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5 Very Veggie Brunches: Savory and sweet without the meat

J.R. McMillan

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Cover photo by Brian Kaiser

For the uninitiated omnivore, vegan and vegetarian options may seem scarce, even in a city as innovative and inviting as Columbus when it comes to inclusive cuisine. Long gone are the heyday of hippie joints with lean offerings long on salads, yet still short on something you could sink your teeth into—not that the stereotype was ever entirely accurate.

Though there is certainly far more fare from which to choose than there was a generation ago, veteran vegans and vegetarians may reluctantly admit midday meals and evening eats have always been easier to accommodate than traditional morning menus. And anything a little later, maybe with a little liquor, is almost impossible to find. Even Oddfellows’ unambiguous “Classy as F*ck Brunch Buffet” couldn’t last forever. Woodhouse Vegan’s Monday/Tuesday pop-up persists, though with any luck their new digs in Italian Village will revive the tradition.

Brunch is more than breakfast’s big brother. It’s at least as much a social imperative as a search for sustenance. Be it boozy or just bougie, the leisure class case for more conscientious consumption still remains somewhat shaky. Brunch is about familiar comfort foods, and requires rousing a gaggle of friends whose idea of weekend decadence may not be implicitly plant forward.

But this is when sneaky vegans and vegetarians can show the skeptics exactly where Columbus secretly shines, with approachable spots and unassuming options that might just change the minds of many who can’t imagine brunch beyond bacon.

THE ANGRY BAKER | 891 Oak St.

This Olde Towne East eatery has inspired two o shoots in the Short North and Upper Arlington. But the atmosphere of the original is still a strong draw with scratch-made breads and pastries that are all vegan by design.

Go for the Brioche French Toast Sandwich stuffed with eggs and swiss with a side of maple syrup for dipping—or the Fork & Knife Burrito, filled with potatoes, avocado, black beans, and mozzarella then baked and topped with two eggs, salsa verde, sriracha, and green onions. Make either vegetarian choice vegan with seitan and cashew mozz instead. Be sure to grab something sweet to go.

Check out: theangrybaker.com

ALCHEMY KITCHEN | 1439 Grandview Ave.

The more robust sibling of the Parsons Avenue café, the Grandview location offers an expanded menu with holistic nutrition that makes it far more than just another juice bar. (But seriously, if you don’t order a smoothie, you’re missing out.)

Toasts are tempting, especially the Baconana, topped with almond butter, banana, coconut bacon, smoked sea salt, and maple on whole wheat. But the standout here is still the Mexican Shakshuka, a twist on the Mediterranean staple with sunny-side eggs in a spiced pepper and tomato sauce, black beans, avocado, Bulgarian feta, pickled chilies and red onions, cilantro, and a slab of farm toast.

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Check out: alchemyjuicecafe.com

BLUNCH | 2973 N High St.

Perfectly blurring the line between breakfast and lunch was always the point at this High Street haunt just south of Weber. With a generous mix of vegetarian selections, there’s plenty here to keep everyone happy— including a drink menu from bloody to bubbly with a solid slate of local craft brews.

The Veggie Benedict with sautéed vegetables on a panko-crusted portabella with poached eggs and roasted red pepper-cashew sauce is the vegetarian spin on a morning mainstay. For something less savory, you can’t go wrong with a Pancake Flight of sautéed bananas foster, blueberry lemon ricotta, and sweet potato with toasted marshmallows.

Check out: blunchcolumbus.com

LITTLE EATER | Multiple locations

“Produce inspired” is more than just a mantra for this quaint Clintonville location now with a sister shop in the North Market. Bright, white, subway tiles are as synonymous with the brand as the seasonal selection of locally sourced ingredients.

Start with the Spinach & Leek Frittata, with an unexpected balance of dill, turmeric, and feta—or the Mushroom Quiche with shallots and Gruyère. For something with some crunch, try any of their toasts, from Avocado Toasted Seed Mix with olive oil and sea salt on a slice of Lucky Cat bread to Pistachio Nut Butter with strawberry-citrus jam on a Matija Breads ciabatta.

Check out: littleeater.com

PORTIA’S CAFÉ | 4428 Indianola Ave.

Once coupled with the beloved Clintonville Community Market, this Indianola outpost is adding a second location later this year in a familiar space, the same spot as the old Whole World Natural Restaurant and Bakery off High Street, a neighborhood standard for nearly four decades.

Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

The Garden Breakfast Wrap with tofu eggs, “cheeze,” “sawsage,” tomato, lettuce, and mayo on a gluten-free tortilla is a meal you can hold in one hand. But don’t skip a side of their Rosemary Herbed Home Fries. If sweet is more your speed, their waffles are unmatched with toppings ranging from banana and blueberry to chocolate chip and coconut, as well as seasonal surprises.

Check out: portiascafe.com

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Food & Drink

Burritos To-Go: Six spots with carry-out or delivery for National Burrito Day

614now Staff

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It's always great to support local, but when you can do so and enjoy a burrito? That's a win-win.

While COVID-19 has made going to restaurants almost non-existent, carry-out and delivery still remains an option for many places. And to celebrate National Burrito Day, we wanted to send you in the direction of six spots that are offering the beloved-burrito through carry-out and/or delivery.

Señor Antonios Mexican Restaurant | Carry-out | 8617 Columbus Pike

Everything a traditional burrito should be; grilled chicken, fajitas, and smothered in cheese sauce.

https://www.facebook.com/SenorAntonios/photos/rpp.138883582788520/468001616543380/?type=3&theater

Dos Hermanos | Carry-out and delivery | 59 Spruce St.

Though their hours are restricted now—11 a.m. to 5 p.m.—you can still snag one of these at the North Market, or through apps like UberEats, PostMates, and GrubHub.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtEJocWAi5w/

Brekkie Shack | Carry-out and delivery| 1060 Yard St.

It's never too late in the day for a breakfast burrito!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-Cvtjfn8fi/

Chile Verde | Carry-out and delivery | Varies

Its best recommended to attack a Chile Verde burrito with a knife, fork, and loads of extra napkins.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7lyLlJA9Xa/

Northstar Cafe | Carry-out and delivery | Varies

Northstar keeps the vegetarians in mind with this burrito featuring tofu, brown rice, and greens.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8HUrKODiyP/

Cuco's Taqueria | Curb-side pick-up and delivery | 2162 W Henderson Rd.

Cuco's makes sure you have enough burrito to last you at least two meals. Plus, what's National Burrito Day without some chips and salsa?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsN_SYGlTHI/

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Food & Drink

Big Cat Energy: Watch Brio Asst. GM channel Joe Exotic in new video

Mitch Hooper

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At this point, the Tiger King references are all but inescapable. And it's for good reason; the show somehow gets more and more detached from reality as it goes on.

That being said, no one expected this video when Brio took to Facebook to announce its still doing carry-out orders at its Easton location.

https://www.facebook.com/brio.easton.9/videos/118240286484197/

"Hey! Do y’all have the hunger of a large jungle cat?" the post said. "Y’all tired of being caged up all day? Can’t find meat in the grocery store? Well, git yerself down to the Brio! Hurry, and try not to git bit!"

But this isn't the first time they've used a unique approach to announcements.

https://www.facebook.com/brio.easton.9/videos/117821209859438/UzpfSTEwMDA0ODk0Njc3ODUzNDozMDYwNjExMjk0OTk0MTQ6MTA6MDoxNTg4MzE2Mzk5Oi03NDQ0OTc1OTI2Nzk2MDk4MzQx/

Visit this link to place a pick-up order.

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Food & Drink

Katalina’s owner leading charge for independent restaurant owners

614Now

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Known for her famous Pancake Balls (ridiculously delish, BTW), Katalina Day, the namesake behind Katalina's, is urging Gov. DeWine to consider emergency financial lifelines for her industry.

Restaurants were among the first and most devastated industries impacted by the coronavirus. Many notable local brands, such as Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, have closed most operations. According to Day, the industry needs immediate government intervention to survive.

Day started a Change.org petition which articulates the unique and specific challenges faced by the industry and the people who rely on it for their livelihood.

Addressing Gov. Dewine for relief, the petition is closing in on 1,000 signatures

"We have followed orders to close our doors to protect our communities, knowing what it would mean for our businesses, and we are grateful as citizens that you were one of the first to foresee that necessity. We did so without protest, and those of us who remain open are providing a valuable service through delivery, despite it being increasingly less profitable (as delivery services infringe on any profit)." said Day in the petition.

The petition closes with: "Bottom line: From our employees to our vendors and landlords to the burden on the healthcare industry and government, there is not a part of society that will not be touched by this crisis. "

Given these unprecedented challenges, please immediately consider:

  • Emergency grants for immediate business needs such as payroll and crucial operating expenses including food orders and utilities. 
  • Commercial and residential rent abatement and a moratorium on evictions both for owners and employees. 
  • Immediate cash relief for current and laid-off employees.
  • Abatement of payroll and sales tax.
  • Temporary commercial and government loan payment relief.
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