Meatless Mondays: Wayward Vegan Cafe

This greasy spoon transforms American favorites into vegan-friendly dishes.

Located in the northern part of the U. District, Wayward Vegan Cafe accepts people of all dietary backgrounds — and encourages them to sit next to each other when times get busy. Seriously, get cozy. This vegan greasy spoon is especially crowded on the weekends, when hungry visitors crave generous portions for breakfast and lunch.

Years ago, Suns Over Seattle ($8) began as a dish on the Wayward specials board – and today, it’s a permanent fixture on their menu. This classic American breakfast platter includes a toasted sandwich, complete with semi-melted cheddar, warm “ham” and an overflowing portion of seasoned, silky tofu. Served on the side are hash browns so golden and crispy that Hulk Hogan would be jealous.

Seattle isn’t the first place you think of when biscuits and gravy are mentioned, but Country Bumpkin ($8) might change your mind. The herb-based biscuit holds strong beneath a mound of scrambled seasoned tofu and thick country gravy. The cafe takes a different approach by pairing the breakfast favorite with freshly steamed greens – and they don’t skimp on veggies. Following the recommended ratio, vegetables cover half of each dish they serve. It’s quite a sight.

The Cream Cheese Blintzes ($7.50) will transport you to creamy heaven. The texture of the crepes is thick and spongy enough to contain the gooey cream “cheese” filling, which is sweet, sweet, sweet with a hint of lemon and cinnamon. You may turn on your dining partner with all the unintended slow motion licking of your lips. You’ve been warned — but if that’s your M.O., this dish is great to share as a sexy morning dessert.

The food at Wayward is greasy, but in a good way. You’ll go back for seconds on napkins, but try to use them sparingly — the other vegans will mean-mug you if you waste the precious brown resources. If you’re yearning for more flavor, take advantage of the Lazy Susan. Try the liquid aminos on the greens (in a spray bottle) and the nutritional yeast (in the same shaker that holds parmesan at a pizza place) on your hash browns or “egg” dishes. Most of the menu items don’t need Susan’s help though; Wayward brings the flavor.

You won’t find a vegan breakfast spot on every block, but lunch at Wayward is good, too. Their potato execution is excellent for both meals. Don’t leave without trying their hash browns, French fries or home-fries. Because what greasy American spoon would be complete without some starchy side dishes?

I give Wayward Cafe an overflowing cup of gravy — thick, country gravy.

Wayward Vegan Cafe  |  5253 University Way N.E., Seattle  |  (206) 524-0204