Being a vegetarian in the Midwest was always a bit tricky. For years in high school, my diet consisted of firm Walmart tofu and Alamo wraps from the now out-of-business House of Greens off Lima Road – shall we take a moment of silence? When I moved off to New York City, I found that not only did I have thousands of new restaurants and grocery stores, I also was surrounded by thousands of other vegetarians, some probably experiencing what I experienced back in my hometown: never having options.
Yes, you can go to a normal chain restaurant and be that person sounding super-needy like “Oh, do you have anything vegetarian? No. Ugh.” or that person always having to defend himself, “No, I don’t want to ‘just pick off the pepperonis.'” But now with what I feel is somewhat a reemergence of a cool Fort Wayne, I’m happy to see the options gradually increasing, even if these options are mostly health supermarkets.
Health Food Shoppe
Walk in, head to the back right corner, open the rotating refrigerator, and pick up some of their spinach and feta quinoa or couscous. So refreshing, so healthy, and decently cheap. I tend to come here when I’m chilling next door in Firefly Café.
3 Rivers Co-op Natural Grocery
A vegetarian friend from my high school once made me try the fake beef jerky, and now every time I’m in Fort Wayne, I make sure to pick up some. The 3 Rivers Food Co-op has a food bar inside where you can order wraps, salads, burgers, whatever and the best part is, they almost always have 50% off food in the fridge, like this tofu scramble for $2. You can’t even make tofu scramble with all those ingredients for $2. Or maybe you can? Whatever, I’m a terrible cook either way.
The Mecca of Vegetarianism in Fort Wayne. Every meal here is vegetarian, which of course turns some people away, but it’s not about them right now; it’s about surviving as a vegetarian in Fort Wayne, or in this case, loving your life as a vegetarian in Fort Wayne. The menu is full of noodle dishes, scrambles, soups, and mainly cold and hot sandwiches. I ordered a coconut “chicken” sandwich, which comes with a choice of any soup, and although I’m not much of a foodie, I’ve gotta say that it was probably the most delicious sandwich I’ve eaten all year.
Even my dad, who’s a hardcore meat-eater (not to mention, hunter) came with me, loved it so much, and I just found out via his latest Facebook check-in, that he even went back to show my grandpa how good it is. If that doesn’t prove to you that this place is life-changing, then I don’t know what will.
Fresh & Thyme
The closest thing to a Whole Foods or Trader Joes Fort Wayne currently has. You’ve got salad bar with kale, aisles of organic, all-natural food, and even a sitting area to eat your meals. When I get really desperate, I buy some frozen veggie pasta bowl and use the microwave in the seating area and make my own lunch.