-5555; 300 N. Sycamore Street, Newtown, (215) 579-0111; 1460 Bethlehem Pike, North Wales, (484) 808-2223, julesthincrust.com
  • A pizzeria and bakery with quirky sensibility, Kermit’s Bake Shoppe doesn’t skimp on eaters with specific needs. All the pizzas can be made gluten-free, to be followed by the flourless snickerdoodles, brownies and peanut butter cookies. 2204 Washington Avenue, (267) 639-4267, kermitsbakeshoppe.com
  • A child with celiac disease inspired chef Peter McAndrews to deem all of his restaurants safe for gluten-free eaters. Nowhere is this more rewarding than his legendary hoagie shop Paesano’s, where the signature beef brisket with fried egg or chickpea pancake sandwiches can be served on gluten-free bread. 152 W. Girard Avenue, (267) 886-9556; 1017 S. 9th Street, (215) 440-0371, paesanosphillystyle.com
  • Gluten-free vegans can rest easy while sampling any of the fare at Center City’s PS & Company. The organic muffins, soups, salads and wraps showcase the best of plant-centric cuisine, and the desserts such as rosewater cardamom macaroons put ordinary baked goods to shame. 1706 Locust Street, (215) 282-6582, puresweets.com
  • The gluten-free Main Line crew can roll on down to Raw Can Roll Cafe, where the only thing better than the vibrant colors of the totally non-cooked menu items are the fresh tastes and textures. Desserts such as the coconut nutty brownie are all celiac-friendly.
    767 W. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (484) 580-8454, rawcanrollcafe.com
  • The home-style Venezuelan cuisine at Sazon satisfies vegetarians avoiding wheat with dishes like grilled tofu and mushrooms with brown rice and black beans. An entire gluten-free brunch menu of various arepas (corn patties) delights vegans and vegetarians with toppings such as scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, tofu or veggies. 941 Spring Garden Street, (215) 763-2500, sazonphilly.com
  • Philly’s first “allergen-free” bakery, Sweet Freedom is stocked daily with naturally sweetened, gluten-free, kosher and vegan sweets—from cupcakes to blueberry bars to whole cakes. Another location in Bryn Mawr widens the fan base. 1424 South Street, (215) 545-1899, 1039 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-SFB3, sweetfreedombakery.com
  • Pretzels, muffins, sourdough boules—the sheer range of gluten-free goods at Taffets Bakery astounds. Wheat-free fans flock to the South Philly establishment where they are treated to all the things they thought they had to give up. 1024 S. 9th Street, (215) 551-5511, taffets.com

Eats For All Diets:

