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Is a Vegan Restaurant Coming to Shirlington?

by ARLnow.com — February 9, 2011 at 9:48 am 2,156 65 Comments

The good news is that a new restaurant is apparently coming to Shirlington.

The bad news is that we’re pretty thin on details.

A restaurant called Native Foods Cafe has registered for a license to serve beer and wine. The license seems to suggest the restaurant will be in Shirlington, in the old Bear Rock Cafe space.

If you go to Google, you’ll find out that Native Foods Cafe is a chain of Vegan restaurants in Southern California. Is this restaurant going to be the company’s first east coast location, or is the name merely a coincidence? We don’t know, since the company’s Director of Marketing has declined to respond to an emailed request for information and since the address of the holding company listed on the ABC application comes back to a UPS Store in Henderson, Nevada.

There’s also a “Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe” in the National Museum of the American Indian in D.C., but so far we haven’t been able to establish a connection there, either.

Will Shirlington be getting a Vegan restaurant? Stay tuned.

  • meateater

    I thought you were going to write “the bad news is it’s a vegan restaurant.”

    • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

      +1

  • Al

    Wow, another restaurant in the Village – does Federal Realty know how to find and support any other kind of business?

  • http://www.bronxace.homestead.com BRONXACE

    I hope the food’s not as expensive as the Cafeteria food at the Natl Museum of the American Indian.

    • metro

      It’s probably not the same, all of the museum cafeterias are run by Restaurant Associates.

  • Lalaland

    I’m all for vegetarian/vegan food, but the menu here looks pathetic and lazy.

  • Go Veg with a side of BACON

    My wife and I were just comenting that we needed a vegan restaurant in thearea. we always have to travel far to restaurants like “Great Sage” or “the Everlastig Life Cafe” Hope this pans out to be true!

    • meateater

      What about Sunflower in Seven Corners? Probably has some vegan menu items.

      http://www.yelp.com/biz/sunflower-vegetarian-restaurant-falls-church

      • GoVegArlington

        Sunflower does offer many vegan options, but it’s not very good (imo). DC is definitely the place to get good vegan food in DC. Everlasting Life Cafe, Soul Vegetarian, Sticky Fingers Bakery, Bread & Brew, Founding Farmers (separate vegan menu avail upon request)…worth the hike into DC if you ask me!

        • borf

          Gee, vegan food sucks? Who woulda thought?

          • GoVegArlington

            That’s not what I said. I said that there are better vegan options in DC than out in the ‘burbs.
            But EVERY carnivorous restaurant is 100% delicious 100% of the time, though, right?

  • steve

    Even Guinness isn’t vegetarian, let alone vegan.. I’m curious what kind of beer they would have there.

    • Lalaland

      I’ve heard this about Guinness before, but I think by-products are sometimes acceptable. Almost all beer is vegetarian. Some people think that yeast somehow makes alcoholic beverages vegetarian unfriendly, but yeast is a fungus just like a mushroom.

      • steve

        There some fish product used in guinness as a stabilizer.

        I’ve brewed my own beer before, so I can be pretty certain that its vegetarian at least if you assume away any issues about yeast.

        The issue is additives.

        • CW

          So maybe the similarities to worcestershire sauce are more than superficial if they both contain anchovies?

      • metro

        Most, if not all, of the large commercial breweries use a seafood based stabilizer in their beers to make them last longer. I’d say any small brewery or Reinheitsgebot abiding beer would probably be vegetarian if not vegan.

  • CW

    Wondering if the ABC is going to approve that application with the UPS store address on it…

  • John Fontain

    If vegetarians don’t like eating meat, why do go out of their way to try to make their vegetables look like meat? (see Native’s menu choices such as “chicken wings” and “taco meat”, for examples)

    • meateater

      I like to make my meat look like veggies.

    • Lalaland

      Probably a variety of reasons. Ethical, health, taste, texture, etc. Either way, is it a problem?

      • CW

        Eating vegetables is more ethical if they look like meat? Sorry, not trying to be difficult, but I am curious…

        • Lalaland

          I don’t know, ask them. But why would you care what others eat?

          Leave PETA out of this, too. Many vegetarians/vegans hate PETA.

          • borf

            Don’t get defensive, it’s an innocent question.

            As for not caring what other people eat, I’m sure you don’t either, but certain activist vegetarian/vegans care very much what other people eat.

