Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

Eating Vegan In Columbus, Ohio

Published on October 6, 2011 by   ·   204 Comments Pin It
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Sarah-Mai Miller is the foodie behind Eat Pure, a vegan food + travel blog. Today she shares the best of healthful eats in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio;

I grew up in Ohio (yes, I’m a buckeye) and every time I visit Columbus I’m amazed by all of the vegan options available. It’s so amazing that this is just my first installment. I’ve collected my eating adventures from the past year with much more to follow in the coming months!

I have to start my journey at Northstar. It’s my favorite spot for breakfast. Their Breakfast Burrito is my dish of choice. Simply ask them to prepare it vegan and they’ll sub the eggs for tofu and omit the cheese. With black beans, sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, fresh herbs and salsa for dipping, you won’t miss anything by going vegan.

I’m pretty picky about my tofu and Northstar prepares theirs just right. Seasoned with salt and pepper and seared on the outside.

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They also make a homemade Ginger Ale with fresh mint and lime that I find completely irresistible.

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For lunch or dinner, their Whole Grilled Artichoke is divine.

They also serve a Burger made with organic brown rice, black beans and beets. Again, just let them know you’re vegan and they’ll take care of the rest.

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The atmosphere is always cheery and bright, with an open kitchen where you can see all of the action taking place.

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Nida’s Thai has two locations in the Short North, one on High Street and one in the North Market. Their Pad Cashew is perfectly crisp, salty and savory. I always look for this dish at Thai restaurants…it varies from place to place but I just love the cashews. The texture is such a nice complement to the tofu and sauteed vegetables. Just make sure to let your waiter/waitress know you’re vegan so that they don’t use any fish sauce (it’s essential to always do this at Asian restaurants in particular).

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If you’re craving something sweet, Pattycake Bakery is where it’s at. An all vegan bakery, they offer muffins, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and….whoopie pies. When I was there they had both Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

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And for my Grandmother’s 88th birthday, we ordered a dozen ‘Hostess-style’ cupcakes. Sugar coma.

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On the Fly was a casual street food inspired restaurant that has since closed since my visit there. They were owned by Dragonfly neo-V, an upscale vegan restaurant next door. I decided to still include my experience there because Dragonfly expects to continue to offer a casual weekday lunch that will be similar to On the Fly’s menu.

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I took my nephews to On the Fly for lunch during their Spring Break. The Jolly Fries were the crowd favorite. Crunchy, breaded potato wedges served with vegan cheese and sour cream.

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The Lentil Chili was delicious, especially with the cornbread, cheese and sour cream served on top!

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They serve several types of Empanadas. The one below had a savory black bean + chickpea filling. The crust was perfect, not too thick or thin and with just the right amount of crunch. The filling was very rustic, with chunks of chickpeas and black beans throughout. They also offer sweet Empanadas and cupcakes for dessert.

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And right next door is their gourmet restaurant, Dragonfly neo-V. The menu changes seasonally and their dishes are really inventive. I had the Pecan Crusted Portobello served with kale and vegan mac and cheese. Seriously delicious, I can’t wait to go back and try everything on the menu.

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams offers two absolutely delectable vegan sorbets – Cherry Lambic and Riesling Poached Pear. Sometimes it can get pretty boring eating sorbet. I love when ice creameries value complex sorbet flavors, as I do. All of Jeni’s ingredients are, as they put it, ‘legit’. No strange chemicals or additives, just whole foods and flavors. The Cherry Lambic is my favorite. It actually tastes effervescent, not too sweet and with a real cherry flavor, no fake cherry syrup here.

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While researching veg restaurants in Columbus on Happy Cow, I stumbled upon a bar called Hal + Al’s that serves only vegan food.

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A good friend met me there and we ordered several items on the menu to share.

First, Eight Layer Nachos with soy cheese, green peppers, veggie chili, olives, onions, tomatoes, hot peppers and jalapenos.

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The Luna Burger (a veggie burger made locally in Columbus), served with tomato, onion and lettuce on a pretzel roll.

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And Mac ‘un Cheese with Tofurky hot dogs..really great and so American, I just wish there was more of the awesome cheesy sauce!

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I have to admit, driving there, I wondered what we were in for. Even after I walked in the door, I was hesitant. Normally, I don’t have high hopes for bar food. However, everything we had was really good. I mean, great vegan bar food, what more could you ask for?

They also have Vegan Chili, Fried Pickles, Beer Brats, Fried Avocados and Mushrooms & Tacos, just to name a few.

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Growing up in the Midwest as a vegetarian, I was a rare breed. The question ‘Well then what do you eat?’ was asked far too often. Now, there are vegan ‘Hostess’ cupcakes, vegan Mac & Cheese, and an all vegan bar. And every trip there, I find a new veg-friendly restaurant. Much more to come next month!

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