Vegetarians take a break from ho-hum health food and feast on the flavors of artery-clogging soul at this South Side vegan staple. The service may be slow and the surroundings a bit blah (mismatched chairs are clustered around plastic-covered tables, while a few pieces of African art dot the walls), but as soon as you see the menu, none of that will matter. Go on: be a glutton for gluten.
Chow down on the Garvey Burger (a super-popular patty made from wheat gluten that blows Boca straight out of the water), the BBQ Twist (a wheat gluten barbecue pulled-pork sandwich) or a set Sunday dinner that may include "chicken" pot pie, collard greens, potatoes and apple pie. With prices ranging from $4-$12 it's easy to indulge in appetizers and side dishes—and you should, as none of them disappoint. Most of the apps are battered and deep-fried, from tofu bits to onion rings and whole mushrooms. The deep-fried cauliflower florets are surprisingly savory (and addictive), while the carrot salad, loaded with shaved carrots, plump raisins and sweet, creamy dressing makes for a toothsome side and even better sandwich.
In this slow-paced, family atmosphere, it's easy to push past the pain of an over-full belly and linger over a slice of sweet potato or apple pie.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Rockwood