(Photo by Frank Hogan)

A Guide to Veganuary In Wheeling

An ode to New Year’s resolutions, the best of intentions, that don’t always make it to the end of the year. In more recent years, more attainable goals seem to be popping up. One of the more popular ones is “Veganuary.” Officially launched in 2014, the program aims to inspire people to try the challenge of eating plant-based food throughout January (and beyond). Last year, people from 228 countries took part. If you’re taking on the Veganuary challenge in Wheeling, here are a few spots that have your back.

Later Gator is a reliable spot for vegans in the area. Several salads can be made vegan, if you omit the cheese. You can also dig into the hummus (again, omitting the cheese). The black and white wrap and over the edge tacos can also be adapted to be made vegan. They also have oat milk, to make any delicious coffee vegan. You can also try a classic Beyond Burger which can be made vegan if you sub out a pretzel bun. Insider tip, ask for a little side of hummus to kick up the burger. If you want to, you can also enjoy vegan wine, Gator has quite a few!

Later Gator’s Beyond Burger.

El Zocalo in Clator is a sleeper hit for some great vegan dishes. The guacamole and salsa are a tasty way to start a vegan meal. You could also share the veggie fajita nachos (omit the cheese) as a starter. There are a few delicious entrees you can dig into, too! They have a veggie burrito (omit the queso dip), fajita vegetariana, and my personal favorite, the veggie tacos Mexicanos which is loaded up with some amazing mushrooms.

The Public Market is dedicated to helping you access vegan food all year round! They have a frozen section that is fully stocked with vegan goodies. ‘Chicken’ nuggets, corn dogs, veggie burgers, pizza, vegan cheese, vegan butter, and non-dairy milks and creamers. They even have a few hard-to-find items, like vegan Caesar dressing, vegan marshmallows, and vegan kimchi. In their ‘grab and go’ section, you can often find vegan meals. They also always have vegan options that can be made to order. Their regular menu always features a Tofu Bahn Mi and a Black Bean Burger. Be sure to keep an eye on their specials, they frequently feature vegan items. Chef James Walters appreciates the challenge of coming up with vegan options for specials, “The more that people want to explore that as a dietary option, you have to be a place that accommodates that.”


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Taqueria 304 has some plant-based choices too. Along with the classic guacamole and salsa, they also have Tacos Pobrecitos, which are tacos loaded with black beans, onion, and cilantro, topped with spicy red sauce. You can also enjoy the Bonita Bowl with black beans, if you omit the queso fresco. You can also add sweet potato fries to make the bowl even more delicious.

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Tacos Pobrecitos (and the Bonita Bowl in the background) from Taqueria 304.

Silver Chopsticks has a whole veg menu section! You’ve got a bunch of options for starters, including spring rolls, scallion pancakes, and vegetable bean curd soup (for 2). You can go full veggie for your entree, with garlic broccoli, stir-fried mushrooms, eggplant with garlic, or the Buddhist delight which is a veggie-packed stir fry. You could also dig into some tofu, I’m a big fan of the Kung Pao or homestyle flavors.

  • Vegetable Bean Curd Soup, Spring Rolls, Kung Pao Tofu, and Home Style Tofu, a plant based feast.

Mugshots has got you back with oat and almond milks for all your coffee needs. I cannot recommend the Mediterranean eggplant wrap enough, just remember to omit the feta cheese. They also have the sandwich of ice and fire (omit cheese) which is sure to satisfy you much more than the last season of Game of Thrones did. You can also try their vegan soups that frequently appear on their weekly meny, just ask to be sure! And then the piece de resistance is the vegan tart, if you see it, I cannot stress enough, that you gotta get it!

Vagabond Kitchen also has some very tasty options. Their house-made black bean burger can be substituted for any burger on the menu. Their fried green beans are another great option, along with my personal favorite, seitan wings, which are just incredible.

You might not associate pizza with vegan foods, but Vocelli’s Pizza has a few options too! You can load up a veggie pizza, without the cheese, and even add some Beyond plant-based sausage. I also got an insider tip from a vegan friend, if you call ahead, they can make the breadsticks vegan too.

Sarah’s on Main has some goodies for you. Their bread is naturally vegan. I could stop there and be satisfied, but there’s more! Both the sweet potato hash and avocado toast can be adjusted to be vegan. They offer oat and almond milks for their coffee. They also frequently feature grain bowls and salads on their weekly specials that are either already vegan or can be made vegan very easily. 


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So, whether you are just trying to eat more veggies to start your New Year off strong, you’re a dedicated vegan, or just someone looking to try something new, I hope you try some of the fabulous plant-based options Wheeling has to offer! 

• Makayla Carney, a Wheeling native, is the 2023-2024 AmeriCorps member for Wheeling Heritage, where she will get to write all about the history and culture of her hometown. She has a B.F.A. in Film and Television from DePaul University in Chicago. She adores all kinds of art, a lavender latte, and the occasional performance on the Towngate Theatre stage.