Twin Cities Vegetarian Restaurants

Twin Cities Vegetarian Restaurants | Kale and Ale

Photo by Markus Spiske/Unsplash

I’ve wanted to write about my favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis, St. Paul and beyond) in one spot for a long time.

Recently, the Eater article “18 Essential Restaurants for Vegetarians in Minneapolis and St. Paul” was published, and featured a spot with steak in the name. Reading the name on a list aimed at vegetarian spots was a disappointment and gave me a long pause, so I decided it is time to finally write my post about my favorite veg-friendly spots. Whether you are visiting from out of town, new to eating a plant-based diet or are looking for somewhere different to eat, think of this as a good starting point.

Below are restaurants I recommend along with a short reason why it’s included. To be on the list, the restaurant need not be plant-based, but must focus on plants, seasonal and local food, and have veggie options very clearly marked. These are restaurants I’ve been to myself that I would recommend, listed in alphabetical order. This post will be updated as I try new spots, as I don’t eat out often so I’m slow to try new restaurants.

What restaurant would you recommend I eat at and add to this list? Leave a note in the comments below.

Note: I’m professional writer, editor and content creator; if Eater or anyone is looking for a vegetarian to write about hot or new Twin Cities spots or plant-based trends, contact me for writing opportunities at

Agra CultureThis fast-casual restaurant features healthy, simple food where meals are built a la cart and protein can be substituted.

The Bad WaitressThe menu at the two locations varies slightly, but both have a good variety of solid diner food that can be made vegetarian or vegan and is clearly marked.

The Depot TavernA solid choice if you are downtown or before a show at First Avenue, you will find classics like burgers and sandwiches with fries, tots or salad, that will keep you full through the encore. Tip: You can request half fries and half tots as your side, and the veg BLT is very filling.

French Meadow CafeIt focuses on special diets and local, fresh and organic food. I have been here for dinner, and I know breakfast and the airport location are both very popular options.

Hard Times CafeThis might be my favorite veggie restaurant, everything I’ve had is good and I can’t stop thinking about it. It is very no frills (I don’t think they have a website and only accept cash, how punk of them!) It’s just greasy spoon food, my favorite kind. What’s good? Everything I’ve had!

The Herbivorous ButcherNot a restaurant, this vegan butcher offers meat-free meats and cheese to go, and features sandwiches, soups and a nice selection of shelf-based treats. Read my recipe for Herbivorous Butcher pulled pork stuffed avocado.

Hola ArepaFresh, Latin food found in Minneapolis. Simple dishes that are clearly marked what are or can be made vegetarian or vegan.

J. Selby’sThey make the food meat-eaters crave, but are all plant-based. Popular items include are soyclones and cauliflower “buffalo” wings (a dish I can’t stop thinking about).

Milkjam Creamery: An ice cream shop with unique flavors where the owners are lactose intolerant, so there are always a handful of dairy-free options. Tip: Each scoop is very filling.

Pizza LuceService salads, sandwiches and pizzas, where many can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. It has unique combos, a seasonal menu and a solid brunch. It took me about five visits before I even had a pizza because the salads and sandwiches are so good.

Pizza NeaNeapolitan pizza with lots of ingredients, including many veggie meat options from Herbivorous Butcher, and vegan cheese so everyone can have what they want.

ReverieFlavorful dishes line the menu where ingredients are prepared in-house daily. They can run out of popular dishes, so it’s a reason to return. Read my review of Reverie Cafe + Bar dinner and breakfast.

Seward CafeVery no-frills cafe with flavorful food, a classic spot.

Spoonriver: Higher-end vegetarian restaurant serving contemporary food in a nice setting.

Triple Rock Social ClubVery veg friendly to grab a bite of classic bar food before a show or when you are out and about in the neighborhood. I have heard great things about breakfast but haven’t had it.

World Street KitchenA food truck and restaurant that focuses on world food, it features fresh flavors and veggie options.

What restaurant would you recommend I eat at and add to this list? Leave a note in the comments below.

Friday Links

We have made it to the end of a short work week! It’s officially “summer” season up here in Minnesota, but I know for many of you it’s very warm and has been so for a while. What wonderful things are you doing this week? I’m going to visit my family in Iowa.

Speaking of, I went to Decorah, Iowa, last weekend; look for a blog recap soon. On the way home I checked out Forager Brewing Company in Rochester, Minnesota. Such a cool space, it has lots of little spaces, rooms and nooks, with all kinds of decor, food and beer styles. I posted a picture on my Instagram. (Follow me at Kale and Ale if you are on IG!)

RELATED: Rochester daytrip: Breweries and hiking options


Speaking of, if you are looking for new drinks, I’m hosting a giveaway of a copy of “Wild Drinks and Cocktails,” so enter by Monday! Enter for your chance to win here. Even if you don’t win, check out the recipe for the Claret Cup.

I love running in different locations and races that are on new routes. As the article “9 Best Places to Run in the U.S.” states, running while traveling is great because it’s a way to sight see, feel like a local and work up an appetite for new restaurants and food. I really couldn’t agree more. While I haven’t run any of these places, I’ve walked or been near a few, and can agree these are good locations. What is the best place you have run?

Do you love food trucks and live in the Twin Cities? Here are a handful of food trucks to watch and visit in the Twin Cities in 2016, including a juice and smoothie truck, a sushi-burrito truck, and food served out of a Winnebago.


Friday links

Timely, for college grads and a lot of adults I know: 11 Cooking Skills Every College Grad Should Master. Even I skimp out on number two, which is probably terrible since I have a food blog. What one (or two, three, etc.) do you most need to work on? Share it in the comments below.

