While the Lowcountry might be known for its pulled pork and fried oysters, it’s actually pretty easy to keep a vegetarian or vegan diet while attending the College of Charleston. Student Lauren Vega, who thinks it’s important to limit dairy and meat consumption, gives us a few of her favorite restaurant recommendations both on and off campus. Most kitchens can accommodate dietary restrictions, but this guide makes it easier to keep animal products to a minimum.
Lentil burgers, mac ’n cheese, vegan sloppy joes, and loaded baked potatoes: That’s just a taste of what’s on the menu at the College’s kosher vegetarian/vegan dining facility, Dr. Martin Perlmutter Dining Hall, known on campus as Marty’s Place. Don’t miss the $5 meal deals on Fridays and free cookies on Meatless Mondays. CofC also has dedicated vegetarian stations at Liberty Fresh Food Co. and City Bistro, and a Vegan Protein Bar on the salad bar at Liberty Fresh Food Co.
Wentworth Street newcomer Basic Kitchen is an Instagrammable foodie paradise. The Palm-Beach-meets-Holy-City interiors are just as stunning as the grain bowls and avocado toasts. Many of the menu items are vegan, like the Little Gem lettuces with green goddess dressing. And the restaurant sits just on the edge of campus.
Look for the “V” next to the listed offerings at Asian-influenced CO for vegetarian dishes (vegan menu offered on request). Many of the noodle and rice bowls can be made with tofu. The Thai noodles or spicy udon are sure to satisfy without meat.
At comfy café Five Loaves, opt for the soup/salad/sandwich combo for a mix of different flavors full of fresh vegetables. The Mediterranean veggie burger with tzatziki is a popular choice.
For vegetarians in need of an ooey, gooey sandwich fix, stop in at Persimmon Café for a grown-up grilled cheese with grilled zucchini, fontina cheese, red onions and a pistachio pistou. Pair with a side of warming tomato soup or a cooling custard shake.
Caviar & Bananas
Right next to campus on George Street, Caviar & Bananas offers quick items like vegetable sushi, salads, caprese sandwiches or vegan “tuna” salad. There’s also coffee, plenty of fun teas and a bakery case. Owner Margaret Furniss ‘00 and marketing director Ashley Warnock ‘00 both went to the College.
Circe’s Grotto, along the edge of campus on Wentworth Street, is a great grab-and-go spot.The paninis and salads are fresh, fast and hit the spot every time. Alum Nick Stella ’13 runs the cafe.
Many vegetarians may roll their eyes at the thought of another salad, but Verde has so many build-it-yourself options that it should take a while to tire of their leafy offerings. Vegans should try the Farmers’ Market salad with avocado, sprouts, sunflower seeds and Green Goddess dressing.
Go Greek at Stella’s with mezze plates full of spanakopita, dolmades and hummus. The portions are large, so bring friends to share. Stella’s also happens to be owned by fellow Cougar Steven Niketas ’90.
All photos (except for Basic Kitchen) by Reese Moore.