Miss A Columnist

As a 4-year Leukemia survivor, Stacey Mertes is heavily involved in fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the American Diabetes Association. Her 7-year-old son, Logan, is a recently diagnosed Type 1 diabetic, but keeps Stacey on her toes with his own active fundraising endeavors such as the Columbia Tower climb (for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society), WaMu stair climb (for Cystic Fibrosis), and several triathlons and other stair climbs around the city. Originally from a suburb of Chicago, Stacey has lived in many of the local neighborhoods (including spending 11 years next to the Pike Place Market), since graduating from the University of Washington. She finally settled down in the most diverse zip code in the country, Columbia City, where she enjoys walks to the many restaurants, farmers market, and art events nearby. Her favorite hobby of late is finding the most fun “free” things to do around Seattle with her son. She loves movies, plays, visiting the Pacific Science Center and other museums, and finding those geocaching adventures.

Veggie Grill In Seattle

Veggie Grill in the University Village

Veggie Grill opens in the University Village (Photo Credit: the Veggie Grill)

As a flexitarian, I was happy to hear that Veggie Grill was opening a restaurant in the University Village. The Veggie Grill menu makes it easy to make healthy, delicious meal choices when you are in a hurry. From its sweet potato fries with a “cheese-like” Parmesan sprinkled on top to a full-on comfort meal of “chikin”, kale in a ginger-miso sauce and a potato/cauliflower mash, you would never know it’s a healthy, plant-based meal. In fact, if it was not called the Veggie Grill, you might just be able to fool your kids and spouses in to eating a delicious burger and fries that suits your desire to eat healthy.

Veggie Grill, a West Coast-based, fast-casual restaurant chain, now in two locations in Seattle (the other is in South Lake Union), provides dishes that are wholesome, convenient and affordable. For those of you who are not vegans or vegetarians, the dishes will serve as an awakening. For those of you who follow a plant-based diet, you will be wondering how we didn’t have this delicious, convenient food sooner in Seattle. Be sure to try the dairy-free carrot cake with its not-over-the-top sweet frosting. I was going to come back for their buffalo wings, but the carrot cake sealed the deal.

Buffalo wings made with "chikin"

Buffalo wings made with “chikin” (Photo Credit: Veggie Grill)

“Our dishes walk a fine line between what is familiar to the public in a good meal, but still crosses over into that healthy realm that we all want to achieve, “ says Veggie Grill’s CEO, Greg Dollarhyde. Veggie Grill provides hearty, plant-based proteins with bold marinades and sauces in familiar menu items, such as the buffalo wings.

I tried the boneless buffalo wings in their spicy sauce and my taste buds and cravings were completely confused and delighted. Veggie Grill is “a sort of gateway to vegetarianism.” The menu is 100-percent plant-based and free of animal fat, dairy, cholesterol, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. The restaurant also offers a delicious kids’ menu and dessert options, as well as a selection of local wine and beers.

“We are very excited to bring Veggie Grill to these thriving Seattle communities,” says Dollarhyde. “Seattle is an active, health-conscious city with a progressive food culture we look forward to being a part of.”

All Hail Kale Salad with ginger-papaya dressing

All Hail Kale Salad with ginger-papaya dressing (Photo Credit: Veggie Grill)

What I found particularly enticing, besides the All Hail Kale salad (which, by the way, they marinade overnight to give a softness and flavorful green that is coupled perfectly with their ginger-papaya dressing), is the fact that the CEO and founders seem to really care about the community where they reside. Veggie Grill offers the a higher than normal fundraising program in the restaurant business, giving 50 percent of a specified night’s profit to an organization in need. “We try to focus on local community non-profits that have a more difficult time raising money,” says Dollarhyde.

WHERE:
Veggie Grill
2673 NE University Village
Seattle, WA 98105
Ph. 206-523-1961

South Lake Union location:
446 Terry Avenue N.
Seattle, WA 98109
Ph. 206-623-0336

HOURS:
Sunday – Thursday:  11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday:  11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

COST: Dishes range from around $4.25 to $11.00

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