Today, Vegan Mofo asks us "Where do you eat when you want someone else to cook for you?" So I figured this might be a good time to list my eight favorite restaurants in Memphis.
1) Imagine Vegan Cafe
Any regular reader of this blog probably already knows my feelings about Imagine Vegan Cafe. This all-vegan comfort food cafe is run by Adam and Kristie Jeffrey — the nicest family ever — and they serve lots of plant meat-based meals, like vegan chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, vegan cheese ravioli, vegan beef quesadillas, and so much more. The Reuben — loaded with sauteed deli meat, sauerkraut, and special sauce — is one of my go-to items. By the way, for any local readers wondering why Imagine is currently closed, they're moving across the street to a new location and should re-open in mid-November! By the way, they're also raising money to buy a vegan soft-serve machine on Go Fund Me, so if you can spare a couple bucks, you'd be giving Memphis the gift of ice cream.
2) Pho Binh
This Vietnamese mom-and-pop is a Midtown Memphis institution. Everyone loves it for the less-than-$10 lunch buffet that's loaded with all sorts of fried tofu dishes. The lemongrass tofu is legendary (even with non-vegans). They even sell shirts there that say "Pho Binh — Memphis-Style Tofu." Yes, I have one. Greg and I had lunch there with my old Flyer coworkers Susan and Toby just last week! Here's my buffet haul.
3) Fuel Cafe
With a focus on fresh, seasonal foods, Fuel Cafe is the place to go when you need something just a little bit fancy but not at all pretentious. They're not all vegan, but the menu is loaded with vegan choices — homemade veggie burgers, vegan grilled cheeses, vegan tacos, fresh veggie & rice bowls, giant salads, and black bean & quinoa chili (pictured here with Tofutti sour cream).
4) Midtown Crossing Grill
My neighborhood bar! This casual pizza place is just a few steps from my front door, and owner Octavia is super-great about making sure her menu is inclusive for everyone. That means she offers vegan brunch alongside non-vegan options, vegan cheese for her pizzas, and there's even a banh mi sandwich named after me! I love stopping in there for vegan pizza!
5) Zaka Bowl
This totally vegan bowl restaurant just opened, and I'm already in love with it. It's a casual build-a-bowl place, where you go down the line and choose a base (my faves are red quinoa or wild rice), high-protein veggies (the tofu is amazing!), and all manner of roasted veggies and raw veggies. They let you pour the sauce on yourself, so you can get as much as you like.
6) Blue Nile
Okay, truth: I love all of Memphis' Ethiopian restaurants, but Blue Nile made my fave list because, not only do they have amazing injera and wats, they also make some bomb-ass tofu skewers. And they have beer! Win!
7) Crazy Noodle
You knew I'd have to include the noodle shop, right? Y'all know I love my noodles, and Crazy Noodle makes the best in town. They can veganize just about any soup using veggie broth, and they offer a large menu of ramen options. One of my faves is the Tofu Ramen!
8) LYFE Kitchen
This healthy fast-casual food chain has locations all over the country, but the HQ is in Memphis. They have loads of vegan options, many featuring Gardein meats. I've sampled almost every vegan option on the menu, but my faves are the Morning Veggie Wrap (a tofu scramble wrap), the Quinoa Crunch Wrap with Chili-Lime Tofu, the Tofu "Fish" Tacos, and the Veggie Burger (with Daiya, always!).