Uptown Kitchen has options for all sorts of picky eaters

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By: Crystal Hallwood

Crystal Hallwood/Vegan at the Bend

It is challenging enough to find a restaurant with decent vegan options. (Yes, I realize the broccoli on the salad bar is vegan, thank you.)

But throw in a gluten-free diner, a happy carnivore and a mixed use diner who eats a little of everything – with an eye toward healthier options but taste buds for whatever sounds good – and it can get downright frustrating.

Did I mention that this particular outing was a birthday luncheon, so we wanted a little ambiance and a lot of options? 

Well, let me assure you, we found just the spot: Uptown Kitchen in Granger. 

The place has a good energy as soon as you enter, with the happy noise of a busy restaurant — silverware clinking, servers bustling, the near constant hum of conversation and the background noise of the kitchen.

The ceilings are high, the colors are vibrant and it just feels like good space. We were greeted and seated promptly. (I’d called ahead for rezzies — they were on a 20 minute wait when we arrived.)

At 1 p.m. on a Sunday, we  had our pick of the regular menu, the brunch menu and a handful of specials as well. There were plenty of options.

Better yet, there were plenty of clearly marked options: vegan, vegetarian, gluten free. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say there is a wide variety of vegan options, I was happy there were clearly marked vegan options — and certainly more of them than many places offer.

Vegan entrees included a tofu breakfast scramble, a hummus and veggie wrap, a hummus plate, a salad, a veggie burger and a garlic tofu dish, so not too shabby.

I went with the garlic tofu, served on a bed of rice with black bean, avocado, sprouts, scallions, roasted garlic and mango salsa. The dish came and I was pleased with the presentation — it looked colorful and fresh.

The tofu was tender with some sear marks for texture, but what really won me over was the combination of the crisp red cabbage sliced thin, with the creamy avocado, earthy sprouts and the bright burst of flavor from the mango. I also enjoyed the combination of cold, crisp and fresh with the warmth of the rice. It was tasty.

Everyone else enjoyed their meals, as well. Win, Win. (Actually win times five.)

Long story short: good service, great space, lots of variety and happy diners. For five people, our meal with beverages averaged about $11 per person, before gratuity.

I look forward to going back to Uptown Kitchen and exploring some of its other options.

For more tales of dining vegan in Michiana (and beyond), from Crystal Hallwood and her fellow meatless maven Rama Ganesan, subscribe to the Vegan at the Bend email newsletter. 
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