You wouldn't expect a restaurant that specializes in beef brisket, wood-grilled steaks, and burgers to be referred to as "a hidden vegan-friendly gem" by a blogger from Yummy Plants. And yet, Double Wide Grill satisfies both meat- and vegetable-lovers, with menus that run the food-chain gamut from lentil veggie burgers to St. Louis–style pork ribs. Adding to the eclectic feel, both of the restaurant's locations are housed in converted gas stations where vintage pumps still stand out front. Indoors, the decor pays homage to these rugged beginnings with bottle-based chandeliers, a hubcap ceiling, and a vintage trailer that recalls Floridian vacations to the wetlands where all lawns' pink flamingos migrate every year.
Patrons can also stop by on weekend mornings for brunch on the outdoor patio, or hang around until late at night for karaoke and more than 30 types of beer at the license-plate-covered bar. Sports fans can watch games on four 10-foot-wide high-resolution projection screens.
If tea is the thinking person's coffee, then coffee is the tea for the thinking person's action hero. Caffeinate and consume with today's Groupon: $5 for $10 worth of organic, fair-trade coffee and casual fare at Morning Glory Coffeehouse in Morningside. Open every day, Morning Glory features free WiFi, signature sips, and intimate live music.
The Flaming Ice Cube might as well be a good vibes factory. Part cafe, gift shop, and yarn shop, visitors can stop in for a veggie burger, knitting lesson, or soy candle. At the cafe, chefs craft homemade vegan plates from a menu that includes a BBQ chick'n sandwich and brown rice bowls layered with asian vegetables, marinated organic tempeh, and the cafe's signature plum sauce. Meanwhile, instructors get needles moving at knitting classes, during which participants learn knitting basics or more advanced techniques for creating hats, scarves, and impractical bikinis.
Gateway Grill serves breakfast daily, so early risers can head butt breakfast entrees throughout the week. Tuck into an array of omelets packed with veggies, cheeses, and meats ($6.99–7.99), or breakfast sandwiches such as the belt ($6.99), which uses its namesake to keep bacon, egg, and tomato fillings from bursting out of grilled italian bread.
When guests walk into the bright blue confines of Square Café, they find owner Sherree Goldstein and her friendly crew serving up smiles and steaming cups of custom-blended Kiva Han coffee. Preparing eclectic breakfast and lunch dishes, chefs crack shells for three-egg omelets, green eggs and ham with homemade pesto, and form their own housemade veggie burgers. Attentive servers endlessly refill freshly brewed ice tea and help health-savvy diners find the best menu options. Inside, colorful local artwork fuels discussions about which colors deserve to be primary, and on the sidewalk patio, diners can scan the street for signs of Square Café's vegetable-oil-powered Mercedes.
Gayot proclaimed Square Café a "vibrant eatery," describing the "generously portioned, cooked-to-order breakfast and lunch items on huge square plates." In addition to the well-crafted eats, the staff's energy and enthusiasm keep the café's sizeable crowd of regulars coming back—the manager, Kevin, even sports a Square Café tattoo as evidence.
The chefs at Zaiaka draw on their knowledge of 1,000-year-old recipes to fill their menu with authentic Indian dishes, which they say helped earn them a 2012 Readers' Choice Gold Award for Best Ethnic Food from Trib Total Media. They cook vegetarian dishes including palak paneer, house-made cheese cubes and fresh spinach cooked in ground spices, and vegetable biryani, the chef's specialty rice entree. Naan bread baked in the eatery’s clay tandoor pairs with rogan josh, lamb cooked in a gravy of aromatic spices. During dinner, the dining area swells with soft music, which is punctuated with the clink of wineglasses full of beverages brought from home. Like a maitre d’ arriving late to work, the dark tables are draped in white tablecloths, and light flutters across the rich tapestries that cover the walls.