Veg Out: 10 Ways to Eat Meat-Free in Memphis
Memphis is a city that loves meat (we’ve got several annual festivals devoted to the celebration of various meats). As a result, if you’re not a meat eater, it can seem little difficult to find places to eat. In reality, many restaurants have at least a few vegetarian options. Still, here’s a dining guide for places that cater to vegetarians and vegans in the Bluff City:
1. Imagine Vegan Cafe (2156 Young Avenue)
Imagine is Memphis first 100 percent vegan cafe, but their menu of comfort food (think fried chicken, mac’n’cheese, cake) is big enough to suit omnivores, too. The restaurant is casual and family-friendly.
2. Jasmine Vegetarian and Thai (916 South Cooper)
Jasmine is a small, family-owned Thai restaurant in an old house in Cooper-Young. The extensive menu is vegetarian and vegan friendly, with most dishes available with tofu or vegetables instead of meat. Try the excellent Masaman curry or their daily $7.50 lunch special (it comes with soup, spring rolls, dumplings and an entree).
3. R. P. Tracks (3547 Walker Avenue)
While there are a lot of veg-friendly items on the R.P. Tracks menu, you can ignore them in favor of one thing: barbecue tofu nachos. Tracks is right next to the U of M, so it’s part casual restaurant, part bar. The staff is friendly, and if there’s one item standing between you and being able to eat something, they’re happy to help out.
4. Cosmic Coconut (5101 Sanderlin Ave)
Cosmic Coconut is a 100 percent vegan juice bar in East Memphis. They’ve got fresh squeezed juices (try the super refreshing Cuke Skywalker), smoothies, coffee, tea and small snacks (like fruit bowls, vegan chocolate and guacamole).
5. Fuel Cafe (1761 Madison) Update: As of July 2016, Fuel is temporarily closed.
Fuel is a casual American cafe in a converted mechanic’s shop in Midtown. They’ve got a ton of options for vegans, vegetarians and omnis alike. Try the chili, veggie burgers or tacos. Also, their huge patio is one of the best in Memphis.
6. Pho Hoa Binh (1615 Madison Ave)
Everybody loves Pho Hoa Binh’s super cheap all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, which is loaded with vegetarian and vegan curries and stir frys. For dinner, try their lemongrass tofu – it’s a local favorite.
7. Abyssinia (2600 Poplar Avenue)
Even as an omnivore, sometimes, there’s nothing better than the vegetarian combination from Abyssinia Ethiopian. It comes with lentils, greens, seasoned mashed vegetables and plenty of spongy injera. If you’re not vegan, be sure to get a side of their homemade cottage cheese – it’s way more like super creamy feta than the kind you buy at the store.
8. Mayuri (6524 Quince Rd)
This Indian restaurant is very much worth the drive to the ‘burbs. During the week, they serve a full dinner menu, but I recommend going on the weekends (or at lunch) when they have their amazing buffet. It’s a little more advanced than the average Indian buffet – expect vindaloo, masala, curries and koorma.
9. DejaVu (51 S. Main St)
Flip over the menu at this tiny Cajun and Creole restaurant just south of downtown and you’ll find an entire vegetarian and vegan menu. Some of the same Louisiana favorites are there, but there are also plenty of veg-friendly takes on Southern classics.
10. Trolley Stop Market (704 Madison Avenue)
Trolley Stop Market is a farmer-owned market and cafe on the edge of downtown. While they’ve got plenty of locally grown groceries and Memphis-made crafts, the real reason to visit is their cafe. They’ve got plenty of vegetarian breakfast, sandwiches, meat-and-three plates and excellent pizzas.
This isn’t a complete list – there are plenty of other Memphis restaurants that are vegetarian and vegan friendly. For Memphis restaurant reviews from a real live vegan, you can’t go wrong with Vegan Crunk.