  • With a Mediterranean flavor base, Agno Grill offers customizable meals that suit many different lifestyles. A choice of rice, salad or wrap can be embellished with steak, falafel, salmon or lamb meatballs, plus all manner of vegetable salads. 2104 Chestnut Street, (267) 858-4590, agnogrill.com
  • Savory appetites can sample the kale and quinoa burgers and breakfast burritos at Animo. For sweeter cravings, the juice bar offers its signature fruit and veggie-blended beverages, frozen banana custard bowls and smoothies galore. 1701 Arch Street, (267) 519-0949, animojuice.com
  • The fast casual eatery Farmer’s Keep emphasizes all things local, sustainable and fresh with sensitivity to allergies and eliminations. Build-your-own salads can be topped with veggie kabobs, brisket, chicken or pork. 10 S. 20th Street, (215) 309-2928, farmerskeep.com
  • The all-day menu at Front Street Café accommodates any eater looking for nutritious but tasty sustenance. Morning açai bowls, midday quinoa and mushroom-bacon salads and evening soba noodles with tuna and miso butter, match various preferences and predilections. 1253 N. Front Street, (215) 515-3073, frontstreetcafe.net
  • Fuel owner Rocco Cima challenges the notion that fast food can’t be healthy with his menu of wraps, panini and salads, all made from organic ingredients and all under 500 calories. Fuel also offers a juice and coffee bar, as well as desserts. 1225 Walnut Street, (215) 922-FUEL; 1917 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-FUEL; 5 W. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, fuelphilly.com
  • Sushi meets burritos at Hai Street Kitchen, Philly’s homegrown fast food concept. Nori wraps, bowls and salads are topped with a variety of proteins, pickled veggies and zesty sauces like spicy mayo and ginger miso dressing for maximum flavor. 32 S. 18th Street, (215) 964-9465; 125 S. 40th Street, (215) 349-9482, haistreetkitchen.com
  • The brainchild of two Wharton graduates, Herban Quality Eats starts with rice or noodle bowls or seasoned greens. The options from there (steak, salmon, vegan jawn, roasted vegetables) are virtually endless. 3601 Market Street, (215) 386-5000, herbanqualityeats.com
  • Honeygrow, a casual build-your-own stir-fry and salads spot, earns high marks for its stylish interior design. Veg and non-veg, gluten-free and whole-foods options abound, along with smoothies and a buzzing fruit and honey bar. 1601 Sansom Street, (215) 279-7724;
    3731 Walnut Street, (215) 222-0400; 168 E. City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, (610) 667-2573;
    230 N. Radnor Chester Road, Radnor, (610) 688-8393, honeygrow.com
  • Open for breakfast and lunch, Pure Fare serves mostly veg dishes made with seasonal, organic ingredients. Try the kale salad with chickpeas and sunflower seeds and any of the delicious smoothies. Bonus: There’s nothing over 500 calories on the menu. 119 S. 21st Street, (267) 318-7441, purefare.com
  • Ratchada Thai & Laos Cuisine devotes an entire page of its menu to vegan and vegetarian dishes. Located in South Philadelphia, the intimate BYOB serves up an inexpensive lunch. 1117 S. 11th Street, (215) 467-1546, ratchadatlc.com
  • Specializing in local, sustainably raised chicken, Rotisseur naturally appeals to gluten-free eaters, but there are plenty of vegetables on offer, plus a killer tofu banh mi sandwich. The fast-service takeaway offers multiple meal deals to make it a great value. 102 S. 21st Street, (215) 496-9494, rotisseur.net
  • A recent-to-Philly chain, the rapidly expanding Snap Kitchen provides dozens of ready-to-eat options for eaters of all stripes. With gluten-free and Paleo banana pancakes, all-veggie lasagna and vegan strawberry cheesecake, this to-go spot covers just about all dietary bases. 1901 Callowhill Street, (215) 845-0001; 1901 Chestnut Street, (215) 845-0002; 243 Market Street, (215) 845-0003, snapkitchen.com
  • Sweetgreen’s seasonal cuisine encompasses beets and wild rice bowls, kale Caesars and guacamole chicken salads. There’s also a make-your-own track with an amazing array of choices. 2935 Walnut Street, (215) 386-1365; 924 Walnut Street, (215) 454-6770; 69 Coulter Avenue, (610) 642-9400, Ardmore; 1821 Chestnut Street, (215) 665-9710, sweetgreen.com
  • There’s a universal appeal to Wokworks’ noodle and rice bowls, which draw on Asian flavors and add their own spin. The Tokyo Drift, for instance, combines buckwheat soba lemongrass chicken, Brussels sprouts and teriyaki sauce, and customers are encouraged to be creative too. 1935 Chestnut Street, (215) 644-9127, wokworks.com
  • Zahav is a great choice to satisfy veg-lovers and carnivores alike—and gluten-free diners find happy choices here as well. The modern, foodie-favored Israeli restaurant in Society Hill serves up terrific hummus and “salatim” (collection of vegetable salads), along with veggie and meat kebabs and mezze. 237 St. James Place, (215) 625-8800, zahavrestaurant.com

Shop & Eat:

  • Arnold’s Way, a health food store and vegetarian raw cafe in Montgomery County, takes healthy eating to new heights with wraps made from nori and with salads so finely minced they require no dressing. The store shelves are packed with food, vitamins, books and videos. 319 W. Main Street, Lansdale, (215) 361-0116, arnoldsway.com
  • At Essene Market & Café, a hot-and-cold meatless buffet and dining area share the generous space with local and organic produce and healthy grocery items. Plus, they squeeze fresh juices to order, boast baked goods created with multiple dietary restrictions in mind and host an array of events, lectures and classes. 719 S. 4th Street, (215) 922-1146, essenemarket.com
  • The always-bustling Reading Terminal Market is also supremely vegetarian-friendly. Loyal locals stop there for falafel at Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties, grilled cheese from MeltKraft, local and organic produce and raw milk cheeses from Fair Food Farmstand and vegetarian Indian and Pakistani dishes at Nanee’s Kitchen’s. 12th & Arch Streets,
    (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

Contact(s):
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