Dine at these restaurants for your Meatless Monday meal

Looking for a way to get your veggie fix? We've compiled a list of top picks for vegetarian restaurants in Syracuse.

With many students and residents looking to buy local and stay environmentally conscious, Syracuse has become a hub for vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Back in July 2010, animal rights organization PETA ranked it No. 5 on their list of veggie-friendly small cities in the United States. Since then, Syracuse University has begun actively participating in the nationwide Meatless Monday campaign, which encourages participants to skip meat on Mondays and become more mindful of how diet affects health. Whether you’re looking to eat more veggies or you’re already a vegan or vegetarian, check out a few of our picks for vegetarian restaurants in Syracuse.


Strong Hearts Cafe

719 East Genesee St. | (315) 478-0000

Located about a mile from campus on East Genesee Street near I-81, Strong Hearts Cafe is the only all-vegan option on our list, though its hearty menu is likely to please carnivores as well. With options ranging from tofu scrambles to customizable vegan pizzas until 2 a.m. on Fridays, Strong Hearts lets customers take out or eat in. Plus, it’s got plenty of seating and free Wi-Fi if you’re looking for a late-night snack with friends or a place to study. Be sure to grab one of Strong Hearts’ many milkshakes, cleverly named after people like historian Howard Zinn and women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 


Alto Cinco

526 Westcott St. | (315) 422-MEXX

Alto Cinco is already a staple for most SU students looking for their Mexican food fix in Syracuse. It’s got your basic Mexican fare, though some options –- like the BBQ tofu burrito -– are of its own creation. Tattooed cooks serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner for meat-eaters and veggie-lovers alike, as bands like Neutral Milk Hotel play over the stereo system. Alto Cinco offers takeout and delivers to certain locations around the city, though they also have limited seating inside at the bar and along Westcott Street. It’s open late seven days a week but usually crowded on the weekends, so be sure to get there early. Popular veggie choices include the Inferno Burrito XXX, the Acapulco Plate and the Cinco Classic Quesadilla. 


Recess Coffee & Roastery 

110 Harvard Place | 601 Tully St. | (315) 410-0090 (Westcott)

Recess is your standard coffee shop with the added bonus that the baristas roast all of their completely organic, fair-trade beans in-house and they keep an almost constant supply of delicious vegan pastries. Make sure you grab a giant chocolate cookie or chai cupcake to accompany your latte. Recess also offers a variety of reasonably-priced sandwiches, such as its spicy avocado sandwich and tofurkey sandwich. With free Wi-Fi, board games and lots of worn-in, comfortable seating, Recess is a great place to get work done or hang out with friends. The cafe has become so popular that a new location –- Recess Coffee West -– opened Sept. 1 on the West Side.


Lao Village

208 West Genesee St. | (315) 435-8581

Though their hours are sometimes inconvenient, Thai food from Lao Village is worth the wait. The service is fast (there's both takeout and dine-in) and the portions are huge and cheap. Lao Village’s menu is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, and most of the meat entrees can have tofu substituted in or extra veggies added. Standout dishes include Panang Tofu, Green Curry Tofu and Pineapple Fried Rice. 


Pita Pit

107 Marshall St. | (315) 479-0460

Though Marshall Street’s restaurants and cafes offer a variety of veggie options, Pita Pit has one of the more varied menus. Its white or wheat pitas can be filled with falafel, hummus and black beans, or simply garden veggies. You can also convert all the fillings of your pita into a salad for the same price. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up in the morning before class, Pita Pit also offer breakfast pitas and smoothies. Though the shop is likely to be packed around lunch and dinner time, it’s a great option for those who forgot their lunchbox, or for those who don’t want to eat on campus. 


Syracuse Real Food Co-op

618 Kensington Rd. | (315) 472-1385

Located off of Westcott Street, the Syracuse Real Food Co-op is a small grocery store that makes it a priority to sell locally-grown produce, as well as local meats, dairy products and eggs. Though the shop isn’t specifically vegetarian or vegan, it definitely carries veggie-friendly products. They make a point to “provide food to everyone that eats.” The shop just celebrated its 40-year anniversary and currently has over 2,600 partial owners, though you don’t have to be a member to shop there. Be sure to check out their huge selection of rice and grains like quinoa, as well as their freshly-baked breads. 


Central New York Regional Market

2100 Park Street | (315) 422-8647

It's worth getting up early for the CNY Regional Market on Thursdays and Saturdays. Between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., vendors from around the state gather on the grounds near Destiny USA and Alliance Bank Stadium to sell various goods: homemade breads and pastries, local wines, meats, honey, jelly, wooden crafts and hand-woven baskets. It's also a great place to pick up fresh and reasonably-priced local produce; check out the baskets of apples and bushels of peppers and green beans that line vendors’ tables. There’s also plenty of ready-to-eat food  -– including pizza and fried seafood –- to munch while you shop. The best time to go is mid-morning on a Saturday. The market will be packed, but it’ll also ensure that vendors have put out their best products for purchase. (Image credit: NatalieMaynor / Flickr)


Got other suggestions? Post ‘em in our comments section!

more vegetarian restaurants

I wanted to mention that their are more vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurants in Syracuse that should be mentioned here, some off the top of my head are:
OmBoys (all vegan)
China Road

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