By: Madi Tortora
About 7.3 million people in the United States are vegetarian, according to the Vegetarian Times. Although the diet is constantly growing in popularity, the food options can be slightly limited, especially when trying to eat out. There are only so many times that one can order macaroni and cheese at a restaurant before realizing the need to try something new. But how?
Lucky enough for anyone living in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area, there are a large amount of options for people who are either completely vegetarian or who hold themselves to a vegetarian-inclined diet. Whether it’s indian food, a really good veggie burger, or a vegan pizza, Ann Arbor provides it and does it well.
Back2Roots is a vegan restaurant located in downtown Ann Arbor that focuses on serving their customers real food. By real food, they mean that their ingredients are GMO free, without white sugars or breads, and are locally sourced. A lot of their food focuses on spiced and herbs that have anti-inflammatory agents and minerals, along with antioxidants and phytonutrients. The dinner menu features an array of soups, salads, and bowls, along with burger and wrap options, main entrees, and desserts. With many restaurants that are vegan, vegetarians may even have struggles finding options they like; this is not one of those vegan restaurants. As a vegetarian, there were plenty of options that looked promising and it was extremely difficult to pick one. With vegan and vegetarian food, you can deal with both fine dining and take-out style restaurants. I would label Back2Roots as a more fine-dining vegan restaurant, which can also mean that the food can be a little bit pricey. Although it was a little expensive, the food was both delicious and beautiful to look at, and I can’t wait to go back.
The Earthen Jar
The Earthen Jar is an indian buffet-style restaurant also located in Ann Arbor. It is mostly vegan and vegetarian, and was actually the first and only Kosher restaurant in Ann Arbor. Their menu features classic indian food items like channa masala and multiple moong dal recipes – each vegan item being labeled as such. There are hot and cold options, along with sides and desserts. The price is extremely cheap for everything that you get, and the food is totally worth the price. It’s a really good option for people who are looking for vegan food at an inexpensive price, which can be hard to find sometimes.
The Lunchroom is a completely vegan restaurant located in Ann Arbor. They also have another location that is a bakery and cafe. This restaurant is a fan-favorite of many people living in the area, and was my favorite restaurant that I attended. Menu-wise, The Lunchroom had the widest array of options. These ranged from sandwiches to soups, to salads to bowls, to noodle dishes to desserts. The sandwiches catered to the vegans that may miss their meat, and offered their take on a BLT and a reuben. Almost all of their options looked delicious to me, and it was extremely hard to choose between them all. I ended up also getting a desert, which blew me out of the water. This restaurant can be a bit pricey and borders on being fine dining, but the beautiful location and the wide array of options makes the price extremely worth it.
Elevation burger is a burger restaurant that is a little newer to downtown Ann Arbor. They are not completely vegetarian or vegan, but they are vegetarian-friendly. This restaurant focuses on providing completely organic, free-range, and grass-fed beef, while using environmentally sustainable and non-hazardous construction. They have two veggie burger options, which is unlike many chains who either have one or none at all. One is completely vegan and has absolutely no cheese, and the other is vegetarian and features a blend of veggies and cheese together. While both look extremely delicious, I am a lover of cheese, and immediately leaned towards the option with the most dairy possible. The prices were not unreasonable for being completely organic and also having vegetarian options, and had a veggie burger that I would definitely eat again.
Pieology is also a restaurant that is a little newer to Ann Arbor. Their menu basically allows any of their items to be vegetarian, because you can pick and choose what items you want on your pizza. A really interesting part of this restaurant, though, is the fact that they have vegan cheese. Many create-your-own pizza places have begun to get with the program and have started selling vegan cheeses, and it’s extremely exciting to see. The prices at this restaurant are extremely reasonable for what you get, and you can literally add whatever you wish to the pizza. I am a pizza lover, so this is a fantastic option for me and my family when we go out.