As vegan cuisine continues to spread around North Texas, we've seen everything from vegan Mexican fare to meat-free soul food to vegan takes on greasy diner food. Vegan Food House, a new restaurant near Bishop Arts, is tackling vegan Creole food.
The plant-based restaurant was launched by Elizabeth Anderson, formerly of Da Munchies in West Dallas. While Da Munchies is still open, Anderson left last fall and has since been working to start her own venture.
Vegan Food House sits just off West Davis in a converted turquoise Craftsman-style house. The interior is welcoming and rustic with modern touches. It has wood-paneled and exposed-brick walls, wood beams and a bright white ceiling, making the relatively small restaurant feel more spacious.
A vegan for more than 10 years, Anderson’s food is inspired by what she grew up with. At Vegan Food House, she’s created a new creole menu, while still including some of the popular items from Da Munchies.
“We expanded on the vegan menu we did there,” says Anderson. “We kept the favorites, like the po’boy and Chick’em Sammich. We didn’t change anything about those, but maybe added more Creole seasoning.”
Order at the counter and they'll bring your food to you. We visited for a weekday lunch and there was quite a line when they opened at 11:30, but it died down by noon.
“I love the big Creole basket and boudin balls,” Anderson says. “I also love the fish-fried oyster mushrooms; we add some kelp to give it more of a fish flavor. That’s probably my favorite thing on the menu — or the spicy Creole buffalo wings.”
Look out for a new menu item she’s excited about — the buffalo shrimp. Vegan prawns, which are made of konjac, a starchy root, will be battered, fried and tossed in buffalo sauce.
Anderson uses a variety of meat substitutes in her cooking. Vegan Food House serves a "bacon" avocado tomato sandwich ($12), a stuffed "sausage" sandwich ($13) and a fried ginger “beef” sandwich ($13) that are all made with seitan. The big fish po’boy sandwich ($14), Chick’em Sammich ($14) and Creole fish-fried oyster basket ($13) are made with oyster mushrooms as the “meat.” Jackfruit serves as the meat in the chopped “beef” sandwich ($13).
Anderson is focused on value. We got a hefty basket of food: six huge creole wings and a pile of steak-cut fries for $13. The only thing on the menu priced above $14 is the Big Creole Basket for $17, which comes with deep-fried, Creole-battered oyster mushrooms, boudin balls, a fish-fried banana blossom and fries.
Fans of Da Munchies were anxiously awaiting the opening of Vegan Food House via social media, and the reception has been exciting, if somewhat overwhelming for Anderson and her staff.
“We opened last Thursday, and it was a curveball for us,” Anderson says. “I posted on Facebook that we were opening for lunch, and we were slammed from the time we opened the doors; there was already a line right at 11:30. It was supposed to be just a trial for us to warm up our kitchen, and then everyone showed up. Shows the power of social media."
Vegan Food House is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and reopens for dinner from 5 to 8 p.m.
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“This is a mom-and-pop place. We’re a family-owned business,” Anderson says. “The kitchen is so small that we have to collect ourselves for dinner.”
Anderson is confident about the future of Vegan Food House.
“Each day, we’ve gotten better and smarter,” she says.
Vegan Food House, 832 W. 7th St. (Oak Cliff)