Meatless Monday at Red Eye Cafe

Over the weekend Veggieguy and I were talking about how we wished there was a place we could have simple no-fuss vegan sandwiches for lunch. Cinanci on Church Street used to be our favorite lunch spot, but sadly it closed its doors a while ago. I suddenly remembered that a few people had recommended Red Eye Café to me, so we decided to give it a try. I know, I know… Red Eye Café opened last May, how has it taken me this long to try it? I really have no excuse.

I loved the look of Red Eye before I even fully set foot in the door, as the eye chart style sign in the window immediately caught my fancy. Inside I marveled at the décor. A subway stop style sign is painted on the wall opposite a large coffee bar and a vintage brass light fixture hangs from the ceiling. The walls are covered in wood paneling, white subway tiles and black chalkboard paint that has old-fashioned light bulbs drawn on it. The same style old-timey lightbulbs hang bare from the ceiling and add warmth to the space. There’s a bookshelf full of books waiting to be read, and comfortable loungy-style music filled the air, encouraging diners to stay a while and relax.

Veggieguy and I were greeted with cheery hellos as we entered and asked to wait a minute while a table was cleared for us. However I noticed that 6 or 7 tables were quickly cleared and all of the waitstaff seemed to disappear, so we sat down and waited a while before someone remembered we were there and came over to seat us.

Before we left for lunch, I checked the restaurant’s website to see what vegan options they offered. The breakfasts menu boasts plenty of ovo-lacto vegetarian dishes, but there didn’t appear to be anything for vegans who eschew eggs and dairy. The lunch menu’s lone vegan item is a hummus and hot sauce sandwich, which I knew would be perfect for Veggieguy, as hummus and hot sauce are two of his favorite things. I noticed there was a grilled eggplant sandwich containing cheese, and there were a few salads as well, so I knew there would be something for me to eat.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but I had a hankering for a mocha, so I ordered one with soy milk. I told our waiter that I’m vegan and asked if the eggplant sandwich could be veganized, and he answered nodding, “Absolutely”. Unfortunately, when my sandwich arrived it was slathered in cheese, so I had to get our waiter’s attention and tell him again that I’m vegan and that I didn’t eat cheese. His response was “Oh, sorry. I didn’t catch that.” Hmm… It didn’t take too long for my vegan version of the grilled eggplant sandwich to be brought to me though, and I did enjoy it. Veggieguy’s hummus and hot sauce sandwich was pretty tasty too. I also really liked my mocha, although whenever I do order coffee, I’m always left wondering why soy milk costs so much extra. (It’s pretty common to be charge $.50 to $1.00 extra for dairy free milk everywhere, not just at Red Eye.)

All in all, I enjoyed Red Eye Café and I would like to give it another shot. I’m interested in going back for dinner to try their Moroccan quinoa dish. I would love to see more vegan friendly options on the menu such as tofu scramble for breakfast and maybe an avocado and veggie sandwich for lunch.

Red Eye Café is located at 94 Walnut Street and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.