With several fantastic local restaurants in and around Wheeling, finding a delectable meal is not a difficult task. Each neighborhood offers its fair share of locally-owned eateries, all with their own ambiance. What can seem a little more of a challenge is finding satisfying vegan and vegetarian options. While you may need to search just a bit harder to find these tastemakers, the heavy lifting has been done for you!
In the last five years, 60% of vegans and 40% of vegetarians have adopted this lifestyle. The top three reasons for this ever-increasing state of mind are animal welfare, personal health and protecting the environment. While there are many benefits to adopting a more plant-based diet, the first step is taking little steps, like finding out where you can eat!
Wheeling has plenty of places that offer vegan and vegetarian meals that not only cater to these needs but also taste amazing! So, whether you are following a plant-based diet or are just looking for unique food options, check out these local eateries:
The Public Market
The Public Market in Downtown Wheeling is a lunchtime favorite for those working in this area. Not only is everything fresh and locally sourced, but you can choose to order a made-to-order meal at the deli counter or pick up a quick bite from the grab-and-go cooler. A few plant-based options at The Public Market include the vegan Bahn Mi, made with spiced jackfruit, sriracha vegan mayo, pickled daikon radishes, carrots and flavorful cilantro all on a fresh baguette. All their side options are vegetarian-friendly as well! Potato wedges, sweet potato wedges and a side salad are just a few options. Other plant-based meals that you will find at The Public Market are a tempeh noodle stir fry, celery soup and assorted breakfast meals.
Wheeling Brewing Company
This cool little brewery located in the heart of Centre Market is known for its locally-made brews and cozy atmosphere, and they also are serving up some of the most flavorful and interesting food in the area. Wheeling Brewing Company makes a mean burrito bowl, which is served with white rice, kimchi, purple cabbage, zucchini, broccoli and carrots. You can add tofu or seitan to this meal as well for just two dollars more. There are also a few vegetarian options for pizza – the madam mushroom and Greek garden pizzas. Don’t want pizza or a burrito bowl? There are even more options! The Nashville hot sliders are another crowd favorite; made with fried tofu, hot sauce, spring mix and pickles. A pho bowl is also offered and it is loaded with delicious options, including vegetable broth, rice noodles, mushrooms, jalapenos, cilantro, lime and the option to add tofu or seitan. There are also several comfort-food options, such as pierogies, beer cheese macaroni, creamy jalapeno corn, potato wedges, rice pilaf and chips with salsa. Need something sweet? S’mores and candy apple flatbreads are also on the menu to complete your dining experience.
Later Alligator, another Centre Market staple, offers delicious vegetarian options, with many that can be made vegan upon request. The crepe shoot includes artichoke hearts, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and feta alongside their delicious Mornay sauce. The alligator rock is made with tomatoes, roasted red peppers, pine nuts, avocado, basil pesto and ricotta. While these are not vegan friendly, they can be made as such with a few alterations. Though Later Alligator doesn’t offer vegan cheese, they do however offer vegan buns. Want something on the lighter side? Try the later salad, which has mandarin oranges with romaine lettuce, celery, green onions and sweet and sour dressing. Everything that is vegetarian is marked on their menu and they would be happy to assist in any way to make your dining experience easy as pie – vegan pie, of course!
Avenue Eats (seasonal)
While the Avenue Eats food truck is closed for the season, you can expect the return of their amazing local burgers in the spring! While Avenue Eats is known for their delicious beef burgers, they also offer plant-based alternatives to their customers. In fact, any burger on their menu can be substituted with grilled tempeh upon request. Their black bean sliders are also a popular menu item among its regulars. Three come with this meal and include chipotle aioli on slider buns. You can also munch on some caramelized onion dip with fries or delight in tasting their gourmet cupcakes.
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The Vagabond Kitchen
The Vagabond Kitchen creates tasty meals using local ingredients, many of which are vegetarian and vegan. Try their butternut ravioli with beetroot pesto. Inside the ravioli is a flavorful butternut squash puree topped with beetroot pesto and served with fresh vegetables and toasted garlic bread. All of the burgers on Vagabond’s menu can be substituted for their house-made black bean burger at no additional charge. All vegetarian meals on their menu are marked with a carrot for easy identification during your dining experience.
Elle & Jack’s
This new downtown Wheeling hot spot is great for special occasions or whenever you want to enjoy an elevated dining experience. Some of the popular vegan and vegetarian options at Elle & Jack’s are the grilled portobello mushroom burger, eggplant parmesan and harvest grain bowl. The harvest grain bowl contains roasted sweet potatoes, kale, dried cranberries and roasted almonds. The desserts are also top tier, locally made and change each day, so be sure to ask your server for details when you go. Substitutions are also an option, and the servers are always happy to assist.
Glassworks Grill at Oglebay
Take the beautiful drive up to Oglebay and get a seat at one of their amazing restaurants in Wilson Lodge. Glassworks Grill is casual dining made fun with DJ nights and bar seating. Some plant-based options that you’ll find here include the melon feta salad, which is made with spinach, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, feta, mint, olive oil and drizzled balsamic. All of their brick-fired pizzas are vegetarian as well. The Beyond Burger may also be substituted for any burger or sandwich option.
Sarah’s on Main
Located on Main Street in Downtown Wheeling, Sarah’s on Main is a popular place to order a delicious lunch – many of which are plant-based. Some of the vegan and vegetarian options at Sarah’s on Main include a harvest salad, assorted breakfast pastries and a sundried tomato and pesto pizza. While Sarah’s on Main is well-known for its pastries and lunch fare, they also provide weekly take-home dinners. Follow them on Instagram to stay up-to-date with their daily specials. Don’t forget to grab a drip coffee or americano when you are there!
This coffee shop offers up a lot more than just a great cup of joe. Mugshots in Downtown Wheeling provides options including the people pesto portobello, grilled veggie panini and Mediterranean flatbread. The grilled veggie panini is made with grilled eggplant, zucchini, squash and roasted red peppers topped with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil on thick-sliced white bread. Upon request, all of these items can be made to accommodate vegan diets.
Generations Restaurant and Pub
Located in the Woodsdale neighborhood, Generations Restaurant and Pub has a large menu with plenty to choose from. They have a pierogi night with assorted sauces, a Greek veggie wrap and alfredo pasta. the lazy man’s fajita wrap with shredded cheddar cheese, black beans, lettuce, rice, roasted peppers and grilled onions with salsa and sour cream on the side. These items can be altered to your liking, of course.
As more people adopt plant-based eating habits, it’s great to know that there are local restaurants that are working to accommodate a wide variety of diets. What would you like to see more of on these menus?
• With a background in journalism and being a true Wheeling native, Jessica Broverman was destined to work with Weelunk. She holds a degree in journalism with a minor in criminal justice and works with Williams Lea Tag as a legal proofreader. When she isn’t typing away for Weelunk or WLT, she is enjoying a coffee at one of her many favorite spots in Wheeling, spending time with friends, or having fun with her husband Zachary and their two cats, Proctor and Max.