Restaurant Spotlight: Chuy’s

While it is great to have dedicated vegan restaurants, it’s not always feasible to dine at one given the location you’re in or the company you’re dining with. That’s why whenever I see a new restaurant opening up, my first thought is to find out if they have any vegan options. Ideally every restaurant would at the very least mark items that are vegan or that could be made vegan. A pipe dream goal of mine is to work with local restaurants and identify all the vegan choices and either have them identified on their menu or produce a special menu or two for them to have on hand when vegans inquire about their options. But for now, the plan is to communicate with restaurants and relay the information here, so you can be prepared to eat out and about in Charlotte.

Just last month, Chuy’s opened up their first North Carolina location next to The Cowfish in Southpark. Chuy’s is a tex-mex chain restaurant that originated in Texas and seems to be spreading far and wide, recently opening up in Greenville, South Carolina as well. According to their website, their goal is “to bring you the best, healthiest Mexican food on the entire planet” which to me translates into a completely vegan menu. Sadly, Chuy’s is not a vegan restaurant, but they do a nice job of marking “meatless plates” on their menu. After not finding a list of vegan options on their website, I sent them an email and they replied with a special menu featuring everything on their menu available for vegetarians and vegans. The menu may or may not be available at each restaurant, but you can find it here anytime.

Special Menu – Vegetarian & Vegan – Chuy’s

Per the email response from Chuy, “The guacamole tacos are awesome and our rice and beans are completely vegetarian so there are some great options for you!  You’ll also be happy to hear we don’t use lard in any items so you can enjoy a delicious flour tortilla with any meal.” Since all of the spicy sauces contain a chicken or beef stock as part of their base, he recommended adding a side of green chiles to the Ranchero sauce for some added heat.

It’s not an extensive list of options and they don’t offer vegan cheese or anything special specifically catering to vegans, but it’s nice to know your options without having to rely entirely on a server that may or may not actually care about what you’re requesting. Plus, you now have at least one Mexican restaurant you can visit knowing their is no lard or animal juice hiding in the beans or rice.


Whole Foods new Charlotte location by Southpark at Sharon and Fairview roads opens Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 9 a.m.

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Restaurant Spotlight: The Counter Custom Burgers

This week’s Restaurant Spotlight focuses on the great american staple on summer menus: The Burger. More specifically, the Veggie Burger. We are lucky to have a location of The Counter Custom Burgers here in Charlotte outside of Southpark Mall on Sharon Road, and they have arguably one of the best vegan friendly veggie burgers in Charlotte.

Veggie Burger with grilled onions, etc.The burger mixture is handmade daily at the restaurant, and are made with a brown rice and wheat base mixed with cranberries, carrots, black beans, roasted red peppers and spinach. The buns are probably not vegan, so you can opt to have the burger served on a bed of lettuce instead, or bring your own bun and ask for them to leave theirs off! The burgers come in 1 size, but you can opt to order it in 3 sizes, each size increasing the amount of “patties” on each sandwich. BE CAREFUL and bring your appetite if you attempt a size larger than the smallest one, as they are MASSIVE alone. You can choose four of 17 toppings ranging from your basic lettuce and tomatoes to the more exotic dried cranberries, grilled pineapple or roasted red peppers; and one of 17 sauces  (the vegan sauces are: Apricot Sauce, Homemade Guacamole, Peanut Sauce, Red Relish, Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa, Soy Ginger Glaze, Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, & Sweet BBQ, plus Mustard & Ketchup).  It’s almost too hard to decide what to top your burger with considering all the choices. The burgers are very loose and crumble off the base easily, encouraging the use of a fork! They are moist and very flavorful, without being too overpowering in one taste or another. You can also match your burger with fries, sweet potato fries, or onion strings, or a “hobo pack” which is a nice pack of seasonal veggies and herbs, grilled in foil, totally vegan. countercharlotte1

The Counter, Charlotte has a outdoor patio, or indoor seating, and is located outside of Southpark Mall at the corner of Sharon Road and Morrison Blvd.  Open at 11am until 10 Monday-Thursday & Sunday, and till 11pm Friday & Saturday.

The restaurant is moderately priced. A typical meal for two, including beverages, could top $40. So be aware of that. Trust us, it’s worth it.

Add them on twitter @thecounterqc for weekly specials that are Twitter exclusives! You can visit the website for a downloadable order form, and more info.

The Counter Custom Burgers – Charlotte
4310 Sharon Road Suite X05
Charlotte NC 28211
704 365 1922
704 365 1924 (Fax)
Google Directions

PDF Menu/Order Form