RELATED: How to cook smarter, not harder

Worth a mention: 19 Essential Restaurants for Vegetarians in Minneapolis and St. Paul. What is your favorite or one you are really looking forward to checking out?

” Paying attention to food’s relationship with nature and humanity allows us to connect with each other on a very fundamental level.” That’s how one writer describes food’s relationship beyond just nourishing our bodies. I believe this concept so much, and as one who loves the stories behind things and anthropology, food gives me both. This is such an important concept and reminder. Read how cooking documentaries (and the meals we make) are about life.

And have you heard about the Delray Beach, Florida, brewery that made edible rings for the six packs? I’m sure you have since my two biggest reader demographics are South Floridians and beer drinkers, but just in case. Saltwater Brewery created an edible beer ring to help sea animals stay safe. My heart is so warm to read this, I see it as a win-win for all involved. Watch the very well done video about it.

Saltwater Brewery “Edible Six Pack Rings” from We Believers on Vimeo.


Lowertown Pop Event Preview

Lowertown Pop market giveaway | Kale and Ale

Enter to win two tickets at the bottom of this post!

A group of Twin Cities lifestyle bloggers was given a chance to preview the first Lowertown Pop art, craft and local goods event that will take place Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Union Depot in St. Paul.

This was a great opportunity to meet Minnesota makers one-on-one and hear about their products and passions. It was really inspiring and encouraging to hear about what drives them, their process and why they do it. And I only interacted with about a quarter or a third of the 55-plus vendors that will be at the event, so I can’t wait to go back and check out the entire show.

Lowertown Pop food | Kale and Ale

So many great food and drink vendors, even at the preview.

While there are great people making clothes, accessories and beauty products (view who will be at the Lowertownpop Pop event), I was naturally most drawn to the food and drink vendors. I was able to sample a lot of products and talk with the people who developed them as to the product’s inspiration and future, where one might find them, etc.

Hearing about a passion project or filling a market void and all the time these people have invested in their project made the goods seem like more than something consumable. People in the Twin Cities community are focusing on bringing back long-ago natural recipes (Superior Switchel), creating a creamy vegan condiment (Grlk), bringing Greek family dips and spreads to an area lacking these items (Antigone’s), nuts bursting with flavor and natural sweetness that are vegan and gluten-free (Isadore), salsas and hot sauces that have a smokiness and kick (Double Take), and craft cocktails (Tattersall) and mixers (Blue Henn). And there will be more at the event that weren’t at the preview! I really can’t wait to get to know these vendors and their special stories more.

Lowertown Pop Ticket Giveaway (Now Closed)

Lowertown Pop drinks | Kale and AleLowertown Pop and event organizer MNBloggerBash were kind enough to donate tickets. Win two tickets (retail value $30) to Lowertown Pop at Union Depot in St. Paul on April 9 by signing up at the Rafflecopter widget below. Tickets can be purchased for $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Free admission for children ages 5 and under. 100 percent of ticket sales will be shared with the charity partner Face to Face and one lucky Minnesota Maker.

Giveaway is open to those with a U.S. mailing address and ends on 4/4/16 at 12 a.m. Entering below confirms that you agree to all terms and conditions within the Rafflecopter widget. Entries will be verified. Winner will be contacted April 4 and must respond that day with a delivery method. Tickets may be mailed via USPS (delivery by date of event not the responsibility of Kale and Ale or Valerie Dennis) or picked up in downtown Minneapolis during normal business hours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Preview: Twin Cities Veg Fest 2015

Vegan shirt design by Flickr user Ballookey Klugeypop

Vegan shirt design by Flickr user Ballookey Klugeypop

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2015 takes place Sunday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Coffman Memorial Union on the University of Minnesota Campus. I haven’t been and was interested in checking it out. When Laura from One Girl, Two Cities said it’s worth going for the samples if nothing else, I knew I would make it a priority to go! And even if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, read five ways the event is for everyone.

Unny Nambudiripad

Unny Nambudiripad

The vegan fest features exhibitors, samples, cooking demos and talks. To get to know a little more about it as a first-time attendee and to maximize my experience, I talked with Unny Nambudiripad of Compassionate Action for Animals, which puts on the event.

Kale and Ale: What should first-time attendees know/expect?

Unny: It’s a free event, there’s lots to see, you can stay for five minutes or five hours, and you can engage as personally or from afar as you like. Basically, it’s an accessible event! ​We’re showcasing the thriving veg-friendly community that the Twin Cities has to offer and I’ll leave it to your own judgment, but I think you’ll be impressed!

Kale and Ale: What can’t be missed at this year’s Veg Fest?

Unny: ​The cooking demos and the food court. We’ve moved the cooking demos to a much larger space that can hold 400 people! Cooking your own food is a great way to eat affordable, healthy and fresh food, and our instructors will show you how. We’ve also moved the food court to the third floor in the Mississippi Room. We have a special gift for everybody who just goes to the third floor.

Kale and Ale: What’s new this year from other years and back that is popular?

​Unny: The Herbivorous Butcher is both new and back! They are new because this year they will be selling hot food ready-to-eat in the food court. They will also be back, as they have before, selling their meat-free meats for you to take home. French Meadow, Gorkha Palace and Jasmine Deli are new food court vendors that we’re excited about. They each have restaurants that we love. Molly Spring Rolls, Seward Cafe and Glam Doll Donuts are returning vendors that we’re excited about.​ We have two new speakers: Toni Okamoto of Vegan Outreach and Mikael Nielsen of Mercy for Animals. Both are exciting. Toni has worked on educating people about eating vegan affordably, and Mikael is a friend of mine and he models persistence and compassion.

Whew, with that lineup I know I’ll come hungry for food and knowledge. I’m really excited to attend, as I’ve never been to something like this. Have you been to a veggie fest? What were your thoughts and impressions?