So it was that the Dieter received an early holiday gift this year with the late November opening of Vegan Town, a restaurant that is not only 100% vegan, but also 100% gluten-free. Being out of town on business, our friend requested my dining partner and I check the place out and report back.
“Get your coat and car keys,” said my dining partner, “We’re eating vegan this evening.”
Owner Ahmed handles the kitchen while Vegan Town’s cheerful and friendly “smoothie barista” Teresa assists the customers out front. Teresa originally worked at Earth Fare, and has applied her knowledge of healthy eating to the restaurant’s menu items. Teresa is both good-natured and very patient with first timers and the curious; I know from personal experience.
Vegan Town’s décor is cool green tones over white, with faux green foliage used as wall texture elements. There is background music; cool jazz for the most part. There are two large chalkboards behind the counter showing the day’s menu and current pricing. Several shelves of books on various subjects are also available for use by Vegan Town patrons forming a “bring-a-book, take-a-book” lending library, giving them a reason to linger longer over a good book and maybe a refill.
Cashew butter sandwich and “Purple Haze” smoothie: While I was pondering my supper options with Teresa’s kind assistance, my dining partner had already decided on her meal: one of Vegan Town’s classic peanut butter and fresh fruit sandwiches ($7.50) done her way by substituting cashew butter for peanut butter, then topped with sliced strawberries and apples on gluten-free bread. As her drink, my dining partner opted for one of Vegan Town’s signature smoothies, a 12-ounce Purple Haze ($7.50) made from fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, a whole fresh banana and sent through the blender with a big splash of coconut milk to round it out. The cashew butter had a smooth and slightly pungent flavor, quite different from the usual peanut butter component of a PB&J sandwich. As for the “J” part, thinly-sliced Granny Smith apples provided a sweet note, while the sliced ripe strawberries, being more astringent made for a nice palate cleanser after each bite. My dining partner’s “Purple Haze” smoothie was very purple and topped with fresh blueberries and strawberry slices. Tart and mildly sweet, my partner’s “Purple Haze” smoothie was deep, dark, quite refreshing and made a good match for her cashew butter sandwich.
Avocado toast and “The Vol” smoothie: My choice for supper was an order of Vegan Town’s avocado toast ($7.50). Here their gluten-free bread is toasted before being spread with fresh avocado. Next, sliced cherry tomatoes are added, along with sliced cucumber, chopped spinach and toasted sesame seeds. Teresa suggested I add some pico di gallo relish instead of the usual banana, and I agreed. For my drink I chose “The Vol” ($7.50) a 12-ounce smoothie concocted from pineapple, mango, mint, lemon, carrots and apple juice, all sent through Teresa’s blender and then topped with fresh pineapple chunks. My big, orange smoothie made the perfect accompaniment for my surprisingly savory avocado toast, and provided a much-appreciated fire extinguisher for the peppery-spice of the pico di gallo relish. All in all, I had a very tasty supper indeed.
The bottom line: Vegan Town’s menu is a welcome new dining option in Johnson City, as is their adherence to being gluten-free for diners like our friend the Dieter. The restaurant is clean, crisp, green and inviting as one of my dining partner’s Granny Smith apple slices. As of this writing, owner Ahmed should have the restaurant’s kitchen completed, and Vegan Town’s menu will expand to include hot meal options such as beans & rice, quesadillas and the like.
As usual, my dining partner had the last word, as told to the Dieter:
“Vegan Town is 100% gluten-free and 100% delicious.”
1805 W. State of Franklin Road, Suite 800
Mon-Sat 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sun 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Available on Facebook & Instagram
Credit cards accepted