          • Greg

            Judging by the way meat eaters respond to any mention of vegans or vegan food, I’d say a good number of them care what others eat, too.

          • borf

            That’s true, though maybe they’re also being defensive.

          • Lalaland

            Fine I’ll come out and say it. I used to be a vegetarian. I never once actively made fun of others for what they ate, I just chose to be meat-free. Meanwhile, every other week someone made a poke at my masculinity or told me what I was doing was unnatural.

            PETA and certain fundamentalist vegans aside, you’ll hardly ever find a vegetarian criticizing meat eaters’ choices. Perhaps it’s just the sheer number of meat eaters out there, but I find meat-eaters to be much more critical.

          • meateater

            Yeah, there are alot more meat eaters out there to bash vegetarians than the other way around. On the other hand, PETA and the like are alot more vocal. So it’s probably a wash.

          • Lalaland

            Valid

          • CW

            No, no, I think you misunderstood. Someone asked why vegetarians made their food LOOK LIKE MEAT. You responded that it was for “ethical” reasons, partly.

            I was just half-jokingly asking what was more ethical about eating vegetables that LOOK LIKE MEAT.

            I have no problem with vegetarians. Although I have a funny story – one time some colleagues came to my office from the west coast and we were planning to go get lunch. On a hunch, I asked them if they were vegetarians, so I could pick an appropriate place. They got somewhat offended – apparently they did not think that it was appropriate to call them “vegetarians”, instead, just preferring to say that they “don’t eat meat” (I never got out of them what an acceptable NOUN would be). Anyhow, it was funny because I took a step out of my way to be open and not make any assumptions about people and I got looked down upon for it.

          • NancyDrew

            Maybe they don’t eat “meat,” but they do eat fish, and, therefore, calling them vegetarians would be wrong?

    • GoVegArlington

      Speaking for myself, it’s not that I don’t like the taste of meat. But I don’t like the idea of eating a once-living creature. So when restaurants offer mock versions of chicken, beef, etc, it’s the best of both worlds: I get the flavor/texture that I once enjoyed, without the torture/death of an innocent animal.

      • John Fontain

        “I don’t like the idea of eating a once-living creature.”

        Thanks for the response, but if you don’t like the idea of eating a once-living creature, why make your food look like one?

        • GoVegArlington

          Thanks for being respectful, John. I think it’s a mental thing. They’re making the food a similar texture and flavor to that familiar food (ie chicken fingers), so it makes sense to make it look like that food. So I know what it’s going to taste like — or at least *sort of* taste like. But it’s a good question.

          I mean, what other shape should a mock-chicken be in? I guess it technically could be in any shape…

      • John Fontain

        PS – I fully respect your choice to be a vegetarian.

      • steve

        Do you not care for the plants that die so you can eat them?

      • meateater

        I don’t judge or challenge your choice, but I have to point out that vegetables were alive once too.

        I once heard someone say “I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals – it’s because I hate plants.”

        As my name shows, I do eat meat, but I avoid unethical meat when possible, such as veal.

        • GoVegArlington

          It comes down to a nervous system for me – which, last time I checked, veggies don’t have. Cows, pigs, chickens are no different than dogs or cats. They have feelings, emotions, can socialize and can show affection. I don’t understand why more people don’t see it that way. I love animals more than I love food. (Don’t even get me started on factory farming!)

          • NancyDrew

            I believe they serve the “mock” meat food to entice people who aren’t vegetarian. It works for my BF, who is a meat eater, but he will eat the fake stuff as well. My son has been a vegetarian since birth, and he won’t touch the fake meat stuff. I hated the stuff for years when I became a vegetarian, but I do like some stuff now. It just depends on the restaurant and the way it’s prepared. I don’t seek it out, but I like to support restaurants who serve it, so I have and have liked some things I’ve ordered.

    • moo

      A lot of vegetarians and vegans don’t eat meat for ethical or health reasons. For a lot of people, it isn’t about the taste of meat itself. I used to be extremely carnivorous before I became a vegan- meat tastes good, but I like my cows alive :] As for everyone else, I really couldn’t care less what they eat, so don’t worry about it.

  • JamesE

    The waiters will be named Shiloh and serve you shots of wheat grass.

  • Bluemont John

    A vegan restaurant? If I wanted to starve, I could do that at home.

