Grazing the surface: Dining out for health in Philly


OK, so you made that New Year’s resolution to eat healthier knowing good and well that you are either too busy, not industrious enough or too in-the-moment to prep and map out every meal on a schedule. Face it. You like to eat out every now and then … maybe even more than that. And that can play hell on your dietary plans.

“Would you like some more bread?”

Yes! Damn you!

Fortunately, in our travels around the city, we’ve encountered some excellent eateries that go the distance to keep us satiated while paying attention to our stringent nutritional or dietary requirements.

Fuel, 1225 Walnut St., 1917 E. Passyunk and 3200 Chestnut St., makes it easy to eat healthy on the go as the fast, casual eatery features a full menu with items under 500 calories, and a plethora of vegan and gluten-free options. Their menu started off with excellent salads, sandwiches and wraps but recently expanded to include brunch, burgers and bowls.

For something with a more American-gastropub vibe, Front Street Cafe, 1253 N. Front St., has a really forward-thinking menu with many comfort-food options that are deceptively vegan and gluten-free. Items featuring garnish-like mushroom-bacon bits, gluten-free cornbread and vegan cheeses have to be tasted to be believed. Relax carnivores, there are plenty of actual meat dishes on the menu too.    

Another healthy eatery in Northern Liberties is Soy Café, 630 N. Second St., featuring juices and smoothies as well as a broad stylistic selection of soups, salads, wraps and sandwiches, many of them vegan and gluten-free, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This is where the militant carnivores might want to take a knee. But seriously, do your vegan friends a favor and try their food for a change. You might surprise yourself.   

For full-on meatless dining, all of our vegan friends rave about the critically acclaimed Vedge, 1221 Locust St. The brainchild of chefs and owners Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby has vegetables as the focal point for all dishes, which feature locally sourced and seasonal ingredients and absolutely no animal products. None. Luckily they serve booze too.

For something more casual, but still on the deep end of the vegan spectrum, Blackbird Pizzeria, 507 S. Sixth St. and 614 N. Second St., is a delight, specializing in totally vegan pizzas, salads, sandwiches and cheesesteaks.  

Another interesting fast, casual vegan eatery is Vegan Tree, 742 South St., which, aside from the usual suspects of sandwiches, salads and wraps, also offers vegan sushi with avocado, vegan shrimp, vegan ham and tofu standing in for the usual proteins.

So get on with your happy and healthy eating. We hope these greener restaurant pastures make 2018 immensely enjoyable and healthy for your palate.