Downtown on the Mall: Great Vegan Finds

Taco Bob’s

300 S. Kalamazoo Mall #171

Bob is open to altering most any dish on his menu. Our VegOut favorite is the #1, two classic tacos with beans, chips, rice, and a drink, ordered vegan. You might also try the Taco Bravo, a classic hard taco wrapped in a soft flour tortilla with beans serving as filler between the two shells. The Taco Bravo is the vegan version of Taco Bob’s signature Funny Taco (which is NOT a vegan taco). The beans at Taco Bob’s do not contain lard and the service is friendly, but the place gets super busy so know what you want ahead of time. This is a lunch hotspot for downtown employees. From burritos to nachos to tostadas and more, just say vegan!

 

The Union

125 S. Kalamazoo Mall

If it’s something a little slower-paced and somewhat more formal you’re looking for, try the Union. With both indoor and patio seating, the Union is open to altering menu items to accommodate for vegan tastes and has live music on certain nights of the week. Totally egg-, dairy-, and honey-free on the menu are the Spinach and Black-Eyed Pea Cakes, the Spinach Tofu Lentil Burger, and, a VegOut favorite!,  the Black-Eyed Pea Sauté.

 

Irving’s Market and Deli

125 S. Kalamazoo Mall

We stopped in at Irving’s and spoke with Suzi, their chef. This tiny grocery tucked inside the City Center offers a deli counter with a menu that rotates daily. Order for takeout or sit at one of the tables in the café. Suzi is also open to requests if you give her at least twenty-four hours notice and was, herself, vegan for fifteen years so is familiar with the diet. These are just a few of the many dishes offered. We tried the Red Beans and Rice with Cashews as well as the Kung Pao Tofu and were nicely impressed. 

  • Carrot, Apple, Beet Slaw
  • Spicy Peanut Tofu
  • Kimchi Tofu
  • Sesame Kale
  • Avocado Gazpacho
  • Curried Cauliflower
  • Sesame Noodles
  • Cilantro Lime Tofu

Grabbing a latté while you’re there? Irving’s dairy-alternatives include coconut, soy, and almond milks.

 

Central City Tap House

359 S. Kalamazoo Mall

Enjoying a night on the town with friends? Check out the Tap House. Start with the Edamame Hummus or the Vegan Lentil Soup, both egg- and dairy-free and both delicious. Depending on your appetite, choose the Vegan Tempeh-Tofu Tacos served with Tortilla Chips (corn tortillas, tempeh, tofu, Korean BBQ sauce, lentils, and pickled vegetables) or the Build Your Own Ramen Bowl. With tofu and tempeh as protein options, the ramen bowl offers seasonal veggies, scallions, cilantro, jalapeno, and a vegan version of the shiitake-miso broth that does not contain fish. Bonus at the Tap House? They offer Bell’s beer, a vegan-friendly brew.