Early vegetarians were faced with the challenge of lassoing an apple off a tree or coaxing a corncob into a bear trap. Hunt a healthy harvest with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of vegetarian soul food and drinks at Soul Vegetarian East in Greater Grand Crossing.
Founded to infuse the city with healthy vegan fare, Soul Vegetarian East serves tasty and nutritious noshables in a warm, welcoming environment. For starters, guests can pad their paunches with battered onion rings ($3.50) or battered tofu tidbits served with their sauce of preference ($5.50). A Jerusalem steak sandwich satisfies handheld hankerings ($5.50), and specialty down-home greens ($5.50) and the piquant BBQ Twist platter ($9) fly mouths south without the temptation of SkyMall shopping. Breakfast, which is served on Saturdays and Sundays, includes hearty options such as home-style grits ($2 small, $3 large) and whole-wheat pancakes ($3.50), slowly soaking up maple syrup and the covetous glances of grubby Victorian confectioners.
Soul Vegetarian quenches liquid cravings with herbal teas in peppermint, lemon zinger, and red zinger ($1.50 small, $2 large), as well as fresh fruit and vegetable juices and indulgent shakes, which can double as a creamy meal or plasma replacement. Visit the vivacious vegetarian venue for a delicious opportunity to dine with health before health elopes with the soymilk man and leaves you broken-hearted.
Check, Please! featured Soul Vegetarian East. Centerstage Chicago and Gapers Block reviewed Soul Vegetarian East. Chicagoist featured the BBQ Twist sandwich. More than 150 Yelpers give it an average of four stars:
- With prices ranging from $4-$12 it's easy to indulge in appetizers and side dishes—and you should, as none of them disappoint. – Kate Rockwood, Centerstage Chicago
- Nestled among Grand Crossing's cozy bungalows at 75th and Indiana, Soul Vegetarian East cooks some of the tastiest, most filling all vegan comfort soul food and serves it wearing ethnic clothing. – Chris Brunn, Gapers Block
Original Soul Vegetarian
"Everything is the way your mom used to make it." That's what the owner of Original Soul Vegetarian (formerly Soul Vegetarian East) said during her restaurant's feature on Check, Please! back in 2008. The food certainly tastes that way, but her statement leaves out the big secret to the restaurant's cuisine: they don't use meat, fats, or oils. One hundred percent of the food comes from plants—from the cornbread right down to the "ribs." The chefs also keep refined sugars, flours, and rice out of the kitchen while keeping all of their thoughts organic.
Yet for all that sacrifice when it comes to ingredients, Original Soul Vegetarian has been turning out some pretty tasty soul food and barbecue for more than 25 years. In fact, Time Out Chicago called the restaurant's BBQ Twist sandwich "as close to real barbecue pulled pork as vegetarians will get." The restaurant also made Groupon's list of the top vegetarian spots in Chicago.