Searching for good vegetarian meals in Charlottesville, Virginia

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In which we eat burgers and fries

Burgers and fries for a vegetarian? In a restaurant? Actually, yes. No, the burger didn't come out of a box in the freezer section of the supermarket.
The restaurant in question is Boylan Heights, one of many restaurants in the "Corner" district by UVA. It has been a favorite spot for our family to watch the UVA baseball team compete in the College World Series. For this post, Mr. Persnickety will be known as Baseball Fiend.
Miss Voracious and I have both tried Boylan's vegetarian burger: it's a patty made with quinoa, corn, zucchini, and other less-identifiable but tasty veggies and grains. I find it tasty but a little tough to digest. Baseball Fiend really only likes the fries: the grilled cheese wasn't his style, but I imagine most other children would like it. They also offer a peanut butter sandwich with bananas. It sounds very sweet from the description, which could be good or bad, depending on the child. No, we don't just feed our child fries--he eats at home, and fries are his dessert when it's baseball season.
Boylan Heights is very casual and has tables of various heights on two levels. We have only eaten downstairs at traditional tables with chairs and benches. The tall tables with stools don't look as comfortable to me.
Last night, on a date with Carnivorous Husband, I tried the vegan burger: a brown rice-and-nut affair with an addictive savory flavor like Thanksgiving stuffing. It's a bit crumbly, so be prepared to use your fork. Actually, the burgers are generally piled high with toppings of your choice, so they can be hard to eat in the usual way. Vegans will be happy to observe that there are multiple toppings to suit them and lots of tasty sauces. Vegetarians will enjoy selecting one of several possible cheeses and then tackling the mostly-vegetarian topping list. I tend to have trouble deciding where to stop. The menu also suggests several topping combinations if you're feeling indecisive or overwhelmed by all the choices. I favor spicy toppings and sauces, and I also like cheese on my fries, but the milder choices and sweet potato fries are also really hard to pass up.
I now prefer the vegan burger to the vegetarian and find it to be easier on my tummy as well. Both are superior to anything you can buy in the store. I commend Boylan Heights on being the sort of restaurant to remember that vegetarians like their food to taste good, too. They could have purchased a pre-made frozen burger, but they didn't. They want us to come back often and bring our friends. And this is a burger joint.


  1. I go to Boylan Heights during slow times and they're happy to make a burger in a bowl for me and are very careful about cross contamination with egg, gluten, and soy. Well, I assume they're careful, as I've not required an epi-pen after visiting.

    I just have to wipe down the table well (and they're happy to do so for me, but I usually do it myself.) I can't have the veg*n burgers, of course, but I enjoy the bovine form with sprouts, avocado, lettuce, and mustard. They will also provide a straw sippie for younger guests. The bar has cranberry and OJ, I believe. Maybe apple juice, too.

  2. We may have to try this place. Althout I am not a vegetarian, I do like vegetarian burgers! Glad to find some local places to eat.

  3. Never fear: they have the conventional burgers, too. And turkey burgers, I believe. The monthly special is a salmon burger.