5 places to eat without the meat: Vegan and vegetarian options in Port Huron

Although people have been practicing veganism and vegetarianism for centuries, it has recently seen a new surge in popularity in today’s society. Some call it a trend, others call it a fad. Regardless of what it's labeled, the number of vegetarians and vegans seems to be on the rise across the nation. 

So to accommodate the growing population of  vegans and vegetarians, restaurants across the country have begun to take this into consideration. Many have now begun to offer vegan or vegetarian options on some of their original dishes, as well as providing all new additions to their menus for people who prefer to forgo the meat. 

When many of us hear the words vegan or vegetarian, we tend to lump them together or make those words interchangeable, but they are actually very different lifestyle choices. 

Vegetarianism, which is assumed to be more widespread than veganism, is the practice of not eating animal flesh such as fish, chicken, beef, or pork. Vegetarians still consume other animal products such as milk, butter, cheese, and eggs for the most part. Vegans, on the other hand, avoid all animal products including food, clothing items, such as wool or leathers, and even certain candies due to them sometimes containing animal parts used to achieve a certain texture or consistency.

With that understanding and knowledge about veganism and vegetarianism, let’s see how some of our own local restaurants are keeping up with the demands and offering new dishes as well as vegan and vegetarian twists on old favorites.

7th Street Slider Bar

Ahhh the slider. American. Classic. Typically made with beef patties, a slider is just pretty much just a scaled down hamburger. When it comes to sliders, 7th Street Slider Bar, located at 706 Lapeer Ave. in Port Huron is a local favorite. Now those who want a slider, but not the beef, have a few new options on an American classic that they can try. Owned by Zachary “Zack” Meldrum, 7th Street Slider Bar is for those who want a little adventure in their food life. 

“We want to explore a lot of different flavors through smaller bite sizes so you can try a little bit of everything, and some of our vegetarian and vegan options have been a big part of that,” says Meldrum. Vegan/Vegetarian options include the BLT, the Vegan Crabby, and the Black Bean Burger. Expect roughly 12 sliders and 4 appetizers on the menu soon for those who want the plant based experience.

The Raven Cafe

Next on the menu, no pun intended, is The Raven Cafe. Located at 932 Military St. in Port Huron, “The Raven,” as it is referred to by locals, is a cafe which is known not only for its delicious food and coffee, but for its ambiance.

The Raven Cafe brings a haunting “ye olde” feeling, dark and moody yet refreshing and light. Owned by Sadaat Hossain and Jody Parmann, The Raven offers a decent sized variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as options on the favorites. “We have some vegan options, but not as many as we have vegetarian. A lot of the things that we do can be made vegan. We don't turn away any special requests within reason,” says Hossain.

Some of their most popular items include: Loaded Potato Salad, Tomato Basil Bruschetta, Tomato Bisque Soup, Mushroom with Brie Cheese, and Black Bean Chilli, along with a host of salads as well, all being vegetarian or vegan prepared. 

The Raven is a cafe, so what’s a cafe without coffee right? Lattes, teas, hot chocolate, and everything in between can be found on the menu. If you want the flavor and warm boost that these beverages give, you can enjoy them with the option of adding almond or soy milk instead of the standard dairy additives. 

Bangkok Star

Craving some of the more exotic food flavors, but not in the mood for the standard fare? Check out Bangkok Star, located at 421 Beers St. in Port Huron. Bangkok Star offers Thai cuisine. If you are unfamiliar, Thai dishes typically incorporate flavors such as sweet, sour, salty, and even bitter, along with noodles, vegetables, and a variety of meats. Owned by Chris Bevins, Bangkok Star is a rarity in the local area due to its unique cuisine. Some of the popular Thai dishes include Pad Thai, Vegetable Curry, and Spring Rolls, all available in vegetarian options.

“I can do just about any dish on our menu vegetarian except for our Garlic and Black Pepper. That is strictly a meat dish. I would say we have a good nine or ten different options for vegetarian items,” says Bevins.

Cedar Subs

Still have a taste for something different? Look no further than Cedar Subs, located at 420 Huron Ave. in Port Huron. Owned by Sol Ganim, lifetime resident of Port Huron, Cedar Subs offers Middle Eastern cuisine and snacks. 

Middle eastern cuisine consists of flavors using whole grains, vegetables, and herbs, as well as meats such as lamb, beef, and fish. The more popular menu items at Cedar Subs are the Chicken Shawarma, Tabouleh, and Rice Bowls. You can get the shawarma minus the chicken by replacing it with falafel. “I know that everyone doesn't eat meat, and falafel is pretty popular, so I give them that option,” says Ganim.

Cedar Subs also offers Middle Eastern snacks for that after lunch/dinner treat. Sesame Snaps, Baklava, and a date-filled cookie called Ma’amoul are available and are completely vegan/vegetarian. 

A Little Something

Speaking of treats, where can one find vegan/vegetarian options for that sweet tooth you might ask? Well, there is a spot called A Little Something, located at 205 Huron Ave., also in Port Huron. They are what every vegan has been wishing for this summer: a place they can find delicious vegan ice cream.

Operated by Kim Johnson, Manager/Digital Marketing Coordinator, A Little Something is a small retail shop located in the growing downtown area of Port Huron offering unique Michigan made products, memorabilia, candies, and ice cream. 

You want ice cream, so let’s get to the good stuff.

“We do have vegan options. We have a non-dairy chocolate ice cream made with coconut cream. We also offer a Black Raspberry Pomegranate Sorbet, Sicilian Orange Sorbet, and then we have two italian ice flavors that alternate back and forth, Carrot Mango and Passion Fruit,” Johnson says.
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Read more articles by Harold Powell.

Harold Powell is the Community Correspondent for The Keel and owner of Phantom Pen Media offering multimedia services to individuals and organizations across the Blue Water Area. He is a current board member for the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce and the most recent Chamber Choice recipient at the Eddy Awards. Harold is an avid volunteer for the YMCA of the Blue Water Area as well as Bridge Builders Counseling & Mentoring and in his spare time, enjoys spending time with his son, writing and listening to music, playing video games, and not folding laundry.