Vegetarianism has deep roots in Battle Creek.
The city known as the birthplace of the cereal industry was a trailblazer in the plant-based food market thanks to the influence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and John Harvey Kellogg, who operated the vegetarian-only Battle Creek Sanitarium and was among the first to mass produce fake meat products.
While vegetarians and vegans remain a minority in the United States — a 2018 Gallup poll found 5% of Americans identified as vegetarian and 3.5% identified as vegan — there are a growing number of options for those who forgo meat and animal byproducts. A 2020 Gallup poll also found that nearly a quarter of Americans (23%) had reduced their meat intake compared to the previous year.
All Species Kinship, an animal rescue nonprofit that serves Battle Creek and its surrounding area, offers free consultation to local restaurants to establish vegan options on their menus, while a number of eateries have increased their selection of plant-based food to meet increased demand.
For those who are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian (no meat except fish and other seafood) or flexitarian (reduced meat consumption), here are some of the best places to grab a bite in the Battle Creek area.
Barista Blues Café
Located at 91 W. Michigan Ave. downtown, this quaint café has a number of vegetarian dishes on its menu, though everything can be made to order (including gluten-free options).
Specializing in homestyle food, Barista Blues Cafe's baked quiche, veggie sandwich and caprese panino are favorites among vegetarian customers. It also has a wide selection of salads suitable for vegans.
Available for carryout or delivery through the EatsBC app and website. For more information, call (269) 968-8430.
Mango Healthy Fruit & Food
With two locations in Battle Creek at 5475 Beckley Road (Suite 160) and 245 W. Columbia Ave. (Suite 102), Mango Healthy Fruit and Food specializes in using 100% natural and fresh products.
The family-owned restaurant has a vegetarian menu that includes a burrito, sandwich and tostada, while its vegan menu offers a flatbread, burrito, stuffed avocado, romaine wraps and a vegan bowl.
One doesn't typically think of vegan options at Mr. Don's, one of Battle Creek's original fast food restaurants known for burgers and shakes.
Established in 1954 and located at 341 N. 20th St. in Springfield, this fourth-generation-owned eatery offers several menu items catered to vegan needs, including an Impossible burger and a vegan hot dog served with ketchup, mustard, onions and dill relish. Vegetarians and vegans can also indulge in Mr. Don's house-made onion rings.
For more information, visit mrdonsrestaurant.com or call (269) 968-2231.
Outside the Box Wellness Café
Wellness is in the name at this café at 136 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Marshall.
Specializing in homemade baked goods and freshly ground coffee, Outside the Box is one of the few — if the only — entirely gluten-free cafes in the region. It sources from local farms and has a robust menu featuring power bowls fueled by tempeh protein as well as soups and smoothies.
Delivery is available within a 10-mile radius. For more information, visit obx.cafe or call (269) 558-4054.
Pasche's Seafood Kitchen
Pasche's specializes in seafood with a Cajun flair at 11081 E. Michigan Ave. in Emmett Township.
The restaurant has close to 20 vegan options on its plant-based menu (available upon request), including a fried tofu "Chikin" sandwich, tomato-based jambalaya and fried Cajun pickles.
Pizza-loving vegetarians can't go wrong with Pennfield Pizza at 1432 Capital Ave. NE in Penfield Township.
Family-owned since 1972, Pennfield is one of the only pizzerias in the area to offer vegan pies and breadsticks. Its menu also includes veggie subs and salads.
Sprout Market & Deli
Springfield-based Sprout aims to put food from area farms on local tables.
Though primarily serving as a locally sourced grocery delivery service, including plant-based and vegan items, the nonprofit offers a selection of ready-to-eat salads and sides to be ordered through its customizable Sprout Box subscription or through EatsBC.
For more information, visit sproutbc.org.
Torti Taco recently expanded into downtown Battle Creek after opening its bar and grill at 80 W. Michigan Ave. to pair with its original location at 5275 Beckley Road.
The family-owned Mexican eatery offers three vegan tacos on its menu: a soy-based chorizo, a vegetarian taco available in lettuce leaves and a taco made with Impossible meat.
Tony's Hong Kong
Tony's Hong Kong at 174 E. Columbia Ave. is a longtime local favorite for Asian American cuisine.
The family-owned restaurant that opened in 1989 has a plant-based menu (available upon request) with 10 all-vegan dishes including sizzling rice soup and garlic bean curd.
Available for carryout. For more information, call (269) 965-4848.
There's no shortage of veggie and vegan options at Umami Ramen, where you can build your own bowl using locally sourced noodles.
The restaurant will soon celebrate its one-year anniversary at 215 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Battle Creek after moving to the larger space in 2021. For vegans, bowls can be made with ramen, rice, udon or veggie noodles, with mushroom pho or miso broths to pair with tofu or mushroom proteins.
VeggZ Cafe stands apart as the area's lone vegan-only eatery.
Tucked inside suite 4 at 32 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Battle Creek, VeggZ Cafe offers a rotating plant-based menu, including veggie wraps, "Chick'N" sandwiches, Impossible cheeseburgers and award-winning macaroni and cheese. Smoothies are also available from locally owned Beloved Body Smoothie Bar.
Available for carryout or delivery through the EatsBC app and website. For more information, call (269) 245-2542.
Vegetarians and vegans alike can enjoy the tastes and sites of this unique airport restaurant.
Located at WACO Aircraft Corp's facility at 15955 S. Airport Rd at the Battle Creek Executive Airport, WACO Kitchen offers several vegetarian options including the pilot's cavatappi or veggie bowl. The refuel bowl (saffron rice, cabbage, mushrooms, roasted carrots, leeks and tomatoes) is a popular choice among vegans.
Contact reporter Nick Buckley at email@example.com or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley
This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Vegan and vegetarian restaurants around Battle Creek