Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bluff City Vegan Eats: The Cupboard Restaurant

From the Cupboard's website
I've lived in Memphis for 11 years, and all of my old apartments and the house that I now own have been located just blocks from The Cupboard Restaurant. I've passed by it in my car millions of times and thought, "Man, I wish a place that like that would have vegan options!"

The Cupboard, you see, is a country cookin' meat-and-three. It's the kind of place where you'd expect your server to be nice lady with an apron, her hair in a bun, and a Southern drawl that's sweeter than the diner's sweet tea. Oh, and she'd have worked there for some ungodly long time, like 25 years or something. It's totally possible; the family-owned Cupboard has been open since 1943.

Anyway, of course, I assumed a place like that would put meat drippings in everything. So I never even bothered. But a few weeks ago, Kim, who does the restaurant's marketing, emailed me to ask if I could add the Cupboard to my Vegan Memphis Dining Guide. To my surprise, she said the Cupboard offered a number of vegan sides. And she even made me a handy little chart that showed what was vegan, what was vegetarian, and what days each veggie was offered!

I went last Wednesday to check it out. The Veggie Plate offers your choice of four sides. I picked Black-Eyed Peas, Turnip Greens, Spiced Beets, and Tomato Slices:


Now I know what you're thinking: Tomato slices? Don't worry, the Cupboard has lots more vegan cooked vegan side dishes. But these were juicy, summer Ripley tomatoes picked from a little Tennessee town just up the road from Memphis. Ripley probably has the best tomatoes on the planet, and July is the time to enjoy them. So yes, I picked sliced tomatoes as a side. And they were perfect.

The turnip greens were my favorite dish. Most every Southern diner puts ham hocks or bacon fat in their greens, so I was super impressed that the Cupboard's greens are meat-free. But meat-free doesn't mean bland. These were perfectly spiced. Savory, but not too salty. And not too oily either. Just right.

The beets were cold, sliced beets, which I love. They were twangy, almost as if they were pickled. But the twang wasn't overpowering. And the black-eyed peas were simple and satisfying. They, too, were perfectly seasoned.

The Cupboard's vegan proteins (peas and beans) vary by day of the week, but the veggies are all offered everyday. So here's a handy guide to what's vegan on what day of the week:

Monday: Pinto Beans, Turnip Greens, Crowder Peas, French Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Sliced Tomatoes, Cucumber Salad, Spiced Beets

Tuesday: Lima Beans, Field Peas with Snaps, Turnip Greens, French Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Sliced Tomatoes, Cucumber Salad, Spiced Beets

Wednesday: Black-Eyed Peas, Turnip Greens, French Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Sliced Tomatoes, Cucumber Salad, Spiced Beets

Thursday: Northern Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Turnip Greens, French Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Sliced Tomatoes, Cucumber Salad, Spiced Beets

Friday: Crowder Peas, Green Beans, Turnip Greens, French Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Sliced Tomatoes, Cucumber Salad, Spiced Beets

Saturday: Peas, Beans, Turnip Greens, French Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Sliced Tomatoes, Cucumber Salad, Spiced Beets

Sunday: Northern Beans, Turnip Greens, French Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Sliced Tomatoes, Cucumber Salad, Spiced Beets

The Cupboard Restaurant is located at 1400 Union. Call 901-276-8015.

5 comments:

Dana said...

Wow! That is pretty impressive! Whenever I get dragged to a place like that here in Little Rock, it's usually iceburg and french fries for me. I hope more places start offering vegan side dishes. Those beets look amazing!

foodfeud said...

I could definitely go for some superb ripe tomato slices. I love cold beet slices too! Simple food done well is amazing.

GlutenFreeHappyTummy said...

wow! Nice! I'm glad you were able to find some good grub!

Lesley Eats said...

Oh, I never realized you didn't know you could eat there! It's my favorite "no-meat & 4" restaurant in Memphis!

Theda said...

Fantastic!