Memphis finally has an all-vegan restaurant! Imagine Vegan Cafe opened on the last Saturday in April, but I'm just now getting around to a post because I've been collecting images of the food served there. I wanted to show y'all the variety of vegan comfort foods on the menu at this no-frills, diner-style eatery.
Imagine is run by the awesome Adam and Kristie (read my interview with Kristie here), a couple of young parents who wanted to open a place that served kid-friendly vegan comfort fare. Think corn dogs, country fried steak, cheesesticks, veggie dogs with the works, pizza. I'm a big fan of faux meat, and there's plenty of that served at Imagine. They use different brands, but several dishes are made with Gardein, my favorite plant protein brand.
Since the place opened, Adam said they have had a huge number of omnis wandering in to try vegan food for the first time. I love that Imagine has omni-friendly menu items, like fried vegan chicken sandwiches and vegan flank steak. It's not all super-healthy food. It's comfort food, and that's what vegans need when we dine out. I can do healthy at home, but when I eat out, I want something a little naughty.
Despite the fact that Imagine serves lots of faux fare, the prices are very reasonable. Sandwiches with a side item cost about $6, and most entrees are under $10.
But enough with all this talk. Let's get to the photos.
The most important thing about Imagine: They have VEGAN CHEESESTICKS!!!! OMG, y'all. These are so, so good. I believe these are the Chicago Soy Dairy brand, which are Teese-filled. Even my cheese-eating vegetarian friend thought these were better than ones made with dairy mozzarella:
Also on the appetizer menu is this very creamy Spinach Dip, which my newly-vegan friend Hannah said was very much like its dairy-laden counterpart:
You can't have a comfort food cafe without Dogs 'n' Blankets! These are wrapped in flaky crescent rolls:
Even salads can be a little sinful when they're topped with fried goodness and plenty of dressing, like this Fried Chicken Salad:
Imagine offers a couple of entrees in a bowl, like three-bean chili (not pictured) and this Gumbo with vegan chicken and sausage:
There's an extensive sandwich menu, and all sandwiches come with your choice of one side item. Here's my friend Stephanie's Philly Cheesesteak with Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
And my Fried Chicken Sandwich (yep, that's Gardein) with some of the world's best vegan Macaroni & Cheese:
My friend Leslie had the Eggless Egg Salad with Sauteed Spinach:
I can't remember who ordered this Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, but I'm sure it was delicious:
And several friends tried the Vegan Memphis, a shredded BBQ sandwich with slaw, beans, and fries. I haven't tried it yet, but I've only heard fabulous things:
Entree plates come with a choice of two sides, making for a heartier meal. I fell in love with this Chicken Drumstick Meal with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy and Corn Casserole. They use Veggie Brothers Drumstix, but this was the first I'd heard of that brand. The "chicken" was really, really fibrous, and when you bit into it, it pulled apart just like eating actual chicken. Some people might be weirded out by realistic fake meat, but that just makes it better to me:
My pal Michael ordered the Beef Tips & Rice, Mac & Cheese, and Broccoli & Cheese. They use the Gardein Beefless Tips for this:
And Amy ordered the Spinach Florentine Raviolis with Garlic Toast:
But wait! That's not all! Imagine has a great selection of vegan desserts! There's brownie sundaes, banana splits, and several flavors of VEGAN MILKSHAKES! The Peanut Butter Milkshake is, hands down, the best thing I've ever put in my mouth:
A local lady named Karina Khun bakes cupcakes, layer cakes, brownies, and cookies daily to sell at Imagine. I couldn't resist this Cookies 'n' Cream Cupcake:
Imagine even sells the Go Max Go candy bars!! Now I'll never have to order my Mahalo's online again!
I might be biased, but I think Imagine Vegan Cafe may be the best thing to happen to Memphis ... like ever. Now that we have a vegan restaurant, the city's cool points just inched way, way higher. Look out, Portland. Here we come!
Imagine Vegan Cafe is located at 2156 Young Ave. Check out their website here.