Not Whole Foods Again: vegan and vegetarian spots that won’t break the bank
Staff writer Chloë-Arizona Fodor posing in front of the Sarasota Vegan Deli.

Not Whole Foods Again: vegan and vegetarian spots that won’t break the bank

It doesn’t take much searching to stumble upon a vegetarian or vegan person at New College. New has long been a haven for the hippies and the oddballs, those seeking alternative lifestyles and those who are searching for more sustainable living practices. What can often pose a bit more difficult challenge is finding affordable and accessible food options in the nearby area that cater to these vegetarian and vegan dietary needs. Whether one is looking to dip their toe into a veggie lifestyle or are just looking for some good spots to grab a bite to eat, here are some recommendations from the students at New.

One tried and true option for many New College students is Leaf and Lentil, just a four to five minute drive down North Tamiami Trail and a reasonably bikeable distance. The food has a home-cooked feel that makes it a favorite, and was one of the most overwhelmingly recommended vegan and vegetarian options in the immediate area by students who sent in their suggestions. Noting its geographical accessibility for students without a car, one student confessed that “as someone who worked in a rival vegan restaurant in Sarasota, nothing beats Leaf and Lentil’s food, especially for the price.” More of a sit-down style meal, the prices range from around $8 to $11 for a sizable plate of food, and the menu changes almost daily—so make sure to check their Facebook page for the “menu of the day”. 

For a quicker bite, check out Sarasota Vegan Deli. A newer spot in the area, it is less than a mile south from campus and can be easily accessed by a 12 minute walk. Their entire menu is vegan and ranges from burgers and sandwiches, to mac n’ cheese, snacks and drinks. Despite their newness, they are already a favorite for people both on and off campus. Prices range from $6 to $12, and the quality they put into the food is shown through Sarasota Vegan Deli’s rapid popularity among students. 

For the coffee and café lovers out there, go down to Project Coffee. This spot was highly recommended by many students for both their coffee and food options, all of which are vegan.  Students rave about the egg and cheese biscuit, so stop in one morning and enjoy the café ambience. The prices are also affordable: nothing on the menu reaches double digits. 

“Everything is vegan,” third-year Lindsey Jennings said. “Confidently order anything! Amazing study vibe in there, amazing coffee.” 

Unfortunately, this option isn’t within walking distance—it requires a solid 14 minute drive, but if testimonials from New College students are proof of anything, the drive is worth it. 

Maximillian Cafe is an amazing minority and family-run lunch spot, residing at a 12 minute drive from campus. Their menu prices range from $6 to $13, and they have a plethora of delicious options. They serve primarily specialty salads and sandwiches, but provide the option of offering any basic sandwich as a flatbread wrap. Multiple students fervently suggested running there in the morning to snag up some of their brownies before they sold out by afternoon, citing their “heavenly taste.” A fast, local and familiar energy makes this place a great experience, with Jennings remarking that “everyone knows everyone by name.”

For another café option, Sunny Side Café offers home-style meals at a reasonable price. The breakfast options seem to be a particular favorite, with multiple vegan and vegetarian options. The breakfast Tofu Scramble and Savory Chickpea Pancakes are praised as being delicious, and their tasty “Griddle Specials” (pancakes, french toast and waffles) don’t exceed $12. They also serve amazing lunch options, but students seem to be big fans of the breakfast offerings. Sunny Side Café is another close-to-campus locale, easily accessible through a nine minute bike ride or a five minute drive. 

Chang Kao Thai Cuisine offers mouthwatering Thai dishes with a friendly feel. Their lunch specials are an especially popular option because they tend to sit around the $8 to $9 mark compared to the comparatively pricier dinner service. Students will find that most menu items are customizable, allowing customers to exclude meat from the order and supplement with tofu or extra vegetables. Dinners are priced at around $12 to $14, and the owners are always welcoming.This is a great spot, and it’s only a short five minute drive away. 

Kasa is a family run, Asian-fare option very nearby campus. Kasa is a super relaxed sushi house that is only six minutes away by car, and nine minutes by bike. They have multiple vegetarian sushi roll options including a Broccoli Tempura Roll and an Avocado Mango Roll, among other more classic options for around $8. They also have bento menu options and Tofu and Vegetable Teriyaki for around $20. Although they have a drive through option, students recommend sitting inside to appreciate the beautiful presentation of their dishes. 

Lastly, for a scrumptious treat, hop over to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. It is a bit of a heftier drive—around 20 minutes—but hop in a car with a friend, because the ice cream is reportedly worth it. Their ice cream and frozen yogurt is made with locally sourced ingredients, and they always have interesting flavors on hand like “Wildberry Lavender,” “Brown Butter Almond Brittle,” “Garden Nectar” and “Brambleberry Crisp”.

Third-year Rowan Holop summarized it pretty well: “Seriously, go to Jeni’s.”

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