  • Alex

    Should the rumor prove true, and this is a vegan establishment, I think it is an encouraging development. I’m a vegan myself and sometimes finding a good variety of meal options can be a challenge. That being said, I hope they offer less processed food and more healthy, hopefully organic options.

    • GoVegArlington

      +1

    • CW

      I love good vegetarian food, but, sorry guys, I can’t live without my cheese.

      Though I do agree with the last point – anything to increase the diversity of truly healthy, fresh foods (organic a plus), I am all for!

      • Meat and Potatoes

        I must say, I am happy to eat vegetarian, and many times do choose meat-free options. I feel like vegans/vegetarians tend to espouse the health benefits of eating this way, YET so many vegan/vegetarian foods are HIGHLY processed…I don’t mind tofu, but the fake meats do make me wonder what had to be done to make it “taste like chicken”…A family member is a vegetarian and I dread places like Sunflower, because of all the fake meat, plus you can’t get just regular white rice. I mean is white rice any worse for you than a bowl full of fake meat? I guess my point is, if you are going to say it’s a healthy way to eat I just don’t get how all that processed stuff fits into that..

        • NancyDrew

          My son always orders white rice at Sunflower, is this new (no white rice)??

  • Anon22209

    I’m a girl vegan!

    • meateater

      You look morbidly underweight. ;)

    • NomNom

      Intriguing…

  • Lyon Park Matt

    Ugh, vegan. Fort Christ sakes, if want to eat vegan, just stay home!

  • Shirlington Resident

    Maybe a Busboys and Poets venture?

  • Worktron

    I’ve got no problem with a vegan/vegitarian/tofu only restaurant. I’ll merely excerise my God-given American right NOT to eat there. I’ve also got no issue with people choosing this “lifestyle” (ignoring, of course, that humans evolved as omnivores, but please don’t start that flame-out). What I *do* have issues with are Pious Vegan/Veggies who insist that “Meat is Murder” or whatever. Please. If you want to graze on wheat grass, tofu, bean sprouts- go right ahead. Just don’t push your agenda on my palate. KTNXBYE.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic MB

      No one has done that on this thread, but thanks for going out of your way to attack a point you’re only imagining.

    • Lalaland

      hey and look at that. You’re the only one being judgemental.

    • meateater

      I don’t agree with them, but I understand why they believe that and I don’t blame them for wanting to tell others.

  • http://blacknell.net/dynamic MB

    Excellent. Nice to see some real variety coming in.

  • Runaway Train

    The Village of Shirlington needs to attract a burger, pizza joint, or upscale deli. Yeah, I know I can get a burger at Cap City or Bungalow, but I am talking about a real burger like Five Guy’s or Ray’s Hell Burger.
    I have lived in Shirlington for 3 years and find it hard to believe the developer hasn’t been able to attract all 3.
    A total chill coffeehouse would be great too, Caribou and Best Buns are nice, but offer limited seating.

    • G

      I agree. At least something that doesn’t require tipping your server. Everything in Shirlington is sit-down.

  • Ballstonian

    Bottom line: Vegan is un-American. It’s Euro-trashy, leftist, and well…boring. Probably will do well in NoVA though :-)

    Nothing Vegan will ever compare to a medium rare prime rib cut. Or a filet mignon at Ray’s the Steaks!

    Hope you read the above in jest, if not, you are way to sensitive and the first statement probably does apply to you.

    • Worktron

      Surely you jest! Mmmm…Ray’s filet mignon…a definite fav. Does that come with bean curd?

      • Ballstonian

        I think it does come with cream spinach last time I was there so it’s half-Vegan. Ray’s…the best.

        • Meat and Potatoes

          Oh I’m finally making it to Ray’s! I can’t wait!

        • GoVegArlington

          Except that cream is not vegan. Good try. :)

  • MC

    A good vegan restaurant would be most welcome — amazing that there isn’t one already in Arlington. Too many Arlington restaurants currently seem fixated on putting bacon and ham hocks in salads and even ice cream.

    I imagine it will be successful if the execution is good and creative. The best vegan restaurants, like Candle Cafe in New York attract patrons who aren’t even vegetarians. If it’s just pretending to be virtuous fast food, it won’t succeed.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic MB

      Check out Millenium in San Francisco. Top flight food, regardless of category.

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