Let’s face it, finding good quality vegetarian dishes can pose a serious challenge when you aren’t familiar with all the restaurants in an area. To help, I rounded up my favorite vegetarian and vegan friends and asked them to name their favorite Sanford vegetarian meals.
For a ton of vegetarian choices, check out Tony’s Deli (129 West 1st St). This Mediterranean café serves a bevy of cold dishes like babaganoush and avocado salad, along with hot, crispy falafel and warm pita. Try a sample platter for a bite of everything!
While you may not immediately associate German food with being veggie-friendly , everyone agreed that the Vegetarian Spätzle Toss at Hollerbach’s (205 E 1st St) is a yummy vegetarian option. For an extra kick, ask to add zigeuner spices to the mix.
While new to the scene, Vayda’s Gypsy Rib Ranch (2545 S French Ave) has some impressive vegetarian choices, including sandwiches and veggie burger patties, which can be added to any of the fancy burgers on offer. Try it on the Flirty Floozie, an open faced burger topped with peppers and onions, mozzarella, a fried green tomato, and remoulade!
The black bean and pineapple quesadilla at La Sirena Gorda (118 South Palmetto Ave) is a local favorite. The bright flavor of pineapple and savory taste of beans combined in a crispy tortilla shell is simply killer.
For true flexibility and creativity, it’s hard to beat pizza. Between our favorite downtown pizzerias, Christo’s (107 West 1st St) and Riverwalk (350 East Seminole Boulevard and 5040 W. SR 46), you can build anything from a classic spinach white or margherita to something a bit more wacky. Pineapple and broccoli, anyone?
My friends all said they love Sanford’s delicious soul food restaurants, Shantell’s and Angel’s. But wait a second, in a cuisine that thrives on bacon fat and fried chicken, what exactly are vegetarians to eat? Side dishes! This is the perfect opportunity for vegetarians to indulge in a collection of okra, mac and cheese, and fried green tomatoes. Angel’s (114 South Sanford Ave) makes yummy cornbread, and Shantell’s (406 South Sanford Ave) vegetarian collard greens are to die for!
For a great quality vegetarian sandwich, try the “Vougie” at Hollerbach’s (205 E 1st St), a freshly baked french bread loaf stuffed with all kinds of veggies, feta cheese, and balsamic glaze. For a completely vegan sandwich, ask for multigrain bread (grilled with olive oil, please) with hot bell peppers, onions, artichokes, and tomatoes, and a sprinkle of house-made greek dressing.
Taste of Thyme (108 S Magnolia Ave) serves up tasty flatbreads and paninis with unique vegetarian flair. Try the pear and gorgonzola flatbread or a yummy veggie panini with eggplant, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and olives, wrapped up in melted cheese and toasty bread.
Tip: Take Advantage of Available Ingredients
Pay close attention to what ingredients are offered on the menu, and ask the restaurant if they can come up with a new combination using your favorites. For instance, I love to get grilled multigrain bread at Hollerbach’s (205 E 1st St) with chipotle mayo and melted pepperjack, then load it with crisp cold veggies for a crunchy, spicy custom vegetarian sandwich. Dealing with whole foods is a lot easier and healthy than trying to alter existing dishes extensively, and most Sanford restaurants will be happy to work with you.
In terms of consistent vegetarian soup choices, it’s hard to beat the Corner Café (101 West 1st Street). They serve their sprightly tomato florentine and “meaty” cream of mushroom soups all year round…and it doesn’t get much more Sanford than celery-vegetable soup! Try them in a warm bread bowl for a very full meal.
Click here to find out where else you can find Sanford’s Best Soups
For a nutrition packed vegan fruit or vegetable treat, check out Roots Raw Juice Bar (516 Sanford Ave). Their combinations of locally sourced produce make excellent breakfasts, snacks, and desserts!
You cannot beat organic coffee from Rabbitfoot Records (309 East 1st Street). The best part is that the coffee shop/record store always keeps soy and almond milk handy, so you can have your creamy, dreamy espresso drinks and drink them too!
Tip: Make Friends with Your Local Restaurateurs
Because downtown businesses are usually family owned businesses, getting to know your restaurateurs is the best way to ensure you get the best mix of tasty food that fits your lifestyle any time you go out. In fact, most of the business owners will remember that you eat vegetarian or vegan and be quick to point out specials fitting your needs or even create permanent menu items you like. Just ask Uptown Sanford local Luscious Lisa, who has a vegetarian sandwich named after her at the Magnolia Square Market (117 South Magnolia Ave) — the “De-Luscious”!
So whether you are new to the Sanford area or a Sanfordite thinking about becoming a vegetarian, know that the Downtown Sanford restaurant community